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Don’t use software for digital publishing

image-searchBuying software for digital publishing is like recording your precious memories on a beta video tape. People can view it now, but what about when the next operating system or browser update comes out?  Here are four great reasons to consider a digital publishing service instead of buying software.

#1 Your digital publication is locked in time, bugs and all.

Using software creates a your digital magazine as a bunch of static files which locks your digital editions into both the features and bugs of the digital magazine software at that time. There is no way for you to easily update all of your digital publications your pdf to HTML5 software created if a browser update does not render your publication.

A good digital edition service provider will offer a core viewing engine that is constantly updated with not only support for new browser versions, but bug fixes and new features as well, ensuring your digital editions are always viewable and up-to-date.

#2 There is no hosting with software

You may think that this is no problem, as you have your own server or shared server, but typically a good digital publishing service provider will offer far more than just a place to put your digital publication online.

First and foremost is a service level agreement which means that they guarantee your publications will be online and available 99.999% of the time. Secondly that your publications are backed up regularly and there is some redundancy built into the delivery solution to minimize the risk of loss or downtime.

Finally, most providers would use a Content Distribution Network (CDN) which means your publications are cached around the world so that no matter where your readers are, the will be getting the publication from a server near them, not from your own server. Using a CDN would have more bandwidth than your local server, so your digital magazine or digital newspaper will get delivered faster.

#3 Flipbook software means unorganized files and no search.

Your static files created with the digital publishing software package are disparate and are not related to each other in any way. In other words, you will need to organise them yourself on your own server and provide links somehow to back issues or other related publications. This also presents the problem of searching – if your software offers a search mechanism at all. Searching across back issues will be almost impossible, if not, it’s likely something you will have to implement yourself.

A digital publishing service should definitely offer searching with on page hit-highlighting  in a single issue, or across your entire digital library of publications.

#4 The purchase price is just the start of the real costs.

You may think that the purchase price is the only cost of your digital publishing venture, but there are hidden costs that you should consider if you are comparing software to using a service:

  • Software will require you to pre-process your PDF files – this often means manually removing crop marks, reducing the size and quality, splitting, rotating and generally getting the files ready to run through the software input requirements. With a good digital publishing service, all of this pre-processing is done for you – simply upload your print ready PDF’s.
  • You or one of your staff will need to prepare the PDF files, convert them, arrange and upload them, add hyperlinks manually, and make them ready for viewing. Software as a service automates this for you.
  • In addition to the costs of hosting, bandwidth, backup and CDN – consider the cost if you have to re-process all of your publications, or constantly upgrade your software.

Perhaps the biggest cost of all is the lack of usability or features for your readers or their inability to read your content on all of their devices. A digital publishing platform as a service is far more likely to support a wider range of devices, and continue to expand on the number of devices the service is compatible with, as new devices are released.

Buying software for your digital newspaper or online magazine may seem like a better option than using a service, but make sure you consider all of the options before spending your money on software that is out of date as soon as you have downloaded it!