De-Coding Digital Magazine Publishing Software Rates Without Getting Swindled

A look at all the different fees you might encounter when choosing digital magazine publishing software

Digital magazine publishing software comes in all forms, capabilities, and prices. In the past we’ve reviewed our favorite digital magazine software, but now let’s break out the dollars and cents because it’s certainly a factor.

There are a few different fees that you may encounter from different software companies. Some bill you one fee, or all the fees.

  • Initial software fee – the charge to use their software
  • Startup fees – typically from companies who help you set up / design your digital magazine
  • Per download fee – the flat rate or percent you pay per sale
  • Per published magazine – the flat rate or percent you pay every time a new issue comes out
  • Monthly fees – a flat rate you pay monthlyto use the sofware / service
  • Remit rate – the % a newsstand gets every time you sell an issue or subscription
  • Hosting fees – the cost to host your files

The most barebones option you have is the Google Play Newsstand Producer, formerly known as Google Currents. Their software is free and you pay a remit rate of 40% on every sale. Additionally, “publishers have the option to place their own ads into the Newsstand edition of their publication, with thirty percent or more of the ad space placed by Google and subject to a revenue share arrangement with the publisher.”

  • Remit rate

Magloft is another piece of digital magazine publishing software independent of newsstands – so that you can launch your own app and don’t need to pay a per-sale remit rate. The way they bill is on an ongoing basis, rather than eating into your revenues, and they only bill after launch.

  • Setup fee
  • Monthly fee

If you want to publish on all the newsstands, you’ll need a different solution. The top two players here are Adobe and Mag+. According to Mag+, “All magazines are using different formats in Newsstand. We are using MIB, DPS is using folio. Some publishers use PDF or EPUB. In iBooks you can only use Apple’s own iBook format though.”


With Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, a Professional license allows the very smallest publishers to publish one title only. If you want additional platforms, the license cost goes up to $6,000 a year. There’s also a fee of $.35 per download.

This is a switch from earlier pricing which allowed multiple titles in the Pro option. Adobe now encourages publishers with three or more titles to move up to its pricey Enterprise option, which is priced individually for each customer. “We look at the overall organization, how much they might be saving in print costs, and other business considerations before we can tell you what the costs will be,” a senior Adobe rep told a blogger. While once you could actually get an Enterprise license for a mere $50,000 up front, Enterprise prices can now be in five figures per month. And few niche publishers can afford that for digital magazine publishing software.

  • Monthly fee
  • Per download
  • Hosting fees

Mag+ we find to be the most approachable solution for niche publishers like our clients.

The cost is $8,388  per year ($699 per month) for enterprise features most publishers need, including adding a log-in to your app to gate your content. It allows you to publish one title to all devices, (multiple issues), similar to the DPS price, but with Mag+ you get 1 terabyte of downloads per month included, more than enough data for 99% of apps.

Unlike Adobe, who charges a fixed fee per download and files must be hosted with Adobe, Mag+ allows publishers – including our clients who use Haven Gate, our comprehensive premium subscription management module – to host their digital magazines themselves. So you don’t even have to pay that entitlement cost.

  • Per month
  • Hosting fees (not always applicable)

Also, of course, when you publish to Newsstand, you’ll pay the remit rate of whomever you’re publishing to. That’s 30% to Apple, 35% to Amazon and 40% to Google. Amazon and Google can be negotiable.

There are custom options too. Mequoda has its own solution. We’ve already helped Gold Member Prime Publishing develop what we believe is the first-ever web magazine, delivering a full, page-by-page, rich-media experience in a web browser, making it accessible on any device.

Would you like to develop a digital magazine? Get in touch and we can chat.


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