Digital Magazine News

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RCNA Nominees

Barnes and Noble is orchestrating the first annual the Readers’ Choice Newsstand Awards. This new program looks at the best magazines published over the last year and allows users to vote on the most compelling ones. Each category has four nominees to choose from and all nominated content will be available to be read for free online with a browser based reader or on your smartphone or tablet.

All of the magazines that Barnes and Noble has selected for the Newsstand Awards will  receive a special in-store promotional display at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide for the print edition during the open voting period. If you have a Nook branded tablet, upon visiting the newsstand you will get a chance to check out all of the nominees.

Throughout the voting period, which occurs from October 20th to November 19th, readers can enter into a sweepstakes for the chance to win a fantastic grand prize of a trip for two to New York City and a $500 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, as well as other great prizes including $100 Barnes & Noble Gift Cards and Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK devices.

I think organizing a contest centered around magazines is a solid idea. There is certainly no shortage of movie, music and television awards. Once in awhile we have awards for the best author or best book, but seldom do we see anything for magazines.

The Newsstand Awards will accomplish a few things. It will give people a chance to discovery the online web-browser to read digital magazines, giving people a reason to subscribe. It also serves as an introduction to the Nook ecosystem of magazines, something that is rarely promoted. Finally, it is interesting simply to check out the shortlist of magazines that the editorial staff at Barnes and Noble has selected.

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German artist Christoph Niemann has created The New Yorker’s first-ever animated GIF cover. This is the first time the publication has ever done something like this.

“When I arrived in New York for the first time, it was pouring” said Niemann. “Maybe that’s why, to my mind, there’s no place on earth where being stuck in traffic on a rainy day is more beautiful.”

“One of the ways that he expresses himself recently has been in animated GIFs,” says Françoise Mouly, art director at The New Yorker. Mouly had given thought to using one of his earlier GIFs for the cover, but held off until now.

The New Yorker apparently had big problems integrating the cover and making it work on their website and line of apps for Android and iOS. At one point there were technical issues that caused the GIF to render as a blank space on the web. Mouly says she became “distraught.” But the team persevered and the GIF was brought to life.

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OK! Magazine is abandoning their celebrity coverage and has axed the majority of their digital staff. They intend on gravitating towards a more click bait gossip direction, similar to the type of success Buzzfeed as seen.

The website informed its digital team that their services will no longer be needed. OK! is now searching for an executive editor, who can steer the website towards more gossip-oriented coverage and less celebrity-friendly stories.

Dylan Howard, who currently serves a VP of news at AMI, editor-in-chief of the National Enquirer and editorial director at RadarOnline, will re-launch OK! Magazine’s website with a new team, insiders said. The future staff will be based in New York. The site previously laid off its team in Los Angeles and it was unclear if they will eventually be replaced.

The writing was on the wall back in 2012 that another celebrity website was not generating strong revenue. This promoted the merger between Star and OK! to share a common editorial direction.

OK! plans on revamping their online website and they intend on releasing a series of apps for Android and iOS.

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Macworld magazine has been going strong since 1984 and has been chronicling all things Apple. Due to a decline in print subscriptions the publication has announced they are abandoning the print edition and focusing more on the website and digital version.

There has been a tremendous amount of negative publicity surrounding Macworld since the formal unveiling of the new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch event. Most of their senior staff covered the event for six hours and contributed commentary and live event coverage. The very next day most of them were sacked.

So who exactly left Macworld? Dan Frakes, Phillip Michaels and Dan Moren. Senior Vice President and Editorial Director Jason Snell announced he was leaving the company in a decision that had been made prior to the layoffs; Serenity Caldwell also posted that she had given notice last week, and would be leaving the magazine at the end of the month. Dan Miller posted that he would be “here for another month to assist with the transition.” Senior Editor Chris Breen apparently remains the only “big name” writer left with the publication.

Macworld will continue operating their website, with a reduced staff. They will also publish a digital edition via the Apple Newsstand. If you’re a current print subscriber, look for information about your new subscription options in the November issue of the magazine.

Last year PC World, a magazine focused exclusively on Windows announced they were suspending their print edition. If a magazine focused on the most widely used operating system in the world cannot make print viable, who can?

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Online magazine and eBook publishing company Blurb has been busy of late. They have just a signed a new global retail distribution partnership with Ingram Content Group, and free output to reflowable ebooks for all Amazon Kindle devices and Kindle readers.

