Esquire recently launched an iPhone version of their magazine. There are a couple of differences between this version of the magazine and others. One is good (but labor intensive for some) and one is questionable in our opinion.
1) Putting articles on the same scrollable screen. It’s hard not to like this, as it makes for a seamless reading experience. Rather than scrolling through four to six pages of a magazine article, each one is one its own screen in its entirety. Most mobile versions of magazines today (including the Nxtbook) treat a page as a page because we begin the process from a medium built with pages – the PDF. Connecting pages into singular articles is easily accomplished, but requires more labor.
2) Where’d all the ads go? Perhaps the reason the reading experience is so darn fun is that you get all of the great Esquire ads without having to flip through 30 pages (or more) of ads. Built for a single sponsor, Axe gets small mentions at the end of about half the articles and a single full screen ad at the end of the publication. Short-term, this isn’t a bad solution: Axe gets 100% of the mindshare of what is – admittedly – a small audience. But more concerning is how this model could scale once readership builds. Indeed, Esquire has lot of high profile advertisers, and – except for Axe – they were left out of this very sexy looking product.
From all of us, to all of you, here’s the Nxtbook carbon-neutral 2009 Holiday Greeting.
On the inside, you’ll notice that you can actually play with the snow…. use your mouse and drag it to the left or right. You can pretend you’re the wind.
The picture and animation were all done by Nxtbooker Adam Miller (@adamthemiller for the twitterati) and shows our headquarters during our first snow of the year last week.
In all seriousness, though, best wishes for a wonderful and safe Holiday Season!
The NxtSync webinar is today. If you’re looking to make serious money from search, don’t miss it.
… well, unless they’re Nxtbook Media.
1) They really aren’t search-engine friendly. Some digital magazines aren’t indexed at all by Google. But even those that are never get indexed as well as your website. Why? Simply put, the things that make for good SEO: short content & keyword density, are rarely found in your magazine content.
Your move: Make sure the digital magazine you choose is indexed by search engines. (Something’s better than nothing after all.) But realize your digital magazine is for your biggest fans, not those who stop by your content for a quick bite.
2) Your book might look awful. Guess what? When you run funky fonts through digital magazine machines, strange things can happen. Most of today’s popular fonts look great, but you won’t know until you try.
Your move: Get a sample done of your book before you buy. If the sample looks bad and you’re evaluating a self-service digital magazine provider, congratulations: you just got yourself a new headache.
3) You’re going to get complaints. Change anything about your magazine and readers will let you know how they feel. You’ll get people who write you e-mails thanking you for saving trees, and you’ll get some asking why you don’t just invest in your website.
Your move: Read and consider all the comments, but spend more time studying the analytics of your digital magazine to get a feel for how your audience is responding as a whole.
4) You’re going to have to learn how to sell this thing. Trying to sell a digital magazine with CPM’s is like trying to pass off McDonalds as a quality restaurant. It’s not the same. The digital magazine sale is for advertisers who want reader engagement and leads, not CPM’s. Chances are, your sales team isn’t used to selling that way.
Your move: Find your best out-of-the box salesperson and have them present digital magazine sponsorships to your best out-of-the-box advertiser. And whatever you do, don’t combine your web metrics with your digital magazine metrics.
5) Your web guy very likely won’t like it. That part about salespeople learning how to sell the digital magazine? It goes doubly for web-masters and IT-folk, often tasked with driving up web page views and living in fear of anything that will steal eyeballs.
Your move: Help them understand that web traffic ain’t digital magazine traffic. Show them that the digital magazine offers click-throughs and engagement times while the website offers gobs of page views. Apples and oranges. And then, put lots of links to the website IN the digital magazine. That will help position the digital magazine as an ally – not a threat – to the website.
So the recently released iPhone/iPod version of the Nxtbook is really a web app, not a native app available in the the App Store. While we will be releasing native apps in the future, we actually felt the web version was more important. Here’s why:
One of the most common concerns publishers have about their digital magazines (or anything else distributed via email) is the erosion of open rates. And while there are many reasons open rates decline, one of the simplest reasons people don’t click on digital magazine links in their email is the belief that the digital magazine can’t open in the device you’re reading it on. This concern gets magnified when you look at how many more people are actually reading their email on mobile devices. Thus, a version of the digital magazine that will open seamlessly when someone clicks on it integrates with a publishers’ distribution strategy, and doesn’t require development or marketing of a separate app.
