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Alternatives to Adobe DPS for the publishing of digital magazines

Luca Filigheddu

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If you have been looking for alternatives to Adobe DPS for the publishing of digital magazines, these four alternate programs may be a good fit. They are all professional level platforms with many of the features you may have liked about past Adobe software.

Mag+, DC Catalog, PaperLit and Origami Engine are all designed with your digital magazine publishing needs in mind. They offer an easy to use interface and plenty of help for new users.

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1. Mag+ aka DesignD

You may recognise Mag+ as it is a company originating from Bonnier Corp’s earliest Popular Science app. Its software is known as DesignD (not a typo), and many people say that its features and functions are most similar to Adobe.

It is also thought as being more affordable if you are a smaller publishing house. There are two main fees – the software fee and another fee for the ability to download issues to subscribers.

Features of DesignD which tend to be popular are the ability to add a log-in before readers access magazine content, publish one title to all devices, and the 1 terabyte per month of downloads included with software subscription plans.

Publishers can host their magazines themselves, and sell digital editions without having to use second party software such as Google Play, Amazon Kindle, or Apple iTunes.

An added benefit is the ability to change and manage subscription offers – price, incentives, offer tracking, and that all important and valuable asset of data harvesting.

Designed with independent publishers in mind, Mag+ DesignD support comes from the company and not resellers. With a hefty price tag, Design D may not be for every digital magazine publisher, however, the features and customer support available are definitely to its advantage.

2. Paperlit

When you think of alternatives to Adobe DPS for the publishing of digital magazines, consider Paperlit. This SaaS DIY web application provides an interactive online magazine platform. It is designed to help publishers create their own branded newsstand/news app from which it is possible to distribute single or multi-publication issues, share live feeds via website, blog or dedicated CMS, publish the magazine app on Google Play, the web, and the AppStore.

Additional features which PaperLit offers include content monetization through in-app purchases or advertising options. Create an interactive document by uploading a PDF file, build the newsstand app with .folio and HPUB (HTML5) files, use multimedia such as video, audio, or image galleries, take advantage of links to mobile-optimized eCommerce or shopping sites, use push notifications to engage readers and promote new editions and articles, track user behaviour with Paperlit analytics (integrated with the publishers’ Google Analytics as well), and more. Big publishers can also integrate their subscriber database very easily, since Paperlit already supports all the major commercial ones like Cambey&West, Dovetail and CDS.

Last but not least, Paperlit is integrated with e-commerce platforms like Shopify. This allows publishers to sell their content on those platforms, enabling readers to easily access that content through single-sign-on on their branded apps created through Paperlit.

This is a user-friendly interface which allows lesser experienced computer users to put together an attractive and professional looking digital magazine. Cross-platform publishing is made easier with Paperlit.

3. DC Catalog

DC Catalog is a software which provides an interactive online magazine platform. What that means for publishers is that a user-friendly interface is presented to allow lesser experienced computer users to put together an attractive and professional looking digital flip magazine.

Features of the program include cloud capability for publishing, advanced HTML5, full white label branding, media and link management, QR code generators, offline versions, a quick PDF to digital magazine publishing system, and options to make the digital magazine accessible from a variety of devices.

You can use DC Catalog for existing print editions or start from scratch to build a new issue. Integrated features such as videos, shopping, bookmarks, and sharing tools help to keep audiences engaged.

As the name implies, the software is rich with ways to publish promotional materials and catalogs, too. It is interesting to note that DC Catalog was once known as eFlip Paper. While eFlip Paper does not have much web presence, the site for DC Catalog offers a free trial and robust client testimonials section.

4. Origami Engine

While Origami Engine may sound like an intricate and complicated software program, it is actually quite user-friendly and feature-filled. Its beginnings were as mobile magazine publishing software, and from there it expanded into an all-in-one publishing suite.

There are four components to Origami Engine – design, testing, publishing, and management. Within the components are the three main software tools which allow users to publish digital magazines – Origami Design covers the layout, Origami View allows for testing, and Origami Xchange is where you publish and manage your magazine editions.

The platform does not use a PDF wrap or HTML shell. There are lots of tutorials and documentation for support, which you may need as customer service dos not offer much in the way of help.

The download fee of Origami Engine is 0.08 cents which may account for the lack of a dedicated customer service team. The software includes everything you need to publish to a variety of platforms. Origami Engine has been in use since 2010 and continues to be updated on a regular basis.


It can be difficult when a software platform that you are accustomed to using is suddenly discontinued. For those publishers who are not as technical savvy, a simple solution is usually the best option.

Publishers of digital magazines who have the staff and knowledge of layout and software will be happier with a more customisable and fully featured program.

Moreover, take into account the size of the publication – how often the magazine is published, how many readers, what the reader preferences are for existing magazine features, and how to maximize any digital magazine publishing software that you use for the greatest yields in quality and readership.