Archive for January, 2012

New Features Heighten Interactivity and Monetization

Adobe has released an update to Digital Publishing Suite. These especially exciting features provide more out-of-the-box interactivity for enhanced reading experiences as well as opportunities to cross sell publications from within the app.

Nested Overlays in Slideshows
Digital Publishing Suite now allows for most overlay types within slideshows (multi-state objects, technically speaking) and scrollable frames. For example, you can include videos or web views within a slideshow. Within scrollable frames, designers can add overlay objects such as an image sequence or interactive buttons and then group the overlay objects with other objects in the content frame. For example, if you want to place a slideshow next to text that references photos in the slideshow, and you have a limited amount of space for that text, you can embed buttons within the text in a scrollable frame so that readers can synchronize the slideshow with what they are reading.

The only limitation for nested overlays is that you cannot build slideshows within slideshows. Bob Bringhurst provides instruction on embedding interactive overlays on the Digital Publishing Suite help site.

Videos in Slideshows

Videos in Slideshows

Web View in Slideshows

Web View in Slideshows

More Button Features
Digital Publishing Suite has expanded its versatility of button controls. Now you can create a set of buttons to start and stop audio and video. In addition, one button can control multiple actions in sequence. For example, readers can play a video and then watch a slideshow without having to click the button a second time. In the screenshots of a mockup demonstration provided below, there are four buttons that control three different slideshows. The fourth button allows all three slideshows to play in sequence. Bob Bringhurst provides instructions for using buttons in Digital Publishing Suite on the help site.

     The fourth button controls three sequential slideshows

Pinch and Zoom in PDF Stacks with Interactive Overlays
On the iPad, Digital Publishing Suite has allowed you to pinch and zoom PDF stacks. Now, PDF stacks with interactive overlays also permit pinch and zoom. For example, when a reader is watching a video, she can zoom into descriptive text on the page while the video continues playing.  Go here to learn how to enable pinch and zoom for the iPad.

     Pinch and Zoom While Video is Playing

Preview on Device for iPad
The Preview on Device feature that was available for Android devices is now available on the iPad as well. For the iPad, instead of using the web client, you can attach your iPad to your computer and copy the file directly to the iPad without going through the cloud. This requires using a third party device such as Phone Disk and only works with MacOS. See Bob Bringhurst’s instructions on setting up Preview on Device for iPad.

Custom Store for Enterprise Customers
Javascript APIs are available to Enterprise Edition customers, allowing you to create a custom store for cross-selling publications, anthologies and special editions. Download the latest version of The New Yorker, which has created a beautiful custom store.   Not only can traditional media companies take advantage of a custom store but retailers and other companies who provide services can upsell their existing customers by highlighting related goods and services within their branded application.

     If you have already downloaded The New Yorker app, you’ll need to update your content viewer so you can see the new store. In order to do this, you’ll need to go to the App Store and use the “updates” option.

Customized Push Notification Options
Push notifications are now optional for both Professional and Enterprise edition users. If you want to alert subscribers when a new issue is available, click the “Notify” button in Folio Producer Organizer, controlling the timing of the push notification.

Enterprise edition users with third party entitlement servers can also customize the timing and message for a push notification. For example, a magazine could post a notification that says, “The Election 2012 special edition is now available for download,” allowing the publisher to upsell and cross-sell content.

Restricted Distribution
Enterprise users can now restrict end user access to free folios. Now you can hide folios in the viewer library, allowing you to entitle customers to download specific content based on their sign-in accounts. For example, a membership organization may want to allow members access to exclusive, free folios, or a sales department may want individuals on its sales team to just have access to folios that are relevant to a specific geography or segment. Stay tuned for new options in restricted distribution.

Custom-Created Adobe Content Viewer
Now you can test content on the iPad without waiting. Until this point, if you upgraded your Folio Producer tools and wanted to test content using the Adobe Content Viewer, you had to wait until the latest version was approved by Apple. Adobe now allows you to use Viewer Builder to create a custom content viewer and preview your content on the iPad within the full context of the experience on the device. See Bob Bringhurst’s instructions on building a custom Content Viewer.

Account Administration
You can now assign and control the creation and access level of all accounts associated with the company’s master account. This means publishers now have a central place to assign, view and manage all Digital Publishing Suite provisioned accounts associated with the organization or title.