But we’re not the only ones who think so. ReadWriteWeb recently covered the debate of web app. v. native app. For our money, we couldn’t agree more with Jason Grigsby:
"Philosophically, I don’t see any way that web app technology isn’t going to be bigger than distributing apps through an app store. As the demographics of users change, you’ll find people aren’t going to spend their time browsing the app store. They will go to browse the web and they aren’t going to install something unless it’s heavily promoted. Who’s going to do that? Small businesses are going to need mobile apps if they are going to be found at all."
"Like many corporate blogs, itâ€™s a mix of lightweight stories about company activities, tales of customer success, and criticisms of anyone that doesnâ€™t like their product."
All in all, I’d say that sums it up pretty well.
One of our clients (in Arlington, VA) is looking for a Production Manager and according to this ad, would like someone with experience with, "QuarkXpress, Nxtbook Media, and MS Word." If that’s you, send ‘em your resume and good luck!
Variety magazine has raised the gate, requiring visitors to pay for content access. Though as a rule we’re not fans of locked-down content, there’s a dynamite quote in the article that can be applied directly to digital magazines:
"Weâ€™re an endemic advertising vehicle and not a CPM business."
If you’re a b-to-b publisher, you should tattoo that quote on your arm or at least print it out and hang it up. Most of us run in niches and, consequently, most of us have learned who our audience is. We are NOT in a CPM business.
Neither are digital magazines. Unlike your website, digital magazines get fewer visitors but higher click-throughs. In short, they are the anti-CPM business, but the perfect business for your niche advertisers trying to reach engaged reader.
The AdSync Webinar is just one week away… To see our newest product, offering keyword website revenue opportunities, be sure to join us and learn more about AdSync. I would say space is limited, but well, it’s a webinar so it’s not. But I will say that your competitors probably haven’t bought AdSync, yet, so this is your chance to beat them to the punch!
To see it in action, be sure to join us for a special clients-only webinar on December 17th. Click here to register.
It’s been quite the week for digital magazines, with various big named publishers saying they’re working together on something big. Exactly what it is, however remains to be seen, which is why we tend to agree with Mashable writer Andrew Ostrow who wrote, "Given thereâ€™s no name, no site and no devices or software to speak of, itâ€™s far too early to judge whether or not this represents the future of publishing or simply a desperate alliance that ultimately wonâ€™t do much to keep print publications afloat."
But when your press releases are vague, writers are left to fill in the details themselves. Thus, here’s a list of Top Five Things You Need to Know About the Forthcoming Digital Magazine Consortium:
1) There’s no reason to believe that this will be a solution for trade publications. All indications are that this solution is aimed at charging for content. When you couple that with the fact that the Kindle and Nook haven’t welcomed free pubs, yet, you realize that this is about trying to sell content, not grow audience. If you’re interested in the latter, there’s nothing here to indicate a better future for you, or even a different future.
2) Even if this consortium fails, it doesn’t really matter. The group has stated as one of their goals is to "to create a robust publishing platform thatâ€™s optimized for multiple devices," but we’ve been doing this already for years. Today, a single Nxtbook link can deliver people to the PC, iPhone, Blackberry or Kindle version of your magazine. In addition, they wish to "create a selection of advertising opportunities," which we’ve included with every format we’ve designed for. Finally, the group plans to "create a digital storefront offering an â€œextensive selectionâ€ of reading options," but Nxtbook already can be offered or sold from anywhere – your website or a digital newsstand like eMagazines.com. As a minor point, we DON’T agree that you should make readers choose a format. Instead, let them choose the content and have the format adapt to the device their on. In short, you can wait for the big guys to invent this stuff, or you can get it from us today.
3) The SI Tablet is not real. It’s cool, but it’s not real. Curious point: It was made in Adobe AIR. As of today, there’s only one commercially available digital magazine product built in Adobe AIR, and that’s the offline Nxtbook.
4) Rex Hammock is right. He wrote, "But I doubt the folks sitting at the table today will get it right. They need mass audiences for their business models to work. For the next few years, weâ€™re in the era of niche and quick-response guerilla media. In other words, not these guysâ€™ forte. A long, slogging, trench war fought in content niches will likely win this war." We can taste the napalm already!
5) I don’t know if I want one eReader, but I definitely don’t want ten. It’s been interesting to see all the the forthcoming eReader devices. The reality is that most of these won’t live to see the age of two. The fact that the consortium is working on an eReader device is further proof to me that they don’t fully get what industry they’re in. Hint: it’s not hardware.