Sunday, July 06, 2008

E-editions are gaining ground in the mainstream market.

E-editions are gaining ground in the mainstream market.
By Gretchen A. Peck

This spring, Barnes & Noble announced that it would offer both print publications and digital editions of more than 1,000 magazine titles to visitors of The e-editions will be fulfilled by Barnes & Noble partner Zinio. Indeed, it’s just one more indication that, despite some debate on their future, digital editions are becoming a viable alternative to print for a growing number of readers.

Cambridge, Mass.-based The Gilbane Group recently published a study, “Digital Magazine and Newspaper Editions: Growth, Trends, and Best Practices,” showing that the number of business-to-business publications offering digital editions increased by more than 300 percent in a two-year span (2005 to 2007), and the number of consumer publications offering digital editions has increased by more than 200 percent.

For publishers, clear economic and environmental benefits exist: Digital editions don’t kill trees, and the cost to produce a digital edition is much less than a printed publication.

Beyond the environmental and economic considerations, many publishers also have found digital editions to be an effective medium for enhancing the editorial and advertising experience with the use of rich media.

Today, even businesses that have for generations been dedicated to printing publications are looking at digital distribution as a new way to serve publishing clients. For example, Brown Printing Co.—one of the nation’s largest magazine printers—announced that it would assist publishers with their digital publications by partnering with iMirus Digital Solutions, the e-edition division owned by parent company Riggs Heinrich Media Inc. Many other printers are now offering digital-publication services to their publishers as well.

Digital editions also can be an effective way for publishers to expand into new markets, and increase their circulations without the additional printing and mailing costs.

It was the opportunity to launch a new global title that prompted the publisher of Recycling Today to venture into e-editions. The global edition of the magazine debuted in April exclusively as an e-edition, with the help of Advanced Publishing Corp.

“We are extending an existing North American title into a global market position,” explains James R. Keefe, executive vice president and group publisher, GIE Media, which publishes Recycling Today. “The launch of the new product, which is different from a content perspective, was easier to achieve in an electronic format, as delivery to a reader base around the world is more reliable and immediate. Therefore, the distribution issue becomes much easier to solve. As well, the platform we selected allows a lot of powerful multimedia and interactive applications.”

The monthly, controlled-circulation title already has 30,000 subscribers, but with reader feedback already very positive, Keefe expects continued circulation growth.

Digital editions are also proving to be a valuable strategy for publishers looking to breathe new life into previously published issues. For example, Wenner Media contracted Bondi Digital Publishing to convert Rolling Stone’s entire printed history into digital format and republish it as a searchable DVD, “Rolling Stone Cover-to-Cover: The First 40 Years.”

Whether the mass market will adopt digital editions as their preferred format for reading magazines in the future remains to be seen—and debated by industry pundits. But with recent triple-digit growth rates and one of the nation’s largest magazine retailers giving space to e-editions on its Web site, the future certainly seems promising for the digital magazine.

Solutions on the Market
As the number of publishers providing digital editions of their publications has grown, so has the number of digital editions solutions providers. Today, publishers have their choice of a wide range of products and services to fit their and their readers’ expectations for a digital publication. Here are a number of today’s top solutions on the market. Many printers of all sizes—such as Publishers Press, RR Donnelley and Sheridan Magazine Services—also now offer solutions to help publishers provide digital editions of their publications (but are not listed here). Many of these solutions are available to non-customers, so they may be worth investigating in your search for the best solution for your needs.

Advanced Publishing Corp.
Solution/Service: RIDE (Rich Interactive Digital Edition) is designed to enable publishers to create digital publications based on Microsoft’s award-winning Silverlight platform. Publications are fully searchable and may be complemented with rich media features. A secure subscription system is provided. Publishers also have access to real-time reports on pages viewed, time spent, click-thrus and more. Advanced Publishing digital-edition service includes conversion, hosting, subscriber access management, customized registration and data capture, e-mail notification delivery, BPA/ABC audit assistance, cross-publication search, archive issues access, and added capabilities for online ads, sponsorships, online video and more.
Pricing: All-inclusive, consisting of a one-time setup fee and a per-page fee based on the number of magazines and the overall volume of pages. For paid consumer magazines, it may also include a per-subscriber fee for each issue.
Magazine customers include: Composites Manufacturing; International Figure Skating; Vertical Magazine; GIE Media Inc.; Western Design & Interiors; Madavor Media LLC
Contact: (866) 785-4400,

Solution/Service: alQemy is an Adobe Partner that pioneered the first interactive PDF magazine and catalog format with the launch of Magazooms. Today, all digital editions are built in Adobe Flash format, transformed using the company’s Internet-based Flash application and hosted on alQemy servers. Publishers also can present their e-editions, including archives, on their own Web sites via customizable portals, and have access to content feeds to supply their Web sites and RSS feeds with articles from their Magazooms publications. Magazooms offers a “Search and Save” feature, which enables users to conduct global cross-issue searches and save resulting pages to the desktop as a new, customized PDF. AlQemy has announced plans to offer special Magazooms versions for the Apple iPhone.
Pricing: Available as a Free Basic Service, which includes conversion and hosting to qualified publishers (some restrictions apply), or a Full Feature Service, based on cost-per-page with enhanced options such as video insertions, custom hyperlinks, reader graphs and analytics with reader maps, customizable Web portals, shopping-enabled pages and an integrated Shopping Cart.
Magazine customers include: Electronic Retailer; Online Strategies; Dog Fancy; Freshwater and Marine Aquarium; Texas RV Park and Travel Guide
Contact: (864) 284-9918,