Blurb now has the broadest self-publishing platform available, enabling indie authors to publish books, magazines, and ebooks in multiple formats, and then sell direct on or via distribution programs with Amazon and Ingram. There is not too many self-publishing companies that are heavily invested in the magazine space, other than Glossi, who is entirely online.

“Authors, like artists, want two things: Control over their product and process, and fair compensation for their quality work,” said Eileen Gittins, founder and CEO, Blurb. “The elements are now all here for indie authors to design, market and sell their books – at a healthy margin – via global distribution to booksellers both online and at retail. We’re thrilled to deliver a truly complete offering for creatives of all kinds who want to bring their passions to life. Authors can now make the beautiful books Blurb is known for at more competitive prices.”

Ingram is likely the biggest deal for Blurb others, because it gets their books physically printed in over 39,000 locations.  Here is some info the company provided to us on options for indie authors.

“Blurb’s new Trade Books come in three industry-standard trim sizes:  5×8, 6×9, and 8×10, in uncoated text-weight paper.

Trade Books are available in both hardcover and softcover, and all formats are eligible for global distribution through Ingram, giving Blurb authors a much broader target audience.

Authors have two print options: Economy and Standard. Economy printing offers a lower print-on-demand starting price ($3.99 for color, $2.99 for black and white), while Standard printing features a wider color range and rich blacks, comparable to Blurb’s existing trade and pocket book printing.”



Flipboard is changing the way we consume and interact with news stories from all over the world. The company allows users to aggregate social feeds into a digital magazine. These magazines can be individual or shared with the wider community. Flipboard has started to hit critical mass with its 100 million registered users and 10 million digital magazines created by approximately 7 million people.

Launched in 2010, Flipboard was designed to be the world’s first social magazine for the iPad, allowing users to create their own personal magazines by pulling in updates from Facebook and Twitter. They could also follow specific news sources and websites like Good e-Reader or Techcrunch. There was also an ability to key in your feeds, and read any online publication with a valid RSS Feed. Publishers soon caught on, with newspapers and magazines allowing Flipboard to access content from their social media stream and own websites.

On Wednesday night, during a fireside chat with ReadWrite  Flipboard  CEO Mike McCue revealed that video ads will be coming to its magazines, and Chanel will be one of the first brands with a reel. “The world of TV, and the world of print, these worlds are merging,” he said. “We’re moving towards this … world where content can be atomized and reconstructed around interests or topics that someone’s really passionate about.”

Twitter, Facebook and Yahoo are all working towards video advertising platforms because they represent the next generation of revenue. Existing websites are often monetized by banner and skyscraper ads and they are crowding up web pages, publishers keep adding more and more stuff on the page. “The problem on the Web is that if you take a look at a website, the content is surrounded by all kinds of stuff, if you could turn off those banner ads, you would.” said McCue.

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Print magazine sales are starting to incur some noticeable declines as customers flock to the digital realm.  Newsstand sales of U.S. consumer magazines dropped 12% in the first half of 2014 from a year earlier, while paid subscriptions declined 1.8%.

Newsstand, or single-copy, sales have been considered the best gauge of consumer demand because they can’t be propped up by deeply discounted subscriptions or free copies distributed in public places such as doctors’ offices.

Digital editions continue to be a small but growing portion of magazines’ total circulation mix. For the first half of 2014, magazines reported a total average of 11.6 million digital replica editions. This is some solid growth because in the first half of 2013 only 10.2 million digital editions were sold, or 3.3% of total circulation.

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Australian based fashion magazine Shop Til You Drop intends to focus on digital, while still publishing four tangible issues a year. The new online edition will be available every two weeks and focus on emerging fashion trends.

Shop Til You Drop was founded in 2004 and is the modern girl’s fashion and beauty bible. It aims to make shopping easier and more accessible for time-challenged women. With a focus on shopping smart, it covers the entire market of fashion, beauty and homewares, providing the reader with the ultimate edit of what she needs this minute – mixing high-end fashion with chain-store must-haves; luxury beauty buys with pharmacy products.

Most of the writing and editorial staff of the magazine will be let go, due to sagging readership base. Instead, they will deal mainly with freelancers to write stories and contribute fashion ideas.

Shop Til You Drop falls under the ACP Magazines banner and it was purchased in 2012 by the German media conglomerate Bauer Media. We are now seeing the entire ACP portfolio undergo drastic changes to remain profitable. Grazia and Madison have shuttered their doors and Elle Australia has launched to take their place.

