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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Digital Editions for B2B?

Rory Brown has started an interesting debate on his blog about the usefulness or otherwise of digital editions. Some have said it's the worst blend of a magazine format on the web, and a the worst blend of the web in a magzine format. Rory says people don't read them.

He argues that they don't offer what readers want, which is bookmarking, interactivity, forums, networking and so on.

There is the inevitable defense from the providers that they have research that shows how great readers think these things are. Maybe. As ever with this kind of thing the truth is more complicated.

Digital formats for content can be shrinkwrapped in a virtual magazine and can be a compelling experience provided that the navigation works (many of them are hopeless - especially on a lap top, they integrate rich media and interactivity and the content has been bespoked for the format. What doesn't work is taking the print mag and sticking it in a digital reader (imho) just to save distribution costs. (which I think everyone contributing to Rory's discussion agrees)

There are one or two publishers who have done some interesting things with digital formats. Dennis publishing have had a brave go in the b2c world with Monkey. Its not a digital edition of the magazine and its not their technology, but it is cute (and I mean the technology not the content).

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