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An app by Indians is no. 1 grosser on the Apple iPad

Magzter, an online magazine store developed by two Chennai-based entrepreneurs Girish Ramdas and Vijayakumar Radhakrishnan, has become the top grosser on the Apple iPad.

Since last Thursday, Magzter has overtaken international favourites and long standing grossers like Angry Birds, NY Times for iPad, Clash of Clans and Frontline Commando. On Tuesday, Clash of Clans had briefly recovered its No. 1 spot, but when TOI last looked at the list of top grossers on the iPad, Magzter was back at the top. The iPad has over 700,000 apps.

"Even in the number of daily downloads, Magzter has crossed other reading apps like Flipboard, Pulse and Zite," Ramdas, CEO of Magzter, said. It has 4.5 million users globally, many of them in the US, the market that the company is most focused on.

Magzter has more than 1,500 magazines in its store. About 400 of them are Indian magazines. "We have readers from all over the world who buy magazine subscriptions every day. Cross border selling is helping the digital magazine industry by generating more global readers," Radhakrishnan, president of Magzter said.

The app was launched 17 months ago, but received massive traction over the past 45 days thanks to some Facebook sharing features that were added to the app. "Now, if you like the cover of a magazine, you can share it on Facebook, and if your friends like it, they can click to come to our store to buy it. This has had a major viral effect," Ramdas said.

Magzter's popularity is also because of the ease with which publishers can use it to publish replica versions of the magazine or even to create highly interactive magazines. "We give complete control to publishers and they get to decide what they want to give to their readers," Radhakrishnan said. Magazine prices are also heavily discounted, by as much as 50% in many cases, which also adds to Magzter's allure.

Another big advantage of Magzter, compared to some of its other online newsstand competitors, is that you can buy a magazine on one platform, say Apple's iOS, and read it on another one of your devices that runs on the Android or Windows 8 platform.

Ramdas graduated from the College of Engineering, Guindy, in Chennai. He ran an IT services company in Chennai called Dot Com Infoway and then started a magazine called Galatta Media focused on south Indian films. He later created an iPhone and iPad app for the magazine, which gave him the idea to create a global online magazine newsstand.

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