Digital edition

A digital edition is an online magazine or online newspaper delivered in electronic form which is formatted identically to the print version. Digital editions are often called digital facsimiles to underline the likeness to the print version. Digital editions have the benefit of reduced cost to the publisher and reader by avoiding the time and expense to print and deliver like a paper edition.[1] This format is considered more environmentally friendly due to the reduction of paper and energy use. These editions also often feature interactive elements such as hyperlinks both within the publication itself and to other internet resources, searching and bookmarking, and can also incorporate multimedia such as video or animation to enhance articles themselves or for advertisements. Some delivery methods also include animation and sound effects replicating page turning to further enhance the experience of their print counterparts.Traditionally, magazine publishers have relied on two revenue sources: selling ads and selling magazines.[2] Additionally some publishers are using other electronic publication methods such as RSS to reach out to readers and inform them when new digital editions are available.[3]

Current technologies are generally either reader-based, requiring download of an application and subsequent download of each edition, or browser-based, requiring no application download (such as Adobe Acrobat[4]) and is often Flash-based. Mygazines and Nxtbook Media are among the main technology providers of web-based digital editions. Some application-based readers allow readers to access editions while not connected to the internet. Dedicated hardware such as the Amazon Kindle and the iPad is also available for reading digital editions of select books, popular national magazines such as Relevant, TIME, Atlantic Monthly, and Forbes and popular national newspapers such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. Other E-book manufacturers that deliver digital editions include Plastic Logic and Sony.

Archives of print newspapers, in some cases going back hundreds of years, are being digitized and made available online. Google is indexing existing digital archives produced by the newspapers themselves or by 3rd parties.[5]

Newspaper and magazine archival is not new with microform film formats solving the problem of efficiently storing and preserving though the format lacked accessibility. Many libraries, especially state libraries in the United States are archiving their collections digitally and converting existing microfilm to digital format. The Library of Congress provides project planning assistance[6] and the National Endowment for the Humanities provides funding through grants from its National Digital Newspaper Program.[7]

Digital magazines, ezines, e-editions and emags are sometimes referred to as digital editions but some of these formats are published only in digital format unlike digital editions which replicate a printed edition as well.


Digital magazines

Digital-replica magazines number in the thousands—consumer and business publications, and house magazines for associations, institutions and corporations – and adoption was still increasing as of 2009.

A 2008 report funded by digital-replica technology providers and auditing agencies counted 1,786 digital-replica editions having more than 7 million circulation among business-to-business publications, of which 230 editions were audited [8] The same report counted 1,470 digital-replica editions of consumer magazines having 5.5 million digital circulation, of which 240 editions were audited. These authors estimated that by yearend 2009 there would be 8,000 digital magazines, having a combined distribution of more than 30 million people

Surveys have shown that, while not all subscribers prefer a digital edition, some do because of the environmental benefit, also because digital magazines are searchable and may easily be passed along or linked to. One such survey funded by a digital publisher reported on inputs from more than 30,000 subscribers to business, consumer and other digital magazines.[9]

Digital magazine business models

Reduced printing and distribution costs

The ability for publishers to save by moving some or all subscribers from print to digital is widely accepted. Oracle magazine, which has 176,000 of its 516,000 subscribers receiving digital according to its June 2009 BPA circulation statement, is said to be the most widely circulated digital edition of a business-to-business publication. Publishers who do this need to choose whether to make some issues all-digital, move some subscribers to digital edition, add some digital-only subscribers, or send all subscribers the digital edition

In 2009, a major consumer magazine, PC magazine, went all-digital, charging an annual subscription fee for its digital-replica edition [10]

Many consumer magazines and newspapers are already available in eReader formats sold through booksellers.

Sponsorship and advertising revenue

Digital editions often carry special “front cover” advertising, or advertising on the email message alerting the subscriber to the digital edition. Publishers also produce special digital-only inserts and rich-media ads or advertorials.[citation needed]

Designed-for-digital issues

Another approach is to replace entire printed issues with digital ones, or to use digital editions for extra issues that would otherwise have to be printed.[citation needed]

See also


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