What is the future of digital print

I have just got off the phone with a company called PageSuite who first made contact about 6 months ago. I must admit I did find the software very cool and thought it would be useful, however since there first contact and today, my perspective has changed and after random conversations with people i believe that this is just a nice thing but does not offer any real value to the user. (please provide me with some practical benefits if you believe it can)

My view is that you either like reading on screen or you don’t, if you don’t then this is pointless but nice to look at for a short time.

If you do like to read on screen or and encouraged by the concept of a digital edition, would you think a pdf version which turned a page – digital?

Now i do like the idea, as it looks pretty cool, but i am not fooled by the product.  I just can’t see the value, when surely the digital edition of the publication is the website, this would have all the interactive and video content embedded as well as any user generated contributions/comments etc which gave the digital edition a social aspect which a printed document can not offer.  This product only gives you a pdf which has some extras in it. or am i missing the trick here?

The conversation then went a bit weird as i stated that i didn’t believe that this would be relevant in a few years time due to the speed and take up of social media tools and web 2.0 techniques to communicate and deliver content to people. At this point the lady who i was talking to accused me of arguing with her, which surprised me completely  – she said she thought i was wrong and that this would be widely adopted and become a standard for the future, at which point i asked for a case study so i could look into it further.

Alas, no case study was available and i did ask for further information and have just looked at their website, but i just can’t see this working when mash-ups and social media has and will transform this landscape so much over the next few years.  As well as adobe/macromedia themselves perhaps offering something which just blows this out of the water anyway.

I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who has used this product and what experiences they have had and whether or not i am wrong about this product. Perhaps my view is just too focused on the opportunities and innovations that social media and web 2.0 are providing, to think this will really work and add value.

This whole situation has got me thinking about “what is the future of digital print and publications?”


4 thoughts on “What is the future of digital print

  1. Hi Carl

    It is very dependant in my humble opinion, firstly on the propogation of epaper products (and non proprietary ones at that). The way we interact with screen based media is one of skimming, and browsing. So digital print in the form of vast amounts of text is not suited for the LCD screen, yet it is well suited for products such as the kindle.

    That said however in terms of “branded” media sources I believe we will see these open up further as the choices available to us become more diverse with publications becoming a personalised resource. We will each have media we wish to share and propogate, and stories we wish to follow. The “publication” in terms of a single media centre will die as it’s edges become blurred, service providers who provide us the means to share, publish and aggregate will thrive.

    Publications and information will be ours to hack, edit and redistribute as we please, we will be able to go into as much depth or as little as we wish.

    Centralised distribution systems will perish. I think your right in your assessment of this tool. It is essentially taking a magazine and putting it on line. Using neither media effectively – A magazine is tactile and tangible, using it is an experience. Using an online magazine, you get content without control, which only serves to frustrate.

  2. I totally agree with what you say and am reassured that my assessment wasn’t wrong.

    I believe like you outline that personal choice and a decision to take as much or as little as we want is only going to increase the tools associated with the social media “movement” and “web 2.0” tools available to anyone nowadays.

    Thank you for your comments and thoughts

  3. Hi Carl,

    Marcus from Nxtbook Media here. Sorry your interaction with PageSuite was negative, as I think you’re asking a ton of great questions. Here are a few things we’ve learned from creating digital magazines for several years:

    1) “My view is that you either like reading on screen or you don’t.” You’re absolutely right. This solution works for a portion of your audience. Currently, our products are ready by more than one million readers every month. Our average magazine client will have about 15-20% digital magazine readers v. print.

    2) The “value” which exists. Among those users who prefer a digital magazine to web content, the publishers have much longer engagement periods and higher click-through rates than what they see on their websites. This is because a visitor to a website is usually seeking specific content, whereas a visitor to a digital magazine is usually seeking a brand experience and will read more than 20 pages of the publication. Thus, the value is for advertisers seeking engagement and click-through, but not necessarily exposure as you will have fewer visitor than on your website. The readers I mentioned in #1 not only read more than 20 pages, but stay inside the publications for an average of more than six minutes – both of which are superior to most of the websites maintained by our publishers.

    3) PDF v. Digital Magazine – The answer to this lies in your valid points about social media. Good digital magazine solutions (and we argue we offer one) allow users to easily save and share content. If you go to this link: http://boardreader.com/linkinfo/nxtbook.com , you’ll see examples of people submitting digital magazine content to internet forums for discussion. This doesn’t happen with PDFs, as they don’t offer the same layer of functionality.

    In the end, this is a product which solves specific issues for certain publishers and satisfies a healthy portion of their readers. However, a lot of the success is determined by the strategy and commitment of the publishers. Without that, it’s about as successful as other new technology solutions.

    We’ve got numerous case studies on the Publisher Resources section of our website that are more in-depth than what I’ve provided here. Hope it’s helpful.



  4. Thank you for coming here and providing a personal response. I do appreciate it.

    Whilst i accept that there may well be a market for this and i did not say there wasn’t. However the issue for me is Local Government don’t have the same kind of “brand” experience that your successful clients might have.

    People interact with councils in many different ways and most of the time, they want something quick and easy. I don’t think we have the audience for this kind of tool and my view is that i want people to access and interact with the council and our services in ways which meet their lifestyle and demands. Mash-ups and social media is the way the internet is going and whilst your tool maybe great in some toolboxes. It, in my opinion will not fit in ours for the time being.

    Thank you again for coming here and answering some of my questions.


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