Creating the Perfect Digital Magazine

Discuss the most important characteristics of a digital magazine at the Mequoda Summit West 2011

In the Mequoda Daily yesterday, I talked about building a digital magazine subscription website and the future of digital magazine publishing.

Although it’s unclear how the future of digital magazines will look, there are some characteristics I believe will be incorporated in the most successful digital magazines of the future. I originally outlined these characteristics in a post entitled “The Perfect Digital Magazine”.

As a quick review, here are the nine characteristics that I believe will be the core of digital magazines going forward.

9 characteristics of the perfect digital magazine

#1 – Digital magazines should be linear: All issues contain a table of contents, are read front to back and include a series of articles.

#2 – Digital magazines should be finite: They have a beginning and an end – readers can experience a sense of accomplishment by finishing a magazine.

#3 – Digital magazines should be periodic: There is a natural, organic frequency designated by the audience’s desire to consume the associated content.

#4 – Digital magazines should be cohesive: Editors collect the most interesting and relevant content to supply audience members with a unified collection of articles.

#5 – Digital magazines should be portable: Readers can take their favorite issues with them where ever they go.


#6 – Digital magazines should be textual: The main component of magazine articles will always be the written word; photographs are additional enhancements to the content.

#7 – Digital magazines should be collectable: Readers like to own the content they pay for.

#8 – Digital magazines shouldn’t be limited by platform: Consumers of digital magazines will want to access content through multiple mediums, from laptops and desktops to tablets.

#9 – Digital magazines should be searchable: Publishers should build companion subscription websites where they can disaggregate all digital magazine content and create a searchable HTML database of editorial content.

How important do you think these nine characteristics are to a fundamental digital magazine?

How about the requirements I listed in yesterday’s post regarding digital magazine publishing security, ownership options and pricing terms?

We value our readers’ opinions and will be sending out a survey to the entire Mequoda community next week to see if you agree or disagree with the characteristics above.

The results of the survey will be revealed live at the Mequoda Summit West 2011 in a session titled Creating the Perfect Digital Magazine: Nine Characteristics of a Digital Magazine that are Defined by the User Experience and Dictate Future Requirements.

This session will help you thrive and strategize on the new publishing platforms emerging in our industry. Learn from publishers who are already building their “perfect digital magazine” so you can bring your magazines to the 21st century’s level of editorial brilliance.

I look forward to seeing you in California.


    Digital magazines are very environmental-protected. And with the popularization of the MIDs, such as the iPad and Kindle, I’m sure people will love reading more than ever. Digital magazines are great innovation.


    Great points on digital magazines – you are absolutely right regarding the ability to search for today’s users immediately look for a search box when they can’t find something on the first page – which is also why the table of contents is vital. We publish free digital magazines for parents and students embarking on the college search at with topics ranging from the FAFSA Guide to the Parents Survival Guide to College. Please check it out and let me know what you think and see how we’ve hit all your 9 elements. Thanks


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