BlueToad Inc.
Solution/Service: BlueToad’s page-flip technology is designed to enable publishers to create and deploy an enhanced online version of print publications. Publishers can upload and convert print files to create a one-of-a-kind online publication with streaming audio and video, and as many as 20 direct Web links per page. Publishers can put a publication on BlueToad’s Web site, or distribute it from their own sites with a BlueToad Icon and a self-contained, online viewing system.
Pricing: No fees for setup, and no contracts required. Pricing is based on a per-page fee, which may be as little as $2.
Magazine customers include: Not available for publication.
Contact: (407) 992-8744,

Bondi Digital Publishing
Solution/Service: Bondi Digital Publishing designs, creates and publishes complete print-magazine-archive box sets in searchable digital editions.
Pricing: Not provided.
Magazine customers include: The New Yorker; Playboy Enterprises; Wenner Media
Contact: (212) 405-1655,

Content Data Solutions, a div. of Thomas Publishing Co.
Solution/Service: Content DSI converts print-ready publication files into digital replicas that are searchable by keyword or full text, and can include live links, and statistical reporting on editorial content and advertising. Content Data Solutions can also host digital publications on the publisher’s behalf.
Pricing: Not provided.
Magazine customers include: Not available for publication.
Contact: (800) 872-2828,

DMC Inc.
Solution/Service: EditionDuo enables publishers to create digital replicas of print publications, enhanced with rich media, and stored and hosted by DMG. Publishers can present the publications on their Web sites; animated GIFs can be sent to subscribers via e-mail; or publishers can distribute a Flash file of the e-edition via removable media. Accessed via standard Web browsers. Among EditionDuo’s features: simple text feeds (an Article Link will open a text version of the article in a new window); article translation; link building through bookmark sites such as Digg,, Google and more; article commenting; and an Adverts Menu, which acts as a table of contents for all of the publication’s advertising features. Links can direct readers to advertisers’ specific Web landing pages. Reader activity is tracked and reported.
Pricing: $229 setup fee plus $3 per-page fee. $0.50 per page for removing all EditionDuo branding (optional). Additional charges include $35 for an animated GIF, and $95 for a compiled Flash file.
Magazine customers include: Golf Georgia; Grape Anticipation; I Do for Brides; Clemson University; Designs Direct Publishing
Contact: (770) 992-5078,

Solution/Service: Dirxion’s solution replicates printed publications, and supports restricted or open access. Standard features include: database-driven searches (by keyword, phrase and category); banner ad space; hot links to Web sites and e-mail addresses; customized table of contents; “sticky” notes; cross-reference links; Flash ads; audio/video linking; usage tracking and reporting; and support for multiple languages.
Pricing: Not provided.
Magazine customers include: PennWell; Harrison Group
Contact: (888) 391-0202,

E-Book Systems Inc.
Solution/Service: E-Book Systems’ FlipBook Publishing System’s Digital Flip technology is designed to replicate the page-flipping experience. With FlipBook Creator, a Wizard-based program, online magazines can be enhanced with video, animations, music, embedded links and search functions.
Pricing: Not provided.
Magazine customers include: FHM; Primedia; MediaCorp
Contact: (408) 625-8000,

iMirus, a div. of Riggs Heinrich Media Inc.
Solution/Service: iMirus enables publishers to create digital editions—online or downloadable—of their print titles. The iMirus Reader may be customized to match the publisher’s branding and deployed via the publisher’s site (no software download is required), or served up as a client application for readers who wish to download a publication “to go.” iMirus also provides advertising and marketing programs, including banner ads, sponsorship programs, custom-published content, and sales of the outside front cover of the e-edition.
Pricing: iMirus operates as a “software as a service” model. Pricing is based on a package, which includes all services, or a la carte, which start at as low as $600 (including hosting).
Magazine customers include: Business Traveler; NWA World Traveler; Dental Economics; Rhode Island Monthly; Giant
Contact: (918) 492-0660,

NewsStand Corp.
Solution/Service: NewsStand takes a consultative approach to developing solutions for publishers of magazines, books, newspapers and more. NewsStand’s services and solutions include archiving, content management and repurposing, electronic editions, subscriber management and custom publishing. In addition to its public-facing site, the company also works with b-to-b and corporate publishers to develop e-editions and Intranet-based content portals, enabling more robust advertiser-publisher programs.
Pricing:’s e-editions are created based on flat fees dependent upon circulation. For pricing of other services, contact NewsStand.
Magazine customers include: Barron’s; Harvard Business Review; Laptop Magazine; Flight International; Nature Publishing
Contact: (866) 837-4567,

