Launching a Digital Magazine? 10 Things You Need to Know First

Before launching a digital magazine, read through these ten resources.

launching a digital magazine - selling all-access magazine subscriptions

When it comes to launching a digital magazine, there’s no single FAQ online that can answer all your questions. What type of digital magazine should you build? How should you price it? Which software is best, and is it still advisable to build a tablet edition, or should your primary focus be on building a web magazine? We have compiled a list of answers to the questions we hear most from publishers who are launching a digital magazine.

1. How to Price Your Digital Magazine

Should your digital magazine cost less than your print magazine because it costs you less to produce? Or should it cost more because it includes more interactive features than the printed page? And how do you bundle print and digital packages online?

Read How to Choose the Best Subscription Pricing & Single-Copy Pricing Strategy for Your Subscription Websites to learn how other publishers are pricing their digital magazines with the best response rates.

2. The Costs of Publishing in the App Store

Publishing your digital magazine on a tablet, so that it can be downloaded in some of the world’s largest newsstands, may still be an effective strategy, even if we suggest prioritizing a web magazine. 20% of your subscriptions, depending on your market, may come directly from this marketplace.

Read Calculating Digital Magazine Costs to learn about all the costs that go into publishing a tablet edition of your digital magazine.

3. How to Create a Digital Magazine Business Plan

In planning to launch a digital magazine or a digital edition of your magazine, there are many factors to take into consideration. We use a strategic planning framework as a tool in developing and communicating business plans within a multiplatform publishing organization.

Read How to Create a Bulletproof Magazine Business Plan for a More Profitable Future to discover a seven-step magazine business plan that will determine how large your magazine business will become and how much of an investment will be required to build your business to maturity.

4. How to Sell Digital Magazine Subscriptions

Even as digital magazines have become part of the norm, everyone is still trying to figure out how to sell them in this brave new world. Sometimes the newest and hottest ideas are just that – ideas. We’re focused on strategies that have actually been executed and demonstrated to work.

Read 8 Ways to Sell Digital Magazine Subscriptions to find out how other publishers are improving their subscription sales.

5. How to Market Your Digital Magazine

Buying a list and mailing a big direct mail package, in hopes of getting a bunch of people to subscribe as we all did in the old print days, is rather like trying to sell 21st-century tablets themselves at an old-fashioned general store where hardware, ladies’ hats, and pickles all shared the same space, and the proprietor fetched everything on your list, then wrapped up your purchases in brown paper and twine. If you’re making plans for your own digital publication, it behooves you to also plan how to make money from it.

Read Digital Magazine Marketing: 9 Ways to Promote your Digital Magazine to learn how missed opportunities can lead to slumping digital magazine circulation.

6. Why a Digital Replica Won’t Cut it

If you are launching a tablet edition in addition to your website magazine and you think you can get away with launching a simple PDF version of your magazine, the general consensus from users is a resounding “no.” The one feature that users ask for is scrollable text, something you can’t provide in a static PDF edition that requires users to pinch and zoom in order to read articles.

Read Does a Digital Replica of Your Magazine Cut It to learn what other things digital magazine readers are looking for, and why a replica might be a waste of time and money.

7. The Type of Magazine Software You Should Use

If we’re here telling you that building a web magazine will help you make more money in the long-run and set the pace for the future, then you probably want to know what kind of software is best for this endeavor.

Read The Best Digital Magazine Publishing Software You Can Use to Launch Your Digital Magazine to find out the answers to all the above and more.

8. How to Sell Digital Magazine Advertising

When magazine publishers get together to talk about their advertising revenues, the common complaint is that even though they’re counting on online advertising to replace declining print ad pages, they’re “trading print dollars for digital dimes.” Worse, they say, they now have to trade those digital dimes for mobile pennies. But here’s the thing: Digital magazine advertising offers exactly the same enticing features. And these ads can leverage technology that allows greater interaction between advertisers and readers. So why should publishers settle for “mobile pennies?”

Read 3 Internet Revenue Models Publishers Use to Generate Online Advertising Dollars and learn efficient online advertising approaches that publishers are using to generate revenue.

9. The Difference Between Web Magazines and Tablet Magazine Apps

Do you sell a web magazine or a digital magazine app? How about both? Many publishers do, and they don’t even realize that both have totally different business models.

Read What is a Web Magazine? to learn the differences between various digital magazine editions, and the benefits of each.

10. How To Launch a Magazine Subscription Website

Launching a magazine subscription website is one of our favorite multiplatform publishing platforms because it’s such a profitable resource. If you’re launching an online edition of your magazine, it’s in your best interest to launch with an archive of back issues that will add value to the subscription.

Read How to Launch a Magazine Subscription Website and Increase Digital Sales and learn why a key component of any magazine subscription website is the web magazine you build within it, along with the back issue archive and special collections offering content that’s been curated from the archive.

Are you launching a digital magazine? Are you looking for answers that you haven’t found here because you need an expert’s ear to bend? Let’s chat. 

This article was originally published in 2016 and is updated frequently. 


    There are many reasons why content publishers decide to run an online magazine e.g.: creating an additional revenue stream to further monetize content on increasing transparency on the road to building a strong, recognizable brand.

    In my opinion, the most important thing is that an online magazine will be read across all devices: desktop, laptop, mobile, tablet. The first thing to remember is that it has to be built upon the Responsive Design idea without compromising on quality.

    I’ve just written an article on PressPad blog about creating and promoting online magazines and I hope it will be helpful for every publisher


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