E-Magazines : An interesting Model

Many magazines (and publishing companies) are fighting the move to the web with all they have in them, rather then viewing it as a new tool to use. But not all.

One of the classes I’m taking at Pace University this semester is a marketing class and we are talking about how, since the internet, consumers are expecting more and more personalized products and services. As Kassia Krozser recently posted on Booksquare, “The pain will come for those (textbook industry, anyone?) clinging to old business models.”

What this means is that publishing companies need to look for ways to embrace technology. This, of course, will be different for each of the different ‘types’ of publishing (magazines, books, etc.), but embrace it they must.


Take what Mitch Fox is doing at 8020 Media. Essentially, they are creating magazines out of user generated content.

“…our community members interact with each other relative to the content that they have contributed and the content that their peers have contributed. We have this notion of self interest that all of the members have in playing this ‘game’ to get themselves voted highly enough to become part of this fantastic end product, which is the magazine. The magazine is sold at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Whole Foods and Urban Outfitters, and really becomes a touchstone that all the members want to be a part of.”

Or Esquire Magazine’s recent e-ink cover for their anniversary issue. Or specialized magazines that are holding conferences, or expanding into TV…. (for more ways that magazines are innovating beyond print, see The American Magazine Vanguard Awards).

The important idea here is to find new ways to connect with readers. They want their interests and ‘niches’ pandered to; they want and expect personalized content, that matches their needs. So magazines need to take these niches and become a one stop-shop for all things for that group. If a niche is into dogs, become their one-stop shop for all things dog – offer training information, have professional groomers and trainers holding seminars and giving lectures, writing pieces that are offered on the magazine’s website. Host adoption days, create coupons. Set yourself up as both industry expert and mentor.

This idea carries over into books. In my marketing class we are discussing the value for those who offer blurbs of their books online, or, as one author recently did, offer videos of readings of the book for free on the website. Writers and publishing companies need to submerge themselves in their target audience and find a way to really connect with their readers. If they offer content for free publishers worry that readers are no longer going to buy the actual book. I think that when publishers express worries like this that they are forgetting why people buy books. Depending on the genre, people buy books to relax, because they enjoy reading. Or they buy books because they need reference materials. Offering content for free doesn’t mean that it won’t be easier for consumers to have and hold a copy of the book for themselves. Instead, it gives consumers a chance to ‘test drive’ the product. If they find something useful, chances are they will buy it so they can ‘always’ use it.

Another thing we are looking at in class is the idea that books can be taken out of the book store. If it’s a book about (to go back to our previous example) dogs, why not offer it at training classes, adoption centers, and dog shows? Why not do an event at a dog park? What’s more likely: that a book in a store will be sought out by dog lovers or that a dog lover in a dog park might stop to listen to an author or check out a presentation about a book while at their local park? Books need to go to where their audiences are.

Any Media
All forms of media need to adopt this idea of i emerging themselves in their readers/listeners/viewers. It’s both the best way to STAY and expert and to show your expertise.

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