The Top 5 Digital Publishing Platforms

Digital publishing is an incredibly popular industry, so it makes sense that it has spawned a seemingly infinite number of online publishing platforms. But don’t worry, we’ve narrowed them down to the top 5 (in no particular order) along with their respective features. Use our list to determine which platform best suits your publishing needs.

1. Joomag

Joomag is a complete online publishing platform that pays attention to every stage of the publishing lifecycle. What this means to publishers is that they can start creating, distributing, tracking, and monetizing their online publications from a single, user-friendly platform. Joomag emphasizes its philosophy that it’s designed to meet every publisher’s needs, big and small.

FEATURES:

- Starting options: users can start a publication from scratch, by choosing a predesigned template, or uploading a PDF.

- Interactive elements: users can enrich their content with video, audio, photo galleries, and interactive plugins. Plugins let readers instantly rate content and leave live feedback, for example.

- Multi-platform optimization: publications created with Joomag are optimized for all major mobile platforms including iOS, Android, and Windows.

- Joomag Newsstand: users can instantly publish their content to the Joomag Newsstand and let over 5 million monthly visitors access it.

- Social media sharing: once publishers finish creating their publications, they can then share them across all major social media sites.

- Branding: users can place their own logos on their publications and include them in the magazine viewer to increase brand recognition.

- Comprehensive tracking analytics: Joomag provides detailed tracking analytics for publishers to track the success of their publication. These include page views, traffic sources, downloads, geolocations of readers, keywords, and much more.

- SEO tool: publishers can select keywords and phrases from their publications to rank them higher up on search engine results pages, like Google.

- Print on demand and hard copy ordering: readers can print out individual pages of a publication or the entire thing. Publishers can also enable hard copy ordering to get their content into the hands of people who prefer physical copies.

- Selling: publishers can sell individual issues, subscriptions, or hard copies.

- Awesome CRM: Joomag’s CRM lets users gain and manage their subscribers from a single interface. Publishers can also launch custom mass mailing campaigns and create their own emails to send to subscribers.

2. Mag+:

Mag+ is an online platform that provides publishers with software for creating content apps. Publishers can essentially turn their digital publications into apps which can then be distributed on smartphones and tablets.

FEATURES:

- Designd: Designd is an app and a plugin for Adobe InDesign that lets users create and publish a variety of mobile publications.

- Semble: Semble is a desktop Mac application for creating, delivering, and sharing mobile apps. Users can create an app, manage and publish it, and use push notifications to keep audiences informed at all times. Tracking analytics are also provided.

- Offline support: users can still access apps offline after they’ve downloaded them.

- Video, audio, and slideshow support: all can be added to apps with simple button clicks.

- Branded apps: which can be distributed on iTunes, Google Play, Apple’s Newsstand, and the Amazon App Store.

- Social sharing: users are able to share any content from their apps on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

- In-app purchasing: single-issue purchases and subscriptions are both supported by apps for any marketplace.

- Subscriptions: users can sell subscriptions on their own or offer in-app subscriptions through any app marketplace.

- App analytics: Mag+ has teamed up with multiple app marketing agencies and lets users track the performance of their apps in multiple ways.

WHAT’S MISSING:

- Publication creation: Mag+ users cannot create actual publications, only apps for them. They will have to use other platforms to start creating content and then Mag+ for apps/distribution.

3. Yudu

Yudu is an online content delivery platform. The YUDU Publisher uses 2 delivery methods: native mobile apps and its unique PageTiler browser delivery method. The company develops communication apps for users in order to open up new distribution channels for them.

FEATURES:

- Branded app delivery: users, after uploading their content to YUDU and adding interactive elements to it, can then publish it to their magazine apps.

- Browser delivery: content can be delivered to web browsers on any device as well.

- Multimedia elements: to enrich their created apps, users can add audio, video, and HTML5 interactivity to them.

- Offline app access: users can access apps offline after they’ve downloaded them.

- Multi-platform support: YUDU’s apps are compatible with all iOS, Android, and Windows devices. The platform’s browser-reader solution, PageTiler, is compatible with all major web major browsers.

- Centralized magazine hubs: users can create magazine hubs which support all of their content and social media feeds.

- Subscriptions: custom subscription models can be created via YUDU’s subscription management tool.

- PhoneView: publishers can customize how readers will interact with their content on smartphones.

- YUDU creative team: users can get help from YUDU directly in terms of implementing design ideas into their apps. The team is highly skilled and trained to assist with app aesthetics only.

WHAT’S MISSING:

- Like Mag+, YUDU does not provide publishers with the means to start creating publications directly from their platform.

4. Issuu

issuu is an online hosting platform and newsstand. It is primarily PDF based which means that in order for users to start hosting their online magazines, they will first need to upload a PDF file. issuu will then convert it to content that can be read by flash players.

FEATURES:

- Embedded reader: issuu provides embed codes to publishers so they can place their publications on external websites or on issuu itself.

- HTML5 compatibility: publishers don’t have to install any apps to let readers view their publications. Readers can do so directly from their browsers.

- Tracking analytics: publishers can track their publications’ performance with analytics to see how readers are interacting with their content.

- Social sharing: as with many other online platforms, issuu lets publishers share their work on a variety of social media sites.

- Apps: issuu also provides native apps for iOS and Android devices.

WHAT’S MISSING:

- Creation capabilities: users cannot actually create digital publication on issuu’s platform (only distribute and host them).

- Additional starting options: users are restricted to uploading PDFs only.

- No selling options: issuu lacks any direct way for users to start charging for their content.

5. Zmags

Zmags is an online publishing platform that emphasizes instant, shoppable content. What this means is that users, after they create their content with Zmag’s platform, can then quickly publish it. The platform specializes in transforming offline assets into digitally interactive content and claims that users can publish rich content up to 20x faster and boost engagement times by over 400%.

FEATURES:

- The Creator and Publicator platforms: The Creator platform uses drag and drop functionality and lets publishers create content without any coding. The Publicator turns stagnant, offline content into fully interactive content.

- PDF uploading: Publishers need to upload a PDF first in order to start adding interactive elements to it.

- Interactive elements: Zmags lets users enrich their converted PDFs with video, pop-up media, animations, and ecommerce hotspots.

WHAT’S MISSING:

- Additional starting options: like issuu, Zmags users are restricted to uploading PDFs only and cannot begin creating content in other ways.

- Affordable pricing for all publishers: Zmags focuses more on larger, enterprise clients rather than publishers of all shapes and sizes. Their somewhat steep pricing reflects that.

With more and more online platforms becoming available to publishers, it’s important to always remember one thing. Your platform of choice should be a complete one and let you do everything, from content creating to distributing, from a single destination. Consider the aforementioned 5 platforms, do some more research on them if you want, and determine which one aligns best with your publishing goals.