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10 Publishers Using PDFs

How Publishers are using PDFs to Generate Email Subscribers, Sell Online and Offline Subscriptions, and Create New Sources of Ad Revenue

When you choose to use PDFs as a platform for distributing your content, you are offering your customers instant gratification. Some of the ways publishers are using PDFs as a part of their online publishing strategy includes creating two to twenty-page free reports as “freemiums”, earning revenue with ad-sponsored PDFs, even selling newsletters without any means of distribution other than the Internet.

PDFs are a wonderful way to distribute content because:

  • Adobe PDF Reader is free and pre-installed on most computers
  • PDFs can be read online or printed out depending on preference
  • PDFs are inexpensive to produce and virtually free to distribute
  • PDFs can be SEO’d and found in search engines just ike any other page on your website
  • You can link to and from a PDF anywhere on the web
  • You can use full color photographs without worrying about printing costs

Below are just 10 of the many publishers using PDFs to distribute their content. If you have any interesting or unique ways that you are distributing your content via PDF, please let us know.

1. Ask the Builder: Offers tons of home improvement eBooks on his site in PDF format. He also sells product packages that include checklists, blueprints, and spec sheets all as instantly downloadable PDFs.

2. Dinosaurs and Robots: Offers a free Yahoo/Adobe-sponsored digital magazine called D+R Dispatch as a PDF that covers the content of their blog and radio shows.

3. FDAnews: Offers full issues of their newsletters (both pay-per-view and subsciption) in PDF format.

4. Fine Woodworking: Offers articles and project plans via PDF as part of a paid membership to the site.

5. Golf Vacation Insider: Offers free “Golf Vacation Guides” as PDFs in exchange for an email address. They also distribute their paid newsletter in PDF form.

6. Harvard Health Publications: Offers both their paid special reports and paid newsletters in PDF format for the same price as their print counterparts, but offer a print+electronic package deal for a few dollars more. They also offer free trial issues of their paid newsletters that include a free report “freemium” in PDF format.

7. Johns Hopkins Health Alerts: Offers all health reports in PDF form as well as a number of special report “freemiums” that are offered in exchange for an email address.

8. Knitting Daily: Offers their free and paid knitting patterns in PDF form.

9. Motley Fool: Offers a free report in exchange for an email address, followed up with a co-registration page. They also offer all of their newsletters in both print and PDF form.

10. Penton’s Military Electronics: Offers a free sponsor-driven PDF magazine for military and aerospace engineers.

Publishers are using PDFs all over the web in many innovative ways. Take time out today to discover how you can increase and optimize your PDF production. Look at other publishers and how they are increasing revenue with both paid and free PDFs.

Also, take a look at some of our recent articles on PDF optimization:

10 Publishers Using PDF’s

How to SEO Your PDFs

Create PDF Files That Work

Document Security & Digital Rights Management

Posted in Multiplatform Publishing Strategy

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