Digital Magazines – Do Printers Really Care

Written by Michael Biggerstaff

When you consider digital publications, many publishers are continuing to try and figure out where these “digital step children” fit into their overall publishing strategy.

As I have written previously, it is important for publishers to provide differences between digital and print by including additional or unique content for the digital edition. It gives a reader a reason to interact with both. With that said, this post is about relying on printers to help with digital offerings.

First, we work with some great printers that really work hard for their customers to make them successful in all aspects of what they do. These printers are usually the ones that are asking questions about how they can make their clients successful in the digital world. We love working with printers when their objectives are aligned with ours.

However, we know there is also a group of printers that offer cheap software to make print products digital. The issue is that they don’t really know how to make digital products that support a publisher’s overall strategy of strengthening their brand with strong digital offerings. They don’t always care how well the software works or how print and digital could work in concert with each other for the good of the publication.

When you look at the advent of the digital industry. The first thing many publishers did to cut costs was take away foreign subscriptions in print and make them digital. By doing this they saved printing costs, lots of dollars for postage and removed a great deal of time it takes to get to the subscriber. This provided good savings to publishers but a reduction in physical print runs wasn’t good for the printer.

The next thing that happened in the evolution of digital editions was readers opting for digital over print. This was somewhere between five to twenty percent on average and it was driven by things like “quicker receipt of a digital magazine” all the way to “digital magazines are better for the environment”. All these things took away from print runs which again didn’t always help printers.

When you consider there are a few reasons that digital editions can hurt press runs, it raises the question “who would be best served giving you advice on ways to create a better digital edition – the digital edition provider or the printer that offers low-cost digital editions as part of a print contract?”

I would put it this way. If someone asked me ways they could save money with their print products, I would send them directly to ask their printer because they are the experts. I went to college for printing. I worked in the printing industry for twenty-six years. I’m confident in saying I know printing well but even with all that knowledge I wouldn’t want to pretend to be an expert in printing.

The associated costs and how to save money when it is a printing company and I don’t work there keeps me from providing advice to a client in an industry that isn’t mine.

Counter to that, I would say that people in the printing industry don’t really understand digital like someone that lives it day in and day out. Therefore they are not going to be as effective in helping clients manage their digital needs. I’m not saying they don’t want to, I’m just saying in most instances it just really isn’t possible. You can’t be an expert in something that doesn’t have your full attention and with most printers, digital is that thing they have to do but their focus is squarely with ink on paper.

The folks at Nxtbook work hard with our customers to make them successful and give them the ability to meet their objectives in the digital world. We have ideas on how to increase digital circulation. We can show you how to make digital editions a revenue stream. But it’s not just saving money. We can also provide other options to make digital editions more dynamic with something like personalization to create a unique reading experience. You can let the reader select what subjects they are interested in and connect specific advertising to that subject matter. You can also simply sell digital editions with single sponsorships to your best advertisers.

We have a lot of ideas on ways to make digital publications better. Please reach out to someone at Nxtbook and let us show you ways that we can help you. We are here to help you be more effective and reach your digital publishing goals.

Remember, when you have printing questions go to your printer. If you have digital questions come to us.