One of the early complaints about ebooks was that they weren’t taking full advantage of the possibilities that digital provided. Rather than maximizing the full potential of the concept, early ebooks were just portable, digital, page-by-page replicas of their print counterparts. In an interesting finger-pointing twist, industry experts have now said the same thing about digital magazines and newspapers, namely in that their covers are just replicas of the paper version.
One industry watcher went so far as to call this repeat process “lazy.”
According to Chris Bond, Creative Lead, Digital Editions, for Toronto-based TC Media, in an article for TalkingNewMedia.com, “Unlike a print edition, the reader can’t pick up the edition and flip through it before deciding to purchase. Cover videos give us the opportunity to give the reader a bit of that ‘flip through’ feeling by bringing to life what they’ll get inside. While such elements help to amplify the value of the content, you don’t want to overwhelm the reader with too much different kinds of interactivity.”
To date, digital magazine distributors and subscription-based apps like PressReader and Zinio have relied on the cover image provided by the publisher, but as the information shows, too often that digital cover is simply a pixelized rendition of the cover the art department already created for paper. But the purpose of the covers is vastly different when the format changes. The cover that was designed to entice a consumer to pick up a print edition at the newsstand can easily give way to a more vibrant, useful digital design.