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Digital replica and digital reflow: what are the differences?

Team PaperLit


Digital replica and digital reflow are two terms that may sound similar but couldn’t be more different. No matter if you are a novice or an expert branching into the world of digital magazines and apps, it’s time that you get a handle on these terms so that you can make an informed decision about what route is best for you and your work.

So, sit back, relax and let’s discuss the differences between these two conversion tools.

What is a digital replica?

To get the ball rolling, it’s important to understand the basics of what it actually is. In essence, it is an exact copy of your print magazine or document without any added bells and whistles. It is rather basic as the digitised content (the layout, the advertising and the content itself) takes the same form as the print version so all you have to do is upload the PDFs and your magazine is digitised! It’s really that easy, so even if you are new to the game, you can easily make your digital dreams a reality.

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However, the ease with which you can use it does come at a price as the design and layout are incredibly simplistic and perhaps not very technologically advanced. It also always forces a full magazine page onto the screen and there are no other options so it lacks a little diversity, one could say.

What is a digital reflow?

Now, this option takes interactivity to a whole new level by designing a format that is able to adapt to all mobile platforms. It is designed so that the text, images and other interactive elements can be enlarged to fit comfortably onto the screen of any device.

This results in a greatly enhanced reading experience as there is no need to zoom in and out to read the text or enlarge the content. Instead, you can move with the times and use the vertical swipe opposed to the traditional flipbook experience as well as swipe from side to side to browse articles. It seems only too evident that the navigation is more intuitive and impressive.

Now, as is clear, these are rather different methods of creating magazines. Which one is best suited for you?

Digital replica was designed for the hundreds of smaller publishers out there who are bravely endeavouring to join the big leagues and branch out with their business without too much expense (or effort). It’s designed for first-timers who are looking to dip their toe into the pool of digital magazine creation and don’t have that many resources to put to use.

If you fit into one of these categories, then jump in and enjoy the world of digital replicas. But remember that this is the perfect option if you just want to ease yourself into the mobile publishing age and see if it’s for you! It will be sure to satisfy your readers, your advertisers and your budget!

On the other hand, digital reflow is destined for those computer users who are a little more technologically savvy. With its vast range of features and the more high-tech aesthetic of the final product, it isn’t surprising that it has the younger generations enthralled. If you want a digital magazine that looks professional and as though it could sit among those at the top of their game, then this is the one for you!

Okay, so now let’s talk about the extra features: you know, those features that go the extra mile and show how special it really is.

What makes digital replica stand out?

Digital replica is an exact copy of the original that cannot be altered or changed in any way, so how impressive your magazine is really depends on how impressive your initial document was. It doesn’t add anything special or unusual. It is straightforward and easy-to-use and with that simplicity, you gain a basic magazine that is exactly what it says on the tin: a replica.

However, some digital publishing solutions allow you to:

  • Layer multimedia files like audio, images and video, web links or HTML5 content
  • Set up a table of contents & internal linking for easy navigation
  • Enable text search, page bookmarking and social sharing

What’s so special about digital reflow?

Now, this method, on the other hand, will meet the expectations and demands of the technologically savvy, modern generation who expect great things from all digital productions. It is notorious for being highly responsive with engaging pages that load quickly and seamlessly across all mobile devices. It produces a clean cut, modern magazine that will be sure to impress.

Of course, it all depends on what you’re looking for and who your audience is, but choose wisely!