I was speaking a week or so ago at the Asian Publishing Convention. It was held this year in Kuala Lumpur. There is talk of the 2013 event being held in Yangon which should be an added attraction.

I was talking about aligning print and digital publications and I realised, as I researched this subject, just how far the publishing industry had moved with the times and adopted the new technology. When APC started five years ago and in subsequent years, the push by the organisers was to inform and education print publishers of the opportunity (as some of us saw it) awaiting within digital editions.

Allein giving his presentation on aligning print and digital magazines at the Asian Publishing Convention in Kuala Lumpur on 30th November 2012.

In this short time, the old traditional publishing industry has moved swiftly to move into this area. Dare I say it, with greater alacrity and confidence than the ad and marketing industry.

Most publishers have already taken the step to produce a digital edition. Some like ‘Newsweek’ and ‘AdAsia’ have gone totally digital but the majority publish both ink and type editions and a digital version. They have also used EDMs and the social media to fully engage with their readers. Interestingly, in most cases, around 80% of the readers of the digital version of the magazine are different from the original core readers.

The publishers have grasped that with a digital edition they can do far more. Epicure magazine published in Singapore by MINT is now an international magazine and is showing master chefs preparing a meal on a video clip. Isn’t this more compelling than reading a printed recipe on Page 23 of the print magazine?

The iPad and other tablets have been developed (and adopted by sufficient consumers) just at the right time for the publishers.

Five to ten years ago, the future was looking bleak for publishers. However, developments in technology and lower prices for devices, have opened up a new world. The publishing industry also deserves a pat on the back for its readiness to adopt and incorporate these new ideas.

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