Do you run or contribute to an online magazine?
Most of our readers would consider themselves in the magazine publishing industry – that is true. But when it comes to your digital magazine strategy, do you think you run an online magazine, a tablet magazine, or a magazine website? You might have chosen two or all three of those, or you might think they mean similar things. However, to us, these digital magazine archetypes have different meanings and different business models.
Online Magazine, or Web Magazine
What are online magazines, or web magazines? They’re magazines that are read online. They aren’t formatted for a tablet (they don’t need to be, they are HTML) and they cannot be bought in an app store. They are available through a magazine subscription website, where the user can view an issue of a magazine – one that is linear and periodic, has pages and a regular frequency and can be viewed in responsive HTML on any desktop or mobile device at any time. There’s nothing to download. Publishers of online magazines, also referred to as web magazines, usually generate their revenue through subscribers and may also take advertising.
Additionally, when you’ve digitized your magazine into an online magazine and have organized an online magazine team, it’s remarkably simple to create an online magazine library or archive. This is available through your magazine subscription website just like the original online magazine. Users have access to previous magazine issues and ideally, special digital collections that are curated from the magazine archive.
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Tablet Magazine, or App Edition
Although a digital magazine could rightly refer to any magazine read digitally, most would agree that a tablet magazine is an app edition. In other words, this is the magazine that you read via an app on your phone or on your iPad, Kindle, or other tablet-like device. It can still be held in your hands, but it can’t be paged through. Tablet magazines require a dedicated app that is separate from your web browser. They’re also interactive. Ads may link to webpages, and articles may include videos. We break the tablet magazine app down further into three platforms:
- Apple edition
- Kindle edition
- Google edition
The most popular tablet magazine app archetypes, in order of least interactive to most interactive, are digital replica, replica-plus, and reflow-plus. A digital replica is typically a PDF of your magazine that has been formatted for a tablet reader, whereas a replica-plus offers more interactivity (the videos and ads previously mentioned.) Magazine publishers who create a reflow-plus tend to add new functionality to the magazine that makes it act uniquely from any other digital magazine, and more like an app.
We’ll sometimes see publishers referring to their free website portals or blogs as magazine websites. These are websites that are using a magazine brand, but the content on the website isn’t linear, or periodic, and it doesn’t have a table of contents. From our perspective, these magazine websites don’t meet the criteria of the online or web magazine described above and leave money and opportunity on the table for publishers looking to successfully monetize their magazine content digitally.
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Over the past two decades, we’ve guided more than 300 niche publishers through the process of transforming themselves from legacy print publishers into multiplatform operations that often dominate their industry niche and generate operating margins that surpass those created by their legacy print business. Learn more about how we can help you apply these strategies to your publishing business by scheduling a FREE consultation today.