Adobe product manager Dave Dickson recently revealed on his blog that a forthcoming set of tools can act as the blueprint for publishing digital magazines when paired with Adobe’s InDesign software.
I believe this will be one of the year’s biggest success stories in digital publishing: the Wired magazine digital edition for the Apple iPad. Critics were awestruck by the elegant interactive layout of the digital edition, built using Adobe InDesign and a set of publishing tools. The results were hugely successful for Wired; the digital edition outsold the print edition while not cannibalizing the offline readership.
Why magazines look so much nicer than web pages
What made Wired’s digital edition so successful is they provided a magazine-quality spread on the Apple iPad. Most digital publishers use content management systems that are resource-intensive to set up and maintain. Since it’s cost-prohibitive to custom layout each article, many sites use the same template across all articles.
But in the print world, the process is simpler and designers do create custom layouts for each article. What Adobe revealed yesterday is that this new toolkit will make that same level of simplicity available for digital publication, while still maintaining online features such as interactive links and panning and zooming. The result is an interactive media experience that isn’t so aesthetically blah.
Adobe out in front
Adobe must be very bullish on the iPad if it’s setting up tools and a process for publication to a device that’s only four months old. Adobe also plans to roll out similar technology across other upcoming tablet devices such as the HP Slate, Dell Streakn or the ever-rumored Google / HTC tablet.
Contrast that to when Adobe lagged in page layout software in the 1990s. Adobe was still peddling antiquated Aldus Pagemaker, while competitor Quark, was dominating the market space. So much so that they announced their intentions to buy out Adobe.
Adobe rejected that offer, continuing to churn away at their own PageMaker replacement, and in 1999, Adobe InDesign launched and began Adobe’s displacement of Quark as the leader in the desktop publishing.
Now 11 years later, they are aggressively out in front announcing how to use their tools to publish to the next big thing in digital media and stealing all the spotlight from Quark, who two weeks ago announced pretty much the very same thing.
So what should the Fool do?
You tell us. As a publisher of digital newsletters, we’d like to know your thoughts. Would you be more enticed to read investing advice in Stock Advisor or the latest small-cap picks from Motley Fool Hidden Gems if it was made available to you in an elegant print fashion for your iPad, Kindle, or other favorite e-reader? Tell us your thoughts in comments.