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Whitepaper: Seven Things You Should Know about E-Publishing

Find out about the benefits and challenges of implementing an e-publishing solution. This is a whitepaper from zmags.

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Seven Things You Should Know about E-Publishing

Ever since Johan Gutenberg invented the printing press, mass distribution of the written word has been used to inform, educate, entertain, and enlighten the world. Publishing on printed materials has worked well for centuries, but the advent of technology, and particularly of the internet, has added a new dimension to the ways people communicate. E-publishing is the new online equivalent of the printed copy, and the e-publishing industry is growing faster than you can flip a page.

The development of any emerging technology leads inevitably to questions. This whitepaper will introduce the concept of e-publishing and will discuss a number of key benefits and important points to remember as you consider using this new medium to reach your audience.

Learn about:

1.E-publishing is cost effective and borderless, but can't completely replace the printed copy.

2.Online versions extend reader loyalty.

3.Presenting digital issues extends your reader scope.

4.E-publishing allows you to connect your online catalogs

to your online shop-simply and cost effectively.

5.Learn what catches your readers' attention.

6.E-publishing can deliver short ROIs.

7.If content is king, then easy-to-use is queen.

1. E-publishing is cost effective and borderless, but can't completely replace the printed copy.

Transitioning from print to e-publishing is not an either/or proposition. Rather, it is a way to combine the best of both the offline and online worlds. The strength of online media is in its potentially free and borderless distribution, and the way in which it can enhance the relevancy of the materials through links to other information. However, no screen in the world can replace the feeling one gets when sitting comfortably in an armchair enjoying the Sunday newspaper.

E-publishing and online issues of documents such as magazines and catalogs are not intended to replace the printed copy. Rather, e-publishing is designed to supplement the printed versions. The invention of the internet did not mean that the bookshelf has gone out of fashion.

E-publishing does not change the workflow required to create a catalog or magazine; nor does it require new production routines or any significant changes across an organization. Setting up digital versions of your printed materials begins with the ready-to-print PDF.

A marketer or web editor simply converts the PDF into a user-friendly, online issue via a digital publishing service, such as Zmags Publicator. In less than 10 minutes, the reader can be presented with a live publication that uses a page-turning effect and interactive content, rather than a static PDF.

The online version can be distributed to your readers easily through a link on your website or via e-mail.

Whether you are a magazine publisher, are developing an annual report, or are assembling the elements of your company's product catalog, your target audience has different preferences when it comes to the media they rely upon. While some readers prefer searching for a product via the web, others are more comfortable reading a hard copy of a catalog.

The right e-publishing solution easily serves the tech-savvy without compromising the printed version.

2. Online versions extend reader loyalty.

With up to 35,000 pages converted from PDF files every day, Zmags has been able to document a significant number of overall e-publishing statistics, and we have learned that e-publishing is a powerful way to keep your readers' interest and build loyalty.

First Zmags statistics demonstrate that with online issues, overall bounce-rates are as low as 18 percent. This means that more than four out of five readers proceed to page 2 once they have opened a page-turning magazine.

Most websites struggle to keep bounce rates below 40 percent, but the low bounce rates attributed to online publications demonstrate that readers of online issues:


  • get what they are looking for.
  • find the page-turning document easy to use and explore.
  • are not impacted heavy load times or the requirement to install plugins common on some websites.
  • want to learn more once they open the page turning magazine.


Reader loyalty is demonstrated by weekly peak-rates. Among Zmags' most visited customers are Scandinavian retailers that publish weekly flyers. These flyers have a short life-cycle (most often one week) and readers know this.

The peak hours occur just after the launch of the actual issue, which highlights the special offers that will be available in the next week.

Besides, the overall number of visitors steadily increases over time without sudden changes in traffic. All factors indicate that loyal visitors get back to the page-turning issue.

3. Presenting digital issues extends your reader scope.

E-publishing gives you some clear advantages when it comes to extending reader scope. Unlike printed issues, where distribution is limited to a physical network, e-publishing can make your readership grow without any effort. Good e-publishing solutions are optimized for search engines, and by publishing online you literally place "clues" on the Internet. These clues come from the content of your publication, and can attract anyone searching for particular content that can be found in your digital issue.

Across publication type and publishing frequency, five percent of all Zmags' readers originate from a search engine.

