Printers Extend their Services to Digital
With print in decline, online becomes new service area.
Most printers today realize that in order to remain competitive, they must offer some type of digital distribution. â€śDigital delivery is definitely growing,â€ť says Andy Moore, product manager at Sheridan Magazine Services. â€śInteractivity is becoming a lot more interesting, and the social networkingâ€”where people can comment on the content, link to content, and share it with the publisherâ€”is where I think digital editions really shine. So our customers are asking for it, and we want to offer a full suite of services.â€ť
Sheridan offers publishers two digital opportunities. Magazine Messenger involves the push delivery of a PDF version of the magazine directly to subscribers who download special software. â€śLike most digital editions, itâ€™s a replica of the print version with active URLs, page navigation, zoom, tracking, and other features,â€ť says Moore. â€śItâ€™s a cost-effective way for publishers to distribute their digital magazines without having to worry about spam filters.â€ť
Sheridanâ€™s other digital offering is Web-based distribution through a partnership with Nxtbook Media. The subscriber accesses the digital edition by clicking on an e-mail link or logging directly onto the publisherâ€™s Web site.
It makes sense for printers to get involved in digital delivery, adds Debbie Glasscock, director of eOpportunity at Publishers Press, because of the existing customer relationshipâ€”the rapport, the trust, and the sense of partnershipâ€”and because the printer utilizes (and may expand or customize) the same files for a digital version that itâ€™s using to put in print.
Publishers Press is a shorter-run printer that caters mostly to smaller publishers that may not have the resources to create an entire online business model. â€śWe produce digital editions for about 171 different magazines, both b-to-b and consumer,â€ť says Glasscock.
But theyâ€™re really more than just digital editions. Publishers Press has created technology thatâ€™s flexible enough for publishers to use it to create a Web site around their digital magazines. When readers click on a magazine link, they find a home page, the current issue, the previous issue, and perhaps a subscription page that links back to the publisherâ€™s site.
At this point, Publishers Press only markets digital products to current print customers as an extension of services, though that could change. The products and their pricing have proven competitive in the marketplaceâ€”a one-time set-up fee and a monthly hosting feeâ€”so the printer is considering offering digital-only services to new customers.
â€śA lot of printers have partnerships with a digital provider,â€ť says Glasscock, â€śbut we believe weâ€™re one of the few printers that has brought it all in house. And weâ€™ve done that because we really want to be able to control the applications that we create. We want to help our customers build an innovative and integrated solution to complement their print magazines.â€ť