Thursday, May 07, 2009

Kindle and Digital Magazines

We are quite often asked whether the Exact Editions platform works on the Kindle. To which we have a number of answers:

  1. The Kindle is not available in Europe so we have never tested it and are not sure whether the web pages we serve would work on the non-standard browser that the Kindle offers its users. There is no word on when the Kindle is coming to Europe and I would say "Dont hold your breath".
  2. The Kindle does not support colour, and most magazines really benefit from colour, so we dont regard the Kindle as an ideal magazine reading platform.
  3. The Kindle supports re-flow (text can expand or shrink more or less at will) that is not a feature that would work with Exact Editions. We deliver pages the way they were designed. Exactly as they were laid out by the artist or repro house.
  4. The Exact Editions pages and images can be easily zoomed or shrunk (especially on the iPhone). That doesnt work on the Kindle.
  5. The Exact Editions system makes pages highly interactive, so web urls are live as are email addresses, phone numbers can be clicked to call (again a great resource on the iPhone, but no help on the Kindle)
  6. The content on the Kindle is tightly controlled by Amazon, and they probably would not be pleased to have content passed their way be a technology partner (Apple are very different on this) and they strike tight and onerous deals with their publishing partners. Probably no room for Exact Editions in that clinch. If Amazon wants to have magazines on their platform they will approach the publishers direct.
It is not quite a matter of chalk and cheese, but it would be fair to say that Kindle looks at the world of digital books and digital editions in a very different way than Exact Editions. We feel that Google and Apple are more kindred spirits.

1 comment:

Moz said...

Yup, even with a bigger screen it's not going to be a magazine substitute. especially with the Amazon disadvantages. Give it a while, eventually laptop battery life will increase and screen technology change with that to give us something bearable. Even so, my Sony PRS 505 can display the VeloVision pdf's almost well enough to be readable so a larger screen should help. It's only going to be bearable rather than brilliant, but for travellers and others who don't want a stack of paper it'll sell. How much... your guess is better informed than mine.

In the meantime I think focus on providing text for magazines where that's relevant. Look at the magazines on Fictionwise that are published from the start as ebooks, see how that can be combined with your existing publishers. I realise it's chicken and egg... you're paying good money in the hope that people want a limited version of what's on offer. I suspect that for small-screen devices many things would work fine as structured text with an "illustrations online" caveat.

The text version of each page is often jumbled and words joined together, making is somewhat hard to read (less so now than previously, however). I assumed it was there to support search rather than for people. Regardless, if you could allow "download whole magazine text" as an option I'd be thrilled. I assume that since VeloVision allow whole-issue PDF downloads there's no technical obstacle.