Here is a simple breakdown of some of the account administration options:

  • Create “Creative” accounts for designers. These accounts are owned by the company and not by the individual user. Users of these accounts cannot build applications, view analytics, or publish folios. A typical “Creative” account would be a designer who can build and preview folio content or share it via
  • Create “Publication” or “Producer” accounts. Users of these accounts can publish folio content to the fulfillment server.
  • Enable Creative or Producer accounts to also have access to the Viewer Builder application.
  • Promote any user to a “Master Admin”

Other Highlights

  • Open up a video or slideshow that expands to the full page of the tablet without a chrome, or frame (sometimes called “chromeless modal web view”).
  • Deliver free subscriptions through Apple Newsstand.
  • Relink folios to source files if the file names or location have changed.
  • Change the cover view on an Android device to show Grid View, Cover View or both, to accommodate for the smaller screen size.
  • Watch a progress bar during the bundling process to know how much the download has progressed.
  • Receive status updates through the dashboard to learn time sensitive information from Adobe.

Want More Information?
Visit the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite help site for more detail about this release. Author Bob Bringhurst provides great tutorials and can answer technical questions.

See Bob Bringhurst’s instructions on building a custom Content Viewer and watch Colin Fleming’s video on how to build a custom Content Viewer and preview your content on the iPad.


11:37 PM Permalink

How much additional staff is required to produce a Digital Publishing Suite app along with your print product?

Post by Craig Morrow & Will Steuber, MEI

The prospect of putting out an engaging app in addition to your print product seems daunting, we know. How are you supposed to add an entire app to your portfolio without doubling your staff? Well, with the right preparation and some timely training, you could be publishing apps with the InDesign users already on your team. Let us explain how.

One of the greatest strengths of Digital Publishing Suite is that InDesign sits at its cornerstone. That means designers and editors are already familiar with the “new” software environment. So, with some understanding of Digital Publishing Suite and the  Folio Producer tools, your existing print and production team can easily learn how to create and publish interactive apps.

Workflow discipline, project planning and template creation are the essentials of an efficient app-production process. It is important that your team implement good habits upstream, such as proper styling, tagging and metadata management, which can save significant time down the line. And getting some startup help with templates and planning scenarios should further reduce your need to increase the head count. (Note, however, that some Digital Publishing Suite features, such as video and panorama, are more resource-intensive and time-consuming than others, so it all depends on how sophisticated you want to get.)

At MEI, we recently worked with a premiere publication in NY with a circulation of approximately 1.2 million.  They were faced with the challenge of building an app in addition to their print publication. Their designers were very comfortable with InDesign and could build attractive print layouts that were on brand for their publication but like so many publishers, they had grown accustomed to handing off all web/mobile based content initiatives to web developers. Ultimately, they were left feeling like they were losing control over design elements. This publisher needed a user-friendly tool that could leverage the strengths of their creative team, allowing them to maintain more control over the final digital product without adding tremendous overhead to the process.

So with a little investment in training, and the commitment and pre-existing skills of your existing staff, you can likely put out a digital edition and significantly increase your readership in a medium that is revolutionizing how we engage with content.

Craig Morrow is Director of Strategic Accounts and Will Steuber is Director of Creative Services at MEI. MEI was founded in 1990 as Managing Editor Inc., with the goal of providing innovative software solutions to the rapidly evolving publishing industry. Today the company delivers a comprehensive package of digital publishing, editorial workflow and automated ad layout systems for magazines, newspapers and other print and electronic publishers and communicators. Visit the Managing Editor website to learn more about their services.


10:00 PM Permalink

Edge Provides Clients with New Digital Media Opportunities

Edge, a strategic content agency in Australia, launched a tablet publication for its client, Sportingbet. Sportingbet is one of Australia’s biggest online bookmakers, and they needed a quick turnaround and a quality tablet version of SportingMail, a quarterly magazine that covers sports events.

Edge embraced Digital Publishing Suite with its end-to-end workflow that utilized the team’s existing InDesign skills. Tech director Jamie Ragen and art director Jon Miller were able to build the first publication in three weeks, quickly learning Digital Publishing Suite along the way. As an agency, it’s important to be able to share drafts of the publication with the client. Ragen and Miller uploaded content to the hosted content server, sharing private versions of the folios with the Sportingbet team.

Embedding video into SportingMail was an asset for a publication that showcases sports activity. SportingMail customers loved the tablet version so much that they requested back issues of the publication. After the success of SportingMail, Edge received requests from its existing clients to build tablet publications for them, instigating growth in the agency’s offerings.

“We all know digital media is growing more and more in importance every day,” says Ragen. “It sits alongside print media and our ability to produce low-cost, high-quality digital magazines using Adobe technologies means we’re pushing ahead into this space. Edge can offer clients bespoke or template apps, either as standalone offerings or as extensions of their already-successful print magazines.”

