Magazines Are Going Digital; You Can Be a Publisher Too Posted by: Kenny S on 14/06/2010

Digital Consultancy Glasgow

Traditional magazine, newspaper and book publishers are all busy trying to find out how best to embrace the digital age.

As they do, businesses of all shapes and sizes should pay close attention to why this is happening. Now is a great time to start thinking about how you're going to deliver your own unique content to your customers on the platform of their choice.

Why? Well, the market for digital content is growing at an impressive rate.

In the UK alone digital book sales increased by 38% last year, and now account for 6% of the combined physical and digital sales (£16 million) according to the Publisher's Association. Harper Collins recently stated that some of the heaviest book buyers no longer visit bookstores.Internet giant Amazon also recently announced that Kindle e-books have overtaken paperback sales, topping $10bn for the first time in its latest trading quarter.

The ultimate content consumption device? It's got to be the iPad.

Of course, one of the biggest influencers in this change in reading habits must be the adoption of technology. Let's take a look at the iPad, the ultimate content consumption device. In 2010, Apple alone sold more than 15 million iPads (19 million to date). And it's exactly on the tablet where digital magazines have really come into their own. These devices truly combine the tactile and portable magazine experience with the interactivity of the web and they continue to grow in popularity, diversity and affordability. They combine a high-resolution touch display, support for rich media (video, audio, and interactive graphics), links to the web and, of course, portability.


So, the tablet experience seems to be heralding a new era for reading.

In research by the Reynolds Journalism Institute, 79% of iPad owners said they spend at least 30 minutes a day with news content on the iPad whereas only 53% spend the same amount of time with news on TV, and 51% viewing it on a PC.

As the tablet market evolves, publishers realize that content consumption on these devices is not the traditional front-to-back page turning experience. A digital publication offers the ability to scroll, swipe, jump about, link to external content, play rich media and these are the things that increase reader engagement and inspire action.

What does this mean for businesses?

We know that people are seeking compelling, media-rich experiences, wherever they go, using their preferred devices. So we know that publishing to multiple devices (not just the web) is quickly becoming a necessity.

Choosing to put your content into a digital magazine format can bring huge advantages. Package up your content in an easily digestible format and with the right software in place you can distribute this content not just to the web but to the devices people like using. It'll save you money in the long run and you can build brand awareness, share knowledge and ultimately drive revenue.

How might a business start producing a digital magazine?

Any business that produces regular and insightful content via web, catalogues, newsletters, brochures, reports and paper should consider creating a digital magazine. The ability to use software time and time again and to publish it to many devices brings cost savings in terms of time and money.

To give you some ideas, there are some really interesting magazine formats on the iPad that show interesting ways in which content can be presented. The following tools show you the ways in which iPad users are choosing to filter and view content.

Blogazine - A completely different way to read blogs and RSS feeds on iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. The concept is easy to grasp - blogs become magazines.

Flipboard - One of TIME's top 50 innovations of 2010, changes how we look at Facebook, Twitter and other news feed.

Decks - This interesting way to view images will get you searching for public images stored on Flickr.

Zite - A personalized iPad magazine that gets smarter as you use it. -  A social news experience that shows you not just what your friends are sharing, but what they are reading as well.

Of course when it comes to presenting your own content and creating rich, immersive experiences across mobile, desktop, and the web how do you do it? Many businesses are looking at digital magazine styles.

It's getting easier to do but it's not accessible to everyone. So, we have been working on a magazine app builder which is currently in development. This tool will arm our clients with the ability to package up content and publish to the iPad. Gordon Langford, Head of Mobile here said:

"The core magazine will be templated to suit our client's brand. They will then be able to reuse the same basic structures to display new content time and time again."

"The costs for putting content into a magazine should not be greatly increased by choosing to populate a magazine. Much of the content can be taken from your CMS or other digital storage areas. Then, once you have a magazine app in place you can reuse it time and time again without any associated print and distribution costs."

Our successful iPhone and iTouch App builder already lets our customers create a Smartphone app and edit the content and functionality themselves. This handy and cost effective solution automatically updates in the App Store and puts the control firmly in our client's hands.

Welcome to a world with a whole new way of reading. Can the iPad save the flailing magazine industry though? Well probably yes if magazines keep their prices down and make things easy to purchase. But for many businesses offering their content for free it's a great way to get your own readership, your customers, truly engaged with you.

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