Converting a Print Magazine Into an App

My company has a magazine that comes out 6 times a year. It is available in print and online, but we would like to branch out to tablet. We want this to get away from print-costs, and to widen our reach. However, we are a small organization, with a database of roughly 30,000 individuals, about half of whom are members.

An app is appealing for the following reasons:

  • It puts us in the App store (Apple or Google-play), reaching out to more folks
  • People who don’t want to carry around magazines might download the magazine for reading on the train (our base is DC/NY/Chicago)
  • An app would make us seem more “with the times”
  • We might get a sponsor for the entire magazine-app
  • An app on the user’s screen is constant advertising for us
  • An app, as opposed to using the website, frees the user from needing an internet connection

I know how to program, however, dealing with Apple makes me want to drink. It takes up to 6 weeks to get an app approved; they change code every year; they are picky about what actually gets approved; if I need to edit something, I might have to wait yet another 6 weeks…it never ends.

So I have compared various platforms for putting a print magazine on tablets.

The overall number product is Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. It is widely used; there are ample resources; reputable brands use it. The main con is the price.

If you are not a publishing house and do not have the volume of Condé Nast, Mag+ is probably the next best option. They use many of the same features of Adobe DPS, reputable brands use them, but it is not as expensive.

While I am still filling this in, below is a guide of multiple options.

Product Pros Cons Used By Cost
Adobe Digital Publishing Suite
  • Easy conversion from InDesign to mobile device
  • Can go on iOS, Android, BB
  • Widely used and supported
  • App-store
  • Newsstand (Apple)
  • In-app library of previous subscriptions
  • Stays on the device (don’t need to keep an internet connection)
  • Based off InDesign
  • Learning curve
  • Have to reflow the InDesign files
  • Condé Nast
  • $5,940 annually
  • $5,400 training (1-time)
  • $6,600 annual support (or $300 an hour)
  • $ 17 ,940 TOTAL 1st year
  • $12,540 following
  • App-store
  • In-app library of previous subscriptions
  • Stays on the device
  • Based off InDesign
  • HQ in Sweden
  • Mad Magazine
  • Bloomberg Markets+
  • Macworld
  • $399/month ONE device
  • +$99/month for ONE ADDITIONAL device
  • +$199/month for ALL devices
  • App-store
  • In-app library of previous subscriptions
  • Newsstand
  • No real reputable brand using it
  • Grapevine Digital
  • Hagerstown
  • Skidmark
  • $3,000 per platform (up to 4 issues a year)
  • $7,000 per platform (up to 12 issues a year)
Basic Apple app
  • In the app-store
  • No more research, I know how to do it
  • Stays on the device
  • No Newsstand
  • Takes as long as 6 weeks for approval
  • And modifications take up to 6 weeks
  • Apple only / no Android
  • Time-consuming
Nothing extra (but the time to develop it). I would do 100% of it.
  • Multi-platform
  • HQ in France
  • They provide NO contact number
Price includes 2-days of training and 5 support tickets, but they do not mention what the actual price is!
  • Seems to be PDF-based
Good Food
  • In Newsstand
  • iPad ONLY
  • Not much support
  • Not widely used
  • Bad reviews
  • Integrates with database
  • PDF based (like texterity)
  • No reflow of text
  • AAA Living
  • AOPA (Aviation from Berliand)
  • Uptime
  • North Carolina Travel
$15,000-ish setup


(based off AOPA costs)



*NOTE: While I state that foreign companies are a con, I am not against other countries. However, I have a responsibility to my members, and require immediate attention. If I cannot easily get a hold of the vendor, there will be problems.


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