Besides being search engine friendly, a good e-publishing platform supports readers' efforts to further distribute content through word-of-mouth techniques. Tell-a-friend, crop-image-and-send, or shopping list functionality makes the content of your publication more accessible and allows your readers to distribute content or links to content via e-mail or text message. Leveraging these viral marketing mechanisms ultimately extends reader scope-without additional costs for the publisher.

4. E-publishing allows you to connect your online catalogs to your online shop- simply and cost effectively.

Publishing a document such as a product catalog online provides a lot of new opportunities in addition to offering user-friendly access. A catalog may contain a printed product code on each item; in the online version, this product code fully maps to an online shop. This capability can be set up through a fully automated process and the outcome is an online catalog that includes teasing links above each product code. Clicking on one of those links directs the reader to the selected item in a web shop.

Statistics from an online auction catalog show click rates as high as 49 percent. On average, every second reader ended up on a product page on the auctioneer's website from where bidding is possible. These are very interested visitors who count as another revenue source generating extra bids in the online auctions and, ultimately, generating extra revenue for the company.

When selling goods online, the path from inspiration to checkout should be kept as short as possible. A tight and simple set up connection from a catalog to an online shop paves these paths.

5. Learn what catches your readers' attention.

One downside of print publications is that the communication is just one way. Distributing flyers, magazines or brochures does not confirm that readers actually pay attention to, or understand, your message. The only way to measure performance is through circulation figures, which do not provide any feedback about the content of your publication.

E-publishing allows you to track your readers' behavior down to their very last mouse-click. Captured data from all visits provides you with advanced reader analysis. You can use this analysis to identify popular or weak spots in your publication easily, giving you the opportunity to use the documented information in a proactive way to enhance your future publications to meet your readers' interests and needs.

Existing e-publishers benefit from the analysis in various ways. Some retailers use statistical data to get a live indication of which products in their catalogs are the most popular. Through advanced product placement these items can be placed in the corners of the stores so that customers will select other goods to purchase while they're looking for the item they originally came in to buy.

Magazine publishers use the data to prove click-rates to advertisers.

Each advertiser gets a copy of the analysis to verify how many readers clicked on each advertisement. For magazine publishers, digital statistics count in the official circulation figures, so fully documented reader statistics can actually help increase the value of advertising space and ultimately generate more revenue.

6. E-publishing can deliver short ROIs.

Printing and distributing publications in the traditional manner can be expensive, and given increased fuel prices and the growing cost for raw material, there are no signs that production costs will decline.

E-publishing is nearly free to produce and distribute. Analysis of the mail-order industry shows that costs can be lowered as much as 95 percent by publishing online. By having as little as 5 percent of your circulation replaced with online issues, you can save enough to obtain ROI on your very first publication. Of course, this calculation depends on your industry and the type of e-publishing solution you choose, but if you use e-publishing in a proactive way, you can save print and distribution costs as you extend reader scope.

E-publishing has even led to new income sources, particularly for magazine publishers. Through enriched advertisements in the magazine, which may include animations or small product presentation movies, advertisers can gain increased attention and can then offer links to a specified website. These enriched advertisements provide extra value for advertisers, and in best cases, the price of a single advertisement can cover a publisher's expense for the entire digital issue.

7.  If content is king, easy-to-use is queen

Publishers, search engine marketers and media consultants have shouted "content is king" in unison since the turn to digital media. The message can't be neglected: your content is most important when spreading the word via online media. But the quality of the content doesn't matter if your core target audience cannot get access to your publication.

Digital media fails when it comes to direct access for a traditional end-user, whose most qualified IT consultant is the neighbor's teenage son. Easy to use technology is a must have when implementing an e-publishing solution. To ensure ease of use, you must avoid solutions that require client plugins or high download times, use unstructured controls and non-intuitive navigation, or may cause issues with browser incompatibility.

Ease-of-use can be very subjective, but selecting an e-publishing provider that does not fall into the pitfalls listed above will provide acceptable accessibility for your readers. In the end you will get the real litmus test when you place your first publication online: If your readers complain, the ease-of-use test failed. If you don't hear a word, your readers are silently accepting your new way of publishing online.

To find out more please click here -

  • To learn how Zmags can help you implement an e-publishing solution at your organization, call 613-627-4101, e-mail or visit us on the web at

On Zmags' website, you can try a free 14-day trial of Zmags' e-publishing tool to see for yourself how easy e-publishing can be. You can also visit for additional resources or to post a comment.


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