Home Blog How to Create and Di ...

How to Create and Distribute a Digital Magazine

Team PaperLit

How to Create and Distribute a Digital Magazine

Delight your readers with an engaging and easy-to-read digital publication.

Why A Digital Magazine?

So, why bother with having a digital magazine? One word – evolution. Digital magazines have been gaining popularity in recent years. Across the board, print media has taken a beating and magazines aren’t an exception.

While many prefer to tout the decline of print magazines with the rise of digital ones, we should instead see it as a natural development – a welcome one where our magazine content can reach a wider audience by offering digital editions. Transitioning from a print-based magazine can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to, especially if you have the right tools.

Switching to digital magazines takes some planning and thought. But in general, there are five rules to follow in order to publish a digital magazine and they anchor on the magazine being user-friendly, insightful, interactive and enticing. While all of those are also required of a print magazine, you need to know how to apply those same principles when working with a digital magazine.

How To Choose The Format


Today, three popular formats are dominating the digital magazine industry: PDF, HPub and .Folio.

Selecting the right format for your digital magazine mostly depends on two factors.The first is how you want the magazine to be viewed. Basically, you need to decide whether you want a pure replica of the print version with added multimedia, or a reflow that adapts the content to whatever device the reader is viewing the magazine on. Each format presents magazines differently and will therefore ultimately affect reader experience.

If you value the integrity of the design and look and you’re not too concerned with interactive content, then PDF will suffice. But if you want multimedia content as well as responsive and innovative design to varying degrees, then you will need to look at the other two formats.


The other factor to consider in the selection of formats is which one can your digital publishing tool support. The most commonly used by the industry is Adobe DPS although there are a few valid alternatives you can find here and here, such as DesignD, Paperlit, DC Catalog, Tumult Hype and Origami Engine. Each has its own strengths and drawbacks, so be sure to get an in-depth look at each before deciding which tool to use.


Paperlit is a platform specially designed for digital magazine publishers.

Among the three formats mentioned, the newest and most versatile format is the HPub.


Aside from the numerous multimedia content benefits that they can bring, they can be easily used to create digital reflows, which has now become the new standard for digital magazines. If the format doesn’t sound too familiar, it’s because, unlike the other formats, HPub isn’t a standard developed by the digital publishing giant Adobe. But this is why HPub is more versatile.

HPub is the closest format to websites which means you can have all the functionalities and dynamism of web content incorporated into your digital magazine. Aside from this, most readers today are already used to navigating through web-based content and adopting the same feel in your magazine will help in user-friendliness.

Where To Publish Your Digital Magazine

If you’re reading this, then you’re starting to think now about making the move to digital. The next question is: how do we distribute it? There are two main ways to publish your digital magazine. One is to publish it on a website, and the other is through your own magazine app.

Therefore, choosing between on-site and in-app magazines is one of the first decisions to take. Deciding which path to go through will bring its own advantages. For example, on-site digital magazine distribution allows a mutually-beneficial relationship between the magazine and the website as they both attract readers for the other. But in-app digital magazines have the advantage of always being on your readers’ pockets through their smartphones.

Card 3_pillar.png

If you decide to distribute your magazine through a website, there are some common embedded digital magazine pitfalls and tips that you should be aware of before moving forward. The same goes for app-distributed magazines. Magazine apps are one of the more popular ways to distribute digital editions, and they are useful in raising your circulation numbers.

Then there’s also the question of what platform or tool to use to publish your magazine. Currently, ISUU, Joomag and Paperlit are some of the most common tools for publishing magazines. Best of all, you can start for free!


Once you have the ins and outs of where and how to publish your digital magazine, you should also think about which channel to use to generate revenue from selling subscriptions. Shopify is one of the most popular platforms available. While Shopify is fast becoming the leader in e-commerce platforms, a lot of the benefits can also be applied to digital publications. Aside from Shopify, there are other alternatives as well, from app stores to well-known online marketplaces. An example? PubCommerce, the e-commerce for digital magazines. It allows publishers to sell their content online (both subscriptions and single copies).

How To Create And Optimize Your App

We all know that using a magazine app to distribute your digital magazine is one of the most popular ways used by digital publishers today. And rightly so. With magazine apps, you can easily keep track of important digital magazine metrics.

However, when building your own magazine app, there are a few essential features that every digital magazine app should have especially when it comes to factors such as formats, functionalities expected by your readers, easy navigation and being able to support interactive content.

Apps aren’t all made the same. There are well-made apps, and there are bad apps. Don’t get carried away building a magazine app that lacks certain features. Be sure to steer clear of the most common mistakes to avoid when building your app.


How To Distribute Your App

If you want to publish a magazine app, it’s safe to assume you want to target those on mobile phones or tablets. After all, there are plenty of benefits of having your magazine on the app store, from unparalleled reach to unrivaled accessibility.

Despite these benefits, it’s still vital to have an app store strategy for both Apple and Android. There are a few pointers to think of, from the planning and preparation phases to submission and post-publication of your app on the app store. App stores are all different, and so you’ll have to think of a strategy for each.

Aside from thinking about features and functionalities when publishing on app stores, you also have to think about the financial side. Subscriptions aren’t the only way to make money from magazine apps. In fact, they can be a kind of e-commerce channel now.

But before that, you should know that from the outset, it costs money to have apps on app stores. The most common form is through commissions. You’re looking at up to 30% cuts made by app stores if you don’t play it smart. However, with the right guidance, you can avoid these commissions when selling your magazines.



World’s 10 best digital magazines

In such a scenario you need to know what makes a digital magazine great!

Download our presentation of the World’s 10 best digital magazines


Paperlit Can Help You In Each Step



You’ve seen above and through the various articles how complex digital magazine publishing can be. Even if you plan well for every step of the way, there are just so many processes to be managed, from building your magazine to distribution, and it can get overwhelming. So what’s the final solution? You need one publishing tool that makes digital publishing easy every step of the way. Paperlit is a platform specially designed for digital magazine publishers. Throughout every step of magazine publishing, can be used so you can concentrate more on being creative and generating quality content!



Publishers looking to overhaul their business by taking the digital plunge can start with Paperlit. Get a quote now!


get a quote