August 5, 2016 Last Updated 10:30 am

Making magazine text readable for digital readers should not be a ‘revolutionary’ idea

Magzter’s new ezRead 2.0, which currently only works on a percentage of the magazines in their digital newsstand, takes the text from the PDF provided and reformats the magazine for better reading on a mobile device

I don’t normally go out of my way to criticize digital publishing vendors, even when they sometimes provide terrible publishing solutions. So, what I am about to say is not meant to criticize the very good new solution the digital newsstand Magzter has introduced called ezRead 2.0. I just have a problem with the idea that making text readable for readers is in any way ‘revolutionary’.

Magzter, like many digital newsstands, has been promoting PDF replicas to both publishers and readers. Their main sales point to publishers has been that there is no upfront costs to the publisher as they employ a revenue-share model. That makes having your magazIne on the platform a pretty easy decision. I also know of at least one digital-only publisher who has experimented with the platform for the same reason, supplying a PDF which ends up not really being a replica as there is no print version (plus the PDF can be designed to tablet specs, with properly sized fonts).

When tablets like the iPad went to so-called ‘retina’ displays, reading those PDF replicas got a little easier (depending on the fonts originally used for print), but there is less than can be done with smartphones. That’s why many platforms started coming up with solutions that took the text from the magazine stories and reformatted them for the smaller devices. That is essentially what Magzter is announcing below. It makes sense, it’s a great step forward.

Magzter’s new solution for smartphones current works on “more than 200 magazines” of the 8,200 magazines found in the digital newsstand. It’s a start.

What is sad is how few publishers, though, consider the reading experience of their digital customers. It is as if the only game in town remains print, and those digital readers are just an after thought. It makes you wonder if all this talk about thinking digital first, and mobile first, is just that – talk.

Making a magazine readable on any device shouldn’t be ‘revolutionary’ and neither is taking the text from a PDF that unique – PressReader was among the first to do so many years ago and others have done so since. But, as I said at the start, this is a good step forward, one I imagine readers will appreciate.

Here is the announcement from Magzter about their ezRead 2.0 initiative from yesterday (many TNM readers heard about it first yesterday when the iOS app was updated):

NEW YORK, NY – August 04, 2016 — With over 2 billion smartphones in the market, magazine publishers have always struggled to reach the smartphone audiences as magazines are not easily readable on a smartphone. To make a magazine compatible and responsive for a small screen requires a lot of effort. Magzter, the largest digital magazine store and newsstand in the world, introduces a game-changing new feature ezRead 2.0 in its latest app update. For the first time ever, smartphone users can enjoy magazine content the way it was meant to be enjoyed, with article text that is easy to read and is accompanied by stunning high resolution photography!

Magzter-iPadiPhoneMagzter’s new ezRead 2.0 revolutionizes the digital magazine experience by presenting magazine pages in responsive layouts that are automatically optimized for any size screen – smartphones as well as tablets. No longer is awkward panning and zooming required to read a digital magazine article on a small screen!

Magzter’s ezRead 2.0 isn’t simply a text-only view of a magazine page but is instead a beautiful presentation of the full magazine article, including all of the original photography, images and graphics along with the article text. Magzter’s ezRead 2.0 articles also make it easy for the reader to follow the important keywords associated with each article to discover additional articles on the same topics – and Magzter has further enhanced the digital reading experience by including a fully interactive Table of Contents in the magazines, making it easier than ever to find the articles you want to read!

Magzter carries more than 8,200 magazines from around the world and it became the world’s largest newsstand last year powered by its self service publishing tools and technologies. Magazine publishers are very excited about the launch of ezRead 2.0 as it enhances the readers’ experience and now magazines can reach billions of potential new users without the need to supply any new format of magazine to Magzter. Magzter automatically processes the PDF files supplied by the publishers to publish them in the app store in different formats including curated articles, ezRead mode for the magazine issues and publish the full magazines in normal layout.

Magzter has released ezRead 2.0 for more than 200 magazines including titles from Hearst Magazines, Newsweek, Forbes, American Media Inc., The Economist, Bauer Media, Dennis Publishing, India Today Group, Time Inc. (UK), SPH Magazines, MediaCorp and many other top publishers. In the next 2 months, Magzter would be introducing ezRead for more than 1000 magazines and readers can thoroughly enjoy the experience on their smartphones.

Also new in Magzter 6.8 is a fully personalized Articles section; now Magzter automatically curates beautiful responsive articles based on the interest categories readers select – so with Magzter, readers effortlessly see the articles they’re truly interested in and don’t have to go searching for them. Users can select from a wide assortment of interests such as Sports, Business, Entertainment and dozens more, and their selections can be easily edited at any time! Now more than ever, Magzter makes it easy to quickly find exactly what you want to read!

“Magzter was founded with a unanimous vision of becoming the world’s largest and most-loved reading destination and to reach this goal, we continue to push our boundaries and make Magzter a superior and more personalized product with each passing day. With the huge growth of smartphone usage globally as a reading device, Magzter’s ezRead 2.0 will be the new way magazines are consumed on the smaller screens of these smartphones. I, personally, have started reading more than ever since my iPhone is always in my hand unlike any other device, and I’m sure all our global customers will also benefit from this.” – Girish Ramdas, CEO, Magzter Inc.

“We see a significant growth on the smartphone users downloading our app and to offer a superlative and innovative digital reading experience, we decided to introduce ezRead 2.0, which will definitely be loved by magazine readers including millennials, who are always on the lookout to consume and share easy-to-read information on the go. The introduction of premium curated articles in January 2016 has helped our users discover, explore and engage with different genres of magazine content through our app and with ezRead 2.0, I am sure we are going to see exponential growth in premium magazine content readership.” – Vijay Radhakrishnan, President, Magzter Inc.

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