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Website Magazine — Hope for print yet.

Website Magazine is not an oxymoron. It is further evidence that many people still prefer paper over pixels.

I love print and am always on the lookout for examples that the Internet and eco-zealots have not driven the printing industry underground to a black market enterprise (it remains and should remain a huge, vibrant part of our economy). As you saw here last week, B2B publishing in general took a big hit with the impending demise of 23 Reed titles (there is some indication that a few are reassembling). This week, however, a new publication crossed my desk and its very title gave me new hope — Website Magazine. Wow, there are actually online enthusiasts, web developers, and SEO specialists out there willing to get content delivered by the US post and there are enough of them to warrant a new magazine launch in this difficult economy.

Exhibit B is a new “Power of Print” ad campaign about the vitality of magazines launched by the leaders of five major magazine companies—Charles H. Townsend, Condé Nast; Cathie Black, Hearst Magazines; Jack Griffin, Meredith Corporation; Ann Moore, Time Inc.; and Jann Wenner, Wenner Media.

Power of Print ad campaign sponsored by 5 major magazine publishers

Power of Print ad campaign sponsored by 5 major magazine publishers

From an advertising and brand impact perspective, I will take a full page print ad (or better yet, a magazine spread) over a digital banner or sponsored link any day.

I am encouraged, but I would hardly call this a trend. Actually, the trend I have been following and I believe it is where publishing is ultimately going is digital magazines. At first, I wasn’t a huge fan. For the most part, digital magazines are online versions that replicate print magazine issues by using various specialized reader software. Throw in a few hyperlinks and you’ve got an enhanced PDF that displays in reader spreads and simulates page flips.

The best of these platforms has always been Zinio, which is where most digital versions of consumer pubs reside (B2B publishers use a variety of other software). It wasn’t until visiting the Zinio booth at a digital conference earlier this year that I developed an appreciation for where the future of publishing is headed. Zinio’s booth was joined at the hip with the booth for a new women’s magazine called VIV. It is the first magazine created exclusively as a digital magazine. What that means is editorial spreads that incorporate actual multimedia. Photography for each issue generally includes links to pull up all the images from the shoot, not just the ones selected by the art director. Advertisers are typically not doing conventional ads, but sponsored content with video or other engaging hooks. It is kind of like watching a Directors Cut DVD of one of your favorite movies (browse at your own pace).

Viv is the first magazine created exclusively as a digital magazine.

Viv is the first magazine created exclusively as a digital magazine.

Even the cover demonstrates the difference between an all-digital and a print-to-digital publication. Visit vivmag.com , select the free preview, and click the VIVIFY This Cover digital belly band for a great show.

At the time of that digital conference, the Zinio rep told me they were readying an Apple iPhone mobile app version of the reader. Now, Zinio is on the new iPad. Strikes me as the perfect platform for delivering digital magazines in all their next-best-thing-to-print glory. With Apple’s loyal and ever-growing customer base, it’s only a matter of time before the iPad redefines the print experience for readers of magazines (via Zinio) and books (via Kindle).

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