30 Nov

Posted by Roger Martin

We are on the verge of something of a digital publishing revolution with the advent of the iPad and the cheaper Android tablet’s entering the market and creating a new channel for publishers and savvy direct marketers.

It’s possible that the way a fair segment of people view publications could be about to undergo a paradigm shift from paper to tablet. It won’t be immediate, but fact that Rupert Murdoch is backing it heavily with the paywall initiative, and with the number of quality publications announcing plans to leverage the channel there is no doubt that this is going to be a growth sector through 2011.

From our perspective, and owning the Page Flip brand, we look at these shifts with great interest. We recently completed a publishing app for the iPad and iPhone for a major US client and realised just how effective a medium it is. The app is very buisnesslike and aimed at a specific audience, but the feedback has been very good with the app being listed in the new and noteworthy sections and consistently sitting in the top 50 B2B downloads section of the Apple app store.

Watching the way that some of the bigger publishing brands were beginning to enter the market we had a chat with our friends at The Charitarian, who produce a quarterly magazine focussing on Corporate Social Responsibility in China, which we create as a page turn version, and asked them if they would be interested in getting their magazine onto an app. Of course they would! And this gave us the platform to begin our publishing tool. The Charitarian is a publication with global reach and carries strong messaging with the approval of the Chinese Government so it is the perfect test bed for our moble publishing platform. All of the beta testing is complete and submission is imminent.

The Charitarian app will be live and ready to download real soon and we will be running a press release to inform the world about it. It has a bookshelf which shows the latest edition at the top and previous editions follow it. You can search the document, view it in different aspects, landscape as spreads portrait as single pages, and the pagination is controlled by a slick swipe movement on the screen. There is a pinch zoom function and a tap to reveal other controls such as socail media integration.

We anticipate that our mobile publishing application will be available to publishers for a lot less than the other market offerings, and we are working on the Android verison now, as well as extra features such as video and other multi media incorporation, hyperlinks, push notifications and subscription payments. The goal is to create a ‘wrapper’ for publishers that has a series of consistent controls so that users feel at ease using the app. They can then ‘scope’ extra functionality which can be added at the publication level to maximise reader engagement. Our goal is to create a platform that is versatile and innovative, allowing marketers and publishers to push the boundaries and innovate.

So all in all it looks like the publishing world is in for an exciting 2011 as we see uptake of tablet and ebook readers increase, particulalrly after the Xmas season. Publishers that can use their imagination to design and scope innovative functions within applications will extend the functionality of their publications, and if they focus on usability and reader engagement they will be the winners.

We believe the key is to create a highly usable interface that allows readers to go further than they can with a straightforward publication through the incorporation of mini apps, games, rich media, social media integration and useful marketing functionality such as nearest location for an advertiser, push notifications for new issues and a bookshelf that gives readers the choice as to which issues they want to see in their app.

Our experience in the online page turn market over the last five years has taught us that this is a technology that when applied properly really works. Our Magento developers are also looking at creating online catalogues that will integrate directly to a Magento store via a shopping list to make direct catalogue marketing replicate on the mobile platform.

So its all very exciting, if you want to chat with us about it, give us a call. We are getting new learning every day, and our foremost goal is to create a valid marketing platform for publishers and direct marketers to get the most out of this channel.

Roll on 2011 and the digital publishing revolution.

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