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Digital is Becoming the Preferred Magazine Format…Sooner Than We Thought

According to the 2013 Mequoda Tablet Study, very soon consumers will prefer digital magazines over print magazines. The study posits that in 2013, 55% of internet users own or have access to a tablet and that if growth continues at the same rapid pace, market penetration will be at 85% by 2020. This might very well be true.

There are numerous studies published at any given time that give statistics for myriad categories having to do with the digital publishing industry, and if you look hard enough there will surely be a study or survey with numbers to match the result you are looking for. This is true for every industry.

We do know that digital publications have many benefits and value-added items that are unavailable in a static medium like print. It is the nature of the technology that the digital experience is an inherently interactive one, and as the industry matures and people become more used to digital technology, the feel of paper will become less and less important for a positive reading experience.

The 2013 Mequoda Tablet Study explains that Digital magazines are better than print in at least seven ways, and we agree:

• Timely – When the issue is released, it can be viewed and downloaded instantly. For news-based magazines especially, this is crucial. It’s even important for those who look forward to reading the latest celebrity gossip as it hits the newsstands.
• Portable – When given the choice to bring seven magazines on a 12-hour flight, or an iPad mini, which takes up the least amount of space?
• Collectible – Just as tablet users collect apps, they can collect magazines. Magazine apps are increasingly allowing subscribers to clip and save certain articles of the magazine too, which makes it even easier to replace print. And again, apps take up a lot less space than print magazines!
• Searchable – Usability of print magazines has never been optimal. Sometimes it’s hard even find the index amongst a plethora of ads. Searchable (and tap-able) magazines reduce the barrier to engagement.
• Shareable – App publishers are getting savvy about allowing subscribers to share content. In a social media driven world, customers want to share everything with everyone, a feature of print that simply doesn’t exist naturally.
• Video enhanced – Thirty years ago, science fiction films predicted that we’d be watching video news clips in our print magazines. That was just silly. Digital magazines with video tutorials, interviews, and even video advertisements make much more sense!
• Audio enhanced – Along the same lines, subscribers enjoy listening to sound clips, interviews and advertorials, something not even possible in the print medium.

The importance of having a digital publishing app that is compelling and offers a complete reading experience cannot be emphasized enough. Once tablet users actually see and engage with a well-designed digital publication, they’re more likely to subscribe. Ask us about it.

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