It took more than 500 years from the revolutionary invention of the Gutenberg printing press to the development of mobile publishing. Today, tablets allow multiple publications to be accessed anywhere and anytime – they are absolute game changers in the digital publishing industry, signifying a positive shift in digital magazine popularity.
We came across the second annual Mequoda Digital Magazine Study on Digital Magazine Reader Habits of 2014. The study was conducted among 1,136 participants, who read or subscribe to at least one digital magazine on a tablet. We have summarized the most important messages from this report, and also complemented it with a few of our own remarks and predictions.
Digital books and magazines taking over the mobile market
29% of participants say they read books every day on their tablets, and 60% do it monthly. When it comes to digital magazines, 20% of respondents read these daily, which signifies a 6% increase from last year, and 64% read magazines monthly. We think this will increase with more mobile first magazines that are not just a copy of the print edition. Furthermore, the audience is expanding constantly, as more and more tablets are purchased.
In the past 30 days 48% of tablet owners purchased a digital book while 21% opted in for new digital magazines or subscriptions. As magazine subscriptions come with regular issues and these are higher in quantity than single-copy only magazines, this is self-evident.
Within the last 12 months, 27% of tablet users spent from $100 to $299 on their tablets, while more than half (53%) spent up to $99, indicating a high willingness to pay for apps, books, magazines, videos or subscriptions. What is important is the quality of the content that is provided. This will be presented later on in this blog.
Apple’s iPad is still a front-runner among tablets, holding a 58% ownership among readers (TABELLE). Moreover, 14.5% of overall tablet readers plan to purchase a new tablet in the next 12 months, while 30% consider it.
Digital Publication Preferences and Expectations
Digital magazine readers are more and more familiar with digital publications, and the study shows that more than 50% of digital magazine subscribers expect scrollable text. This once again proves that designing a replica for digital magazines is not a solution. Clickable links as well as access to back-issues complete the top 3 important features for digital magazine readers.
When it comes to the perfect number of articles, 75% of respondents prefer not more than 20 per digital publication.
Considering that the study’s participants read or subscribe at least one digital magazine, the medium proves to be most highly valued by 70% of digital magazine readers. Tablets’ portability is allowing people to read books and magazines when away from home, therefore 42% of tablet users would prefer all their issues in one spot – their tablet.
91% of tablet readers believe a digital edition should cost less than print edition, although they are indicating a rather high willingness to pay for non-replica digital subscriptions. PriceWaterhouseCoopers also predicts that by 2016 consumer spending on digital magazines will reach $80.2 billion.
Now is the time for publishers to take action and consider their mobile magazine strategies. Publishers could start enhancing their pdf replica with scrollable articles, multimedia elements and behind the scenes content. They can also take advantage of the mobile technology and create mobile first publications supplemented with augmented reality or other interactive use of technology.
Read the full study here: Mequoda