Friday, January 21, 2011

The Tangled Web of e-Publishing

For the last month I have been searching and asking questions about the new world of e-publishing.  What I have found is an intricate web of leads, but no one all-inclusive source.  This is such new territory, I had to spend 20 minutes trying to describe what I needed in the way of an intern to the publishing department at a local university before the light went on.  The response - it's such a new field they didn't know if they had a student ready. I am always surprised at the lack of interest shown by other magazine editors when it comes to this exciting opportunity. I love holding a print copy in my hands, too.  BUT this is a new market that cannot be ignored.  Any magazine not bothering to have a look at how it will affect their publication will surely be left behind.

At a New Year's Eve party this year, one of the women admitted to being an iPad enthusiast.  She never bought any print magazines now, just downloaded e-versions to her iPad where they were always at her fingertips.  I think reading magazines on tablet computers is the wave of the future - reducing the number of trees cut down to create paper, saving on printing and mailing costs and helping publishers reach an international audience.  One of the magazines I think that has dealt with the new opportunity the best is Schon Magazine.  They offer a free on-line version, a download-able PDF and downloads for iPhone and iPad (although I couldn't seem to make these links work so don't have the cost).















Finding the expertise and information necessary to publish and sell an e-mag is not easy.  File size is normally extremely large for any decent sized fashion magazine and I am still looking for expertise in this area.  It's not just about looking at the photographs, The digital version must be of a resolution high enough to produce clear, read-able text when the viewer zooms in.  The publication must be made available in several different formats.  E-book readers such as Kobo only handle text, so publications with colour photography (fashion magazines and art books in particular) are more limited in the devices they can be downloaded to.  E-mags also offer many benefits that the print edition doesn't.  If you have the know-how, you can embed links to the websites listed in articles and ads, place commercial videos in ads, encrypt to help limit unauthorized copying and more. There are several new companies that have sprung up to deal with this industry, but they are pricey.  One I liked in particular charges $350 per page as a starting costs and it goes up from there.  Each additional format (such as for iPad) is an additional charge.

Once you have your e-mag created, the next elusive step is how to get listed in an electronic market such as Amazon, the iTunes stores, Barnes and Noble, etc.  Most openly list the information on how to publish a book using their services, but it is extremely hard locate any information on the steps to get an e-mag listed in their catalogue. I have looked at a few low-cost markets that you can start at, but the numbers reached through a mainstream source would definitely be a lot higher.

Hopefully I will find an answer all my questions and can move ahead with e-publication of the Vancouver Fashion eZine print collectibles issues. The goal for the magazine is to provide access to our international readers in particular.  Weighing in at one kilogram, that first issue in particular, was just too heavy for regular mail.  Wish me luck!

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