In 2008 Paperlit entered the digital publishing market with a simple and cost efficient solution to publish a pdf on iPhone and iPad, adding multi-media content via an easy to use web based back office. We were very successful with this solution winning hundreds of customers in the USA and Europe.
We then added several features to the Paperlit platform such as the integration of RSS, XML and html5 feeds with an Internet oriented approach. We called this mixture of a premium pdf and free web oriented content, "hybrid app". Again this solution was easy for the publisher to manage and was extremely cost efficient in terms of set up and monthly costs.
When the other mobile operating systems came to life, such as Android, Windows 8, Kindle Fire and Blackberry 10, we quickly offered our publishing partners a solution for these as well. And our customers were extremely happy to always be on the cutting edge of mobile technology without having the headache of internal technological developments.
In summary, from 2008 to 2013 we have continuously improved our platform to make our publishers’ life easier in their transition from the print to the digital business. This approach has allowed us to build and run 1,000 apps from publishers all over the world.
Present status of digital interactive magazines
In the past year, there has been more and more talk about interactive magazines, something we looked at in 2008 and decided to wait and see.
The problem, in our opinion, with interactive publishing at the time was that the market was too small to justify investments and resources on something so complex. At present, for example, an interactive magazine is costing publishers €100 per page in terms of production and on top of this, there are software license and service fees to pay. Simply put, only a handful of big projects with large target markets are profitable. For the majority of publishers playing with interactive editions the path to profitability is far, far away!
Many of our publishing partners agreed with us keeping the running costs as light as possible using the PDF approach with digital replica, while some decided that interactive publishing was necessary for several reasons such as exploiting the technology or to satisfy advanced users or early adopters.
We try not to get to opinionated about editorial strategies but to offer to our publishing partners all the tools they need to carry out digital publishing on a 360 degree scale. For this reason, in January, we decided to integrate into our platform a solution that would allow publishers to create interactive magazines.
We decided, however, not to build a proprietary plug-in but in the same spirit as accepting a pdf or RSS feed, we would directly accept the files a publisher created in InDesign for the interactive issue. Such files are called .folio. This is the best answer for our publishers since we are not forcing them to change the tools they use to create their magazines.
They can keep on using their beloved Adobe InDesign CSS 5.5. or CSS 6.0 and combine this with our beloved Paperlit platform to distribute their interactive branded apps on IOS, Android, Kindle Fire or Windows 8!
Why then Paperlit Interactive? The 70-30 rule.
One more small digression before I discuss how we have developed our interactive feature and the pricing.
Almost all publishers are looking at the digital replica or interactive solution as black or white.
In part, this is because the technology suppliers are divided into 2 categories, digital replica or interactive.
The result here is that all the interactive magazines that I have seen are extremely heavy in terms of file size and extremely costly in terms of human resources/production. Magazines such as Wired or GQ in USA may in fact be able to sustain such costs and turn this into a ROI exercise but for smaller publishers, interactive means marketing investment in positioning for the long term with a big price tag to pay short term.
We at Paperlit believe that there is a great business opportunity in the future for interactive magazine publishing and we have developed a technical and business solution for such a scenario.
First of all, with the Paperlit interactive solution, a publisher can add an interactive edition to the pdf replica, where he/she can have both magazines in the same app. This upgrade has a negligible cost for our customers.
This will allow for lighter more manageable files for the consumer, lower monthly human resource costs (especially if the publisher creates .folio templates) and the licensing remains the same as we do not charge any extra license costs for the addition of an interactive magazine in .folio format.
Historically we have been the keep it simple solution for the complex challenges in the digital publishing industry. With our Interactive product line, we have kept true to that philosophy and we hope this lets you manage both simple and complex digital publishing products.
For customers interested in trying out our interactive product, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org and send us a .folio file.
We can then show you how easy it is to create an interactive version on iOS, Android and Windows 8 with the same file.
Some samples of a .folio file in your app. You can add interactive contents as videos, animated windows, scrolling text...