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Time to rethink your Digital Edition

If your digital edition is not delivering a compelling user experience, says eMagazines’ Blake Pollard, you need to think again.

By Blake Pollard

Time to rethink your Digital Edition
Blake Pollard.

Traditional magazine publishers have had a digital version of their magazine(s) for many years. There are a ton of solutions to choose from – some old and some new – some that are web-based and others that require you to set up native iOS / Android apps. Most of them offer a very basic replication (sometimes called a flipbook) of the print magazine experience, even on a mobile device, which everyone can agree is not a good experience.

As we enter 2024, there is certainly an active trend towards replacing legacy digital editions with a much more vibrant experience that will drive more adoption and engagement.

Apple has set a great standard in digital magazine design with Apple News ® and the Apple News+ service. The most recent data from Statista on digital magazines estimates Apple News+ has approximately 20m paid subscribers across the four markets where it is available (which includes the UK). That makes the services from Apple the largest premium digital edition platform (we are a preferred Apple News provider) in the world.

A large part of the success of Apple News+ is the design of the digital magazines and the overall customer experience. When the digital magazine experience is as good as the print experience, consumers will engage – when it is not, they will not. Apple, through Apple News+, has done a great job in the last few years setting a new standard for how a digital magazine should be designed for phones and tablets.

Digital magazines are more relevant today than they were even a few years ago – there is no arguing that phones are everywhere, we spend more time on them and they are extremely powerful and fast.

Done correctly, a good digital magazine can act as a wonderful value add to a print subscription, can be leveraged to save on print and distribution cost and act as a bridge for print and website readers.

There is also no need to have or use a native iOS / Android magazine app for your digital edition. A web-based or PWA (Progressive Web App) based digital edition gives publishers complete control over the customer journey and experience.

Combo (print+digital) subscriptions from publishers are now the new standard. Consumers want instant gratification – a good digital magazine journey and experience supports this expectation. Digital editions can also be included in website-only subscriptions as an added benefit to a paywall subscription.

More and more publishers are investing in the digitisation of their back catalogues and offering them to subscribers as an additional benefit. Back catalogues should be easy to access, be well organised and be searchable across all issues.

In 2024, magazine publishers should consider replacing legacy digital editions and native magazine apps with a web-based and mobile optimised premium digital magazine solution.

About us

Launched in 2017, eMagazines is a software company that helps publishers of premium content create beautiful, mobile-optimised digital editions. Our unique approach and publisher solutions keep users engaged for longer than a typical website or magazine replica. eMagazines is an Apple News preferred provider.

Twitter / X: @readdigital