10:09 PM Permalink

How Do You Build a High Functioning App?

McPheters & Co, whose iMonitor service evaluates publication based apps, posed the question in an Ad Age article: What can publishers do to reduce the number of app malfunctions? Customer service is important for publishers, and it’s imperative that apps function smoothly and provide benefits that customers deserve. The main problems that McPheters found when reviewing over 3,000 apps were related to authenticating existing print subscribers through direct entitlement, as well as various display problems: broken links, page load failures, and problems with audio and video.

Rebecca McPheters, CEO, interviewed Adobe Digital Publishing Suite evangelist Colin Fleming. Overall, the best solutions involve aggressive testing and good customer service. Similar to publishing in print, proofreading content in advance and providing customer service within the application are key.

According to Fleming, “Publishers can avoid many of these pitfalls by becoming better informed, following guidelines and testing applications thoroughly. Bad links and display issues should be uncovered in testing, much like proofreading content before it’s published.”

Want to know more? Read the article in Ad Age.

1:06 AM Permalink

Top grossing apps built with Digital Publishing Suite

The results are in. Apps built with Digital Publishing Suite topped the charts in Apple’s Top Grossing Apps list after the 2011 holiday season. Congratulations to our customers for their success. The fact that Digital Publishing Suite was used to develop and monetize 14 out of the top 20 apps is evidence that it is becoming the standard platform for publishing digital publications and monetizing digital publications across the iPad and Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy or the Kindle Fire.

Check out  the Digital Publishing Suite publications that made the top 20 highest grossing apps through Apple Newsstand at the end of December.

  • New Yorker Magazine
  • Men’s Health
  • National Geographic
  • GQ
  • Consumer Reports
  • Wired
  • Martha Stewart
  • Glamour
  • Runner’s World
  • Vanity Fair for iPad
  • Self
  • Women’s Health
  • Prevention
  • Golf Digest

Discoverability Through Newsstands

Apple and Kindle Fire Newsstands push publications to the top of the stack, allowing potential readers to peruse the digital newsstand shelves and enable easy purchase of their favorite titles. Using Digital Publishing Suite, publishers can build newsstand-enabled applications that get noticed by content buyers and ultimately drive greater digital circulation.  This then leads to other monetization opportunities for even greater digital revenue streams in the future.

Cross Selling Through a Custom Store

Readers who have purchased a digital publication are often highly engaged with your brand and interested in consuming and purchasing related content. For example, check out the new custom HTML store available in The New Yorker application.  Built with Digital Publishing Suite, The New Yorker application is using a highly designed in-app store to merchandise related content including back issues of the magazine as well as supplemental anthologies.  Not only is Conde Nast able to use Digital Publishing Suite to capitalize on newsstand to get their app noticed and sell digital subscriptions, they can also start to branch into other revenue streams by creating a focused shopping experience within their application.  In essence, Conde Nast is turning readers into consumers of content.  However you slice it, Digital Publishing Suite is giving publishers the capability to build their digital business.

3:00 AM Permalink

Small Team at Boxoffice Media Builds Weekly App

Boxoffice Media, publisher of the weekly Boxoffice magazine trade publication for the National Association of Theater Owners since 1920, has now unleashed a weekly iPad publication for the general public. Each Thursday, Boxoffice’s small team releases a new issue of Boxoffice Weekly. Amy Nicholson, Editor, provides content and Ken Bacon, Creative Director, builds each issue using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.

With a trade publication at the heart of Boxoffice, owner Peter Cane recognized the potential to reach a wider audience of moviegoers. The trade magazine reaches over 15,000 industry insiders each year. However, in the past year, 185 million people went to the movies 1.4 billion times. While the monthly trade magazine includes technical development, digital cinema, and best practices content for theater owners, Boxoffice realized it could also make some of the more mainstream content available to the rest of us: interviews with movie stars (Hear Kermit discuss collaborating with Jason Segal), information about the characters, actors, and director (What is it like to make the Muppets without Oz and Henson?) and lots of trailers.

In order to meet the publication’s tight deadlines, Bacon needed a turnkey solution with a short learning curve. Being familiar with the InDesign CS5.5 software and workflow allowed him to get the operation up and running. As Bacon said in an interview, “Making our weekly publication deadline couldn’t be done without Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. The end-to-end workflow tools in Adobe Digital Publishing Suite make it easy to add interactivity, preview and test articles, and publish our digital edition in just a few days.”

10:48 PM Permalink