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If you live in Canada and watch television, undoubtedly you might have seen the Next Issue advertisements. The premise of their campaign is trying to convince you that physical magazines take up a lot of room. It makes it unsuitable for reading at home, or on the go. So the question is, is Next Issue viable for Canadians wanting to read digitally?

Next Issue has over 100 digital magazines in their catalog and offers a free one month subscription. Afterwards, it costs $9.99 a month to read as much as you want. Well, there is a catch, you don’t get People, Hello! Canada, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Maclean’s, or Time unless you pong up $14.99 a month.

If you like content, Next Issue has you covered. They have established relationships with most of the leading publishers. This includes Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, Rogers and Time. For your average reader, they have most of the mainstream magazines, such as Wired, Popular Mechanics, Bloomberg, Entertainment Weekly, Fast Company, Macleans, People, and Vogue.

Canadians do have access to a fair amount of content, but Next Issue is heavily skewed towards the very mainstream. There are no magazines from major publishers in England, such as Imagine. Basically, there is hardly any international representation in the overall catalog. Instead, you mainly have stuff printed and published in Canada and the US only. I am a big fan of Games TM, Vice, T3 and other tech magazines, sadly there is none of these.

If you are using the Next Issue app for Android or iOS you normally pick and choose what issues you want to subscribe to, and they download to your device. Each one is around 100MB in size, and this warrants monitoring of space limits. Most people have the 16GB iPad or iPhone, and a few months of storing magazines could really take up a ton of space.

There are some very noticeable drawbacks when using their app. New issues don’t download automatically unless the app is open. If you have many downloading at once, they take a long time to complete.

When it comes to reading digital magazines in Canada, we are somewhat limited to who offers them and what type of deals they offer. Amazon, Apple and Kobo all sell individual magazines directly and have way more content than Next Issue. There are also companies like Magster, PressReader and Zinio that all offer subscription plans. These three companies all have larger catalogs than Next Issue. Zinio allows you subscribe to 3 magazines a month, with their ZPass program, while PressReader allows you to subscribe to them all, and puts a heavily emphasis on international magazines from over 80 countries.

Most Canadians just want to read the popular and mainstream magazines and Next Issue may make sense. The price is low enough, that you can read as many as you want, without having to pay for them individually. If you like to read magazines in other languages and from other countries, avoid it.

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Golf World is the oldest American magazine and first started publication in 1947. Conde Nast has made the call to suspend the print edition, due to declining sales and focus on digital distribution.

The changes were announced Wednesday as part of its “new strategic vision” for Golf World. By going exclusively digital, the magazine will start pumping out 50 issues a year, up from 31 issues of the print version.

Jerry Tarde, the chairman of Golf World said “It’s a response to the times and people’s reading habits, and the changing nature of the 24-hour news cycle,” Tarde said. “The notion of a print magazine that lands a week after the action … the perspective is really good, but it’s much better if it can be delivered immediately. That’s what our readers’ expectations are.”

According to Adage, Golf World averaged paid and verified circulation of 213,387 during the last six months of 2013, according to its filing with the Alliance for Audited Media, down slightly from nearly 215,000 a year earlier. Print ad pages were off 28.5% through its July 21 edition, according to Media Industry Newsletter.

Apparently they will not be releasing a digital magazine, per say. Instead, everything will be o instantly viewable from with daily updates on the latest golf news and tour coverage.

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Every single day there are 60,000 cruise, cargo and oil rigs in operation globally. The vast majority of staff that keep these operations running properly are workers from the Philippines, Malaysia, Russia and India. Many of the corporations that bankroll everything are putting a new emphasis on crew welfare and retention. This has opened up a new market for digital publishing companies to keep the staff entertained and use it as perks to keep trained personnel from going to the competition.

Maritime operations, whether its a cruise ship, oil rig or cargo vessel often do not have reliable internet access. The companies often deal with satellite internet providers such as VSAT and IMTECH. Internet access is purchased in blocks, where ships have very specific limits on how much data is available. In order to download eBooks, magazines or newspapers they have to be accessed in off-peak hours, when the internet is more reliable and not congested.

Cargo vessels and oil rigs often have staff that are on the vessel for up to six months at a time. Keeping them entertained is a top priority to keep them loyal and happy. This has opened up a tremendous niche in the marketplace where some companies are taking advantage of the sparse options currently available.

