Many of the brightest and best publishers have beautiful digital editions of their magazines, but with one fatal flaw: they are exclusive to iPads.
We see this mistake being made time and time again, both with long-established editions, and fresher publications. Excuses from editorial teams are wide-ranging, but all follow a similar theme: that cross-platform publishing is too difficult and simply isn’t in demand.
Here are ten reasons why these excuses need to be seriously evaluated.
1 – Android’s market share is now a whopping 85%
The statistics for Android can no longer be ignored. It now holds 61.9% of the tablet market (compared to Apple’s 36%) and 84.7% of the mobile market, leaving Apple trailing behind at just 11.7%. If your digital publication is only available on an iPad, it doesn’t matter how impressive its features are; it is inaccessible to millions of potential readers.
2 – Compatibility is King
Managing people’s expectations isn’t easy, and your audience will never applaud you for offering a compatible app. They will, however, kick up a fuss if the app isn’t available on their device. We’ve seen major publishing organisations thrown into chaos by choosing to offer an iOS-only app to its diverse readership – don’t make the same mistake!
3 – Apple is not immortal
Android…Windows…Apple…in ten years time, these names could well mean nothing to the next generation. Technology evolves at such a fast pace that it would be foolish to stake claims on the immortality of any of these companies, but in the wake of ‘bendgate’ and being the last to the big-screen party, Apple has a lot to be worried about. Investing heavily in flashy iPad-only editions leads me neatly on to the next point, that…
4 – iPad-exclusive solutions aren’t futureproof
‘Futureproofing’ is one of the publishing industry’s big buzzwords at the moment. Publishers are constantly talking about how to futureproof their print and digital strategies; from flashy apps to responsive websites, investing in workflows and solutions that will still be workable in five years involves making careful decisions.
Spending vast quantities of time and money on a sleek iPad-only edition is not futureproof. If the above reasons have failed to convince you of that, then look at it this way. If you can create a responsive magazine that can be read across the vast array of Android devices out there, your content is futureproof. Android may not be around forever, but the rules that dictate how that content behaves across different screen sizes and platforms will remain.
5 – Multi-platform publishing is increasingly more accessible
Apple may have had a head start by developing a set of tools that made it easy to publish expensive-looking publications, but everyone else has now caught up. There are now plenty of products, companies and developers out there who can help you work for multiple platforms. Don’t fancy doing it yourself? That’s why people like us exist – to help you out when you don’t have the in-house expertise.
6 – Android/compatible design no longer has to be expensive
We work with clients who hand over publications in excess of 100 pages, and we can get them live in the app in a day or two (fully styled, cross-platform and mobile responsive). You don’t have to spend weeks perfecting issues any more – the tools are there to make your digital workflow more efficient without sacrificing compatibility.
7 – PDF replicas are a crime against humanity
…So said Jon Marks, co-founder of HTML app builders Pugpig, and we agree. Yes, they are cheap and get your content out in the big wide digital world, but there are huge pitfalls. We’re willing to bet that a large proportion of the traffic to those PDF replicas are on mobile phones, and that is indisputably an awful reading experience. Not to mention all the missed opportunities to engage your readers through exciting digital features.
8 – Control over in-app purchases
Yes, you heard correctly. Publishing your content to multiple platforms (including Google Play, Amazon and Windows) means you get to keep the money you charge. No more trying to skirt around the issue of Apple skimming off the top 30% of your asking price. Making money in the digital publishing world is tough enough without having to split your profits.
9 – Reach a wider demographic
Smartphones and tablets are only going to increase in popularity, and this means that there are huge numbers of people connected to the digital world. Many of these are outside Apple’s narrow target demographic as they simply can’t afford the premium-priced tech. Students, families and young professionals alike will all be tempted by the cheaper Android options, and with such a wide range on offer, it is easy to see how the platform has come to dominate the market.
10 – Apps aren’t the only answer
Many of these have been app-focused, but for some publishers, this isn’t the best route. We have clients who prefer a webviewer version of their publications, which works on the same principles as the responsive HTML apps, but is accessed online rather than through a download. The carefully-styled content can be viewed easily from a mobile phone, desktop or tablet, whatever platform that device is on.
There is no doubt that publishing to Android and other platforms is trickier than producing content through Apple’s systems, but it is worth it for compatible, futureproof content. Embrace the challenges – once they’ve been conquered, the only limit is your imagination.
Want to know more? Contact us to talk about your publication, or simply for advice about cross-platform publishing.