At least, that is the assertion of the writer of a Mequoda Group white paper on digital magazine publishing. He (or she) asks why the magazine medium has survived the challenge of radio and television for the reader’s time and attention. Perhaps it’s because of what differentiates a magazine from any other written content, whether books or Web site. He says the reason the magazine medium has survived and will survive is because of the difference in user experience. He says it is these attributes which define the user experience and make it distinct.
1. Magazines are linear, meant to be read from front to back, but not necessarily in their entirety. Hyperlinking is not linear. Any medium which makes it possible for the reader to skip around among hundreds or thousands of articles is not linear.
2. Magazines are finite, unlike Internet Web sites. He says the reader can say “I have finished the magazine. Now I’m looking for the next issue.”
3. Magazines are periodic, whether weekly, monthly, or quarterly. They have an established frequency and do not come out more or less often.
4. Magazines are cohesive, edited, curated, and culled to produce the most interesting and relevant content for the reader. The editorial content is connected and the whole is greater than a sum of its parts
5. Magazines are portable and can be taken to a beach, the toilet, or anywhere else. As tablet computers become more versatile they may serve the function of the paper versions, perhaps even kick starting a resurgence of magazine reading.
6. Magazines are textual. Text is the king and photographs are ancillary, serving only to illustrate the text.
7. Magazines are collectible. People like to own and save magazines. At a magazine Web site, users must be able to download an issue of the magazine, says the Mequoda Group writer. If that’s not possible, it’s not a magazine Web site. In fact, according to an article on Adweek.com, tablet users are creating digital archives of their favorite magazines, spurring a boom in back issue sales.
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