Vancouver based PressReader currently has a catalog of over 2,000 newspapers and magazines. They have developed a new offline system that will allow vessels to download content in non-peak hours and distribute it to smartphones and tablets via a shipwide WIFI network. Maritime companies are starting to select publications that are relevant to the nationalities of their workers and getting the top three or four titles from those countries. This would allow a boatswain from the Philippines to get free access to the Manila Times, UNO Magazine, and Daily Inquirer to read at their leisure. Providing perks like free newspapers and magazines gives workers and officers a taste of home, without having to spend any of their own money, its the corporate cash after all that pays for it.

Getting your staff to read safety guides, regulations, weather reports and orientation information is a trial and tribulation. The print editions are often destroyed in the heat and humidity or lost amidst the huge vessels. This has warranted digital distribution, and PressReader Offline supports the ability for companies to upload their documents in PDF form, to be downloaded to tablets and phones on-demand.

PressReader offline has been in a year long pilot project and the system was co-developed by Silver Seas Cruises. It was trialed on a number of vessels to get feedback on how it could be integrated, using existing systems and the limitations of satellite internet. The offline capabilities have been a big hit and is now being used on vessels globally.

Established satellite internet providers are also leaping at the oportonity to fill this burgeoning entertainment niche. InfoSat is currently developing a new system that will allow vessels to have unlimited satellite internet access and offer a wide array of media. Maps, music, Videos, Newspapers, magazines and eBooks will be a top priority for the global launch.

If you are a crewman on a military submarine, your options to access leisure content is severely hampered. Internet access is non-existent, due to security reasons, which traditionally made reading eBooks unfeasible. This has prompted the US Navy to partner with Findaway World for the NERD e-Reader. It comes with 300 eBooks and audiobooks and has no USB port or WIFi internet access. In essence, it is a tremendously low security risk and provides an alternative to movies or the XBox.

I think this is the perfect time for the maritime industry to embrace audiobooks, ebooks, magazines and digital newspapers as an avenue to retain staff and keep everyone entertained. After all, most just rely on mindless activities such as video games, movies or sports. Reading gives them a taste of home and a widened mind.


The New Yorker exemplifies a high society paper that chronicles commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry. The paper has been going strong since 1925 and recently they have been working like fiends to make sure their website is brought up to modern standards. Not only do they have a new responsive design that makes it shine on computers, but now looks stellar on phones and tablets. In order to celebrate, they are giving away any new content they publish away for free and also are opening up their digital  archives from 2007 to 2014.

In a statement on their blog the editorial staff said “Beginning this week, absolutely everything new that we publish—the work in the print magazine and the work published online only—will be unlocked. All of it, for everyone. Call it a summer-long free-for-all. Non-subscribers will get a chance to explore The New Yorker fully and freely, just as subscribers always have. Then, in the fall, we move to a second phase, implementing an easier-to-use, logical, metered paywall. Subscribers will continue to have access to everything; non-subscribers will be able to read a limited number of pieces—and then it’s up to them to subscribe. You’ve likely seen this system elsewhere—at the Times, for instance—and we will do all we can to make it work seamlessly.”

So the New Yorker intends on borrowing a page out of the New York Times playbook to implement a paywall for all of their online content. This will make the majority of it be indexed on Google and used as reference by other online publications. Users will be able to read X articles per month for free and if they want to read more, they have to subscribe. This is likely why they are giving away everything for free right now, to drum up a new readership base and then try and get them to pay.

Jeff Howe, a professor of multimedia journalism at Northeastern University, called the new paywall strategy a good one. “Paywalls aren’t the silver bullet news outlets thought they would be back in the Jurassic period of the internet’s development, but a limited and intentionally leaky one becomes one of a bunch of revenue streams to staunch further declines, and maybe even help ward off that terrible vortex of losses leading to layoffs leading to readership declines leading to losses.”

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Traditional magazine advertising often captivates readers attention due to color, gloss and shine. When it comes to reading on a tablet, such as the iPad, do advertisements still resonate?

According to new research by GfK MRI Starch Advertising readers respond to digital advertisements at the same rate as print. They found that the average level of reader recall for both print and digital ads last year was 52%. The most effective digital magazine ads were recalled by more than 80% of readers, in line with the most effective print ads.

Not all adverts are created equal and the research found that customers respond to very specific campaigns. Advertisements for  for household products had the highest average reader recall scores. Vegetable juices had a 66% average level of reader recall,  while candy and beverages tied for the second highest average reader recall score for print ads at 64%.

28,624 magazine ads in 805 tablet magazine issues published last year were part of the report.

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