Reading Magazines Online

Yesterday I shared about a magazine that had a special green issue.  That is code word for no printing and mailing (hence saving a huge percentage of their costs).  The issue is to be read online.  Here are my thoughts — as a magazine publisher — about that.

First, I noticed that it was a 31-page issue.  The nature of magazine publishing is that you have to have an even number of pages, and if the magazine is stapled (which most are), you must have a multiple of four.  So a 31-page issue seemed a bit odd, but is perfectly acceptable, since it was never intended to be printed.

The other odd thing is that the publication only contained one advertisement (not counting all of their own internal promotions).  The lone ad was for the issue’s sole sponsor, whose name was prominently displayed before one could begin reading the magazine.  I guess that this means there is not much interest in advertiser support for an e-publication.  Apparently, advertisers don’t think people will actually read the online magazine.

Speaking of reading it — I didn’t.  I paged through it out of curiosity — and read part of one article that captured my attention.  The frustration is that once I enlarged the page enough to read it, I was then required to do too much scrolling and panning to continue my perusal of it — so I bailed.

If publishers are going to make online only publications, they need to reformat the layout to be conducive to a computer screen, not counter to it.  That is what I did when I launched the all-digital TAS Trader.  It is laid out in landscape mode, working quite nicely on a computer screen, but also availing itself to those who want to print it.

When their next green issue comes out, I will again check it out — not to read it, but to see what they might have changed.

What do you think? Please leave a comment!