Nxtbook Media
Solution/Service: Nxtbook Media’s e-edition solution features include: bookmarks and page notation; word searches (current issue and archival); “forward content to a friend” capabilities; hyperlinks and e-mail links; and permalinks. The e-edition may be enriched with toolbar ads and sponsorship programs; Flash ads; audio and video ads; gatefolds, bellybands and inserts; and Gravicon surveys. Reader behavior is also tracked.
Pricing: Not provided.
Magazine customers include: Advanstar Communications; Reed Business Information; Weaver Official Publications; EContent Magazine; Primedia
Contact: (866) 268-1219,

Olive Software
Solution/Service: Olive Software is designed to create exact print replicas, through a centralized data-storage system and a single workflow, and to enable publishers to use the software to produce and host the digital edition—or, via its outsourced model, have Olive produce and host the title.
Pricing: Not provided.
Magazine customers include: Time Inc.; ESPN; Reed Business Information; Hearst Business Media; Newport
Contact: (866) 654-8387,

PageSuite Ltd.
Solution/Service: PageSuite is an online, interactive, page-turning software application that enables publications to be presented in a digital edition deployed via the Internet.
Pricing: From $500; depends on page count and frequency.
Magazine customers include: Condé Nast; Cambridge Style; City Living; Working Mother; Clarity Media Group

Pressmart Media Ltd.
Solution/Service: Pressmart converts publishers’ digital prepress pages into digital editions, using a patent-pending technology, and delivers them via the Web, mobile, podcasts, RSS feeds, social networks and content-aggregation services. Publications are promoted to subscribers via, as well as by online advertising, new-edition notifications, news alerts and e-mail campaigns. E-editions are pre-
integrated with social-networking sites and content-
aggregation services, and are search-engine ready.
Pricing: Not provided. No upfront investment; fees based on a per-page rate.
Magazine customers include: Not available for publication.
Contact: (212) 351-5090,
Solution/Service: Qmags’ electronic issues, delivered via the Internet, can be exact copies of the printed magazines, or digital publications created with the QuVu format, which enables the publication to fit readers’ computer screens, requiring no page manipulation. E-magazines can be enhanced with audio and video, hyperlinks and electronic search capabilities.
Pricing: Not provided.
Magazine customers include: Animation Magazine; Armchair General Magazine; Computer Magazine; IEEE Security & Privacy; Waste Management World
Contact: (212) 947-6050, ext. 11,

Solution/Service: Texterity converts publishers’ titles into the Published Web Format (PWF) from PDF files. PWF replicates page-turning, and enables cover wraps, bellybands, etc., to be transformed into overlays, pop-ups or animation. Buyers’ response cards appear as blow-ins (layered on the publication), and direct readers to specific advertiser locations. Texterity’s Lead Management System enables publishers and advertisers to offer premium content, such as white papers, within the digital edition, prompting readers to opt-in. PWF reader reports may also be used for BPA and ABC circulation statements.
Pricing: Not provided. Costs include a per-page conversion fee; a monthly maintenance fee for document hosting with customer-branded URL, search engine visibility, archive issues, and availability across all platforms without a plug-in or application (Windows PC, Macintosh, and iPod Touch or iPhone), among others; and a delivery fee. Other services also are available.
Magazine customers include: Make Magazine; Game Developer; Internal Auditor
Contact: (508) 804-3000,

YUDU Media
Solution/Service: YUDU Publishing Pro features include video, audio and Flash file insertion; a digital rights management system; contextual and archival search; bookmarking and notations; advertising components, such as tabs, gatefolds and bellybands; statistics capture; and more. It offers crisp vector text (which eliminates pixelation) and infinite zoom.
Pricing: Not provided.
Magazine customers include: Not available for publication.
Contact: (888) FOR-YUDU,

Solution/Service: Zendition’s a base model application is designed to enable page flipping, print capabilities, search functions, zoom, table of contents and more. Add-on modules include audio, video, pop-ups, back-end integration, BPA auditing, and registration and user tracking.
Pricing: Not provided.
Magazine customers include: Strategy & Business; Relix; Global Rhythm; Trader Monthly; Corporate Leader
Contact: (646) 278-0621,

Zinio LLC
Solution/Service: Zinio’s Publisher Growth Services Group collaborates with publishes to help integrate and tailor online marketing programs to a publisher’s circulation, ad sales, brand extension or other audience-building goals.
Pricing: Not provided.
Magazine customers include: Primedia; Reader’s Digest; VNU (now Nielsen); Disney; The Hearst Corp.; Rodale; National Geographic; TV Guide

Zmags Inc.
Solution/Service: Zmags Publicator is designed for creating and editing electronic versions of print publications. It is designed to enable creation of e-editions in as few as five minutes, on average. The solution is Web-based, requiring no software downloads. Available in two levels—PublicatorExpress and PublicatorPro. PublicatorPro also features advanced editing; archives management; high-resolution zooming; advanced analytics; and automatic linking to internal and external sources.
Pricing: Starting at $45/month per publication.
Magazine customers include: Not available for publication.
Contact: (613) 627-4101, PE

Gretchen A. Peck is a freelance author who writes about the international printing and publishing industries.