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The Future of Digital Magazines


Print or digital publications - or both? Future-proof publishers have answered this question for themselves already. Magazine- or article-based digital magazine? This is the crucial question at the moment.

THE STATUS QUO

Publishing houses still find it hard to believe that print alone is not everything (any more). Some of them have been experiencing big financial losses in terms of subscription payments and advertising income over the past years. I’m speaking of billions of Euros in the entire industry.

However, it would be wrong to say that print will not continue to exist. I believe that print magazines will still be successful as long as they are accompanied and thus supported by attractive digital offers that go along with their print counterparts at the same time.

Since Adobe shocked publishers and editorial designers worldwide a few years ago by more or less spontaneously introducing their license model for the Digital Publishing Suite and basically blackmailing their clients taking advantage of their leading market position, I switched towards the Belgian software solution Twixl for creating digital app magazines and app brochures for my clients.

STRUCTURE OF AN APP

Ever since internet blogs have become more and more successful, one question pops up in the media landscape: How shall an app magazine be structured?:

I Classic magazine format: several topics and articles in one compact medium or I article-based: many loose articles that stand for themselves, maybe wrapped up in categories (similar to a blog on a website)

Thinking of the classic magazine format; when you tap the app icon, you’ll get to a selection of different magazine issues that you can download (either by paying money as an in-app-purchase of free of charge). This is often the simplest way to offer an existing print magazine as a digital app magazine, because the editorial team doesn’t have much more work with it.

Opposed to that, there is the article-based approach which requires the editorial team to shift their thinking more towards a blog approach. Imagine the magazine app icon on your mobile device again. You tap it and a bunch of loose articles pops up in front of your eyes - preferably in a card design layout (read more about card designs in this blog post).

This bunch of loose articles is often summed up in categories, so called "collections" in the language of Twixl.

This article-based approach widely represents the usability of websites or web blogs. You try to make the app user feel they are consuming an internet blog. This makes sense as the reading flow of print magazine differs a lot from the reading flow of a digital medium.