According to Wikipedia, Digital Magazines Do Not Exist

While conducting research for this column I came across some interesting, yet startling facts. First, the interesting: there has been quite a bit of buzz in the digital publishing arena recently:

  • Kobo announces a proprietary digital newsstand.
  • Rakuten continues its acquisition streak, most recently purchasing PopShops from Seattle.
  • Jeff Bezos buys The Washington Post.
  • Even Mr. Magazine points to 60 special magazines that hit the market in print and digital during August.

According to the Mequoda Group, over 65 percent of all magazines have a digital version (get the free download here).

Yes, digital magazine awareness, readership, engagement, and even advertising is up.

Now the startling news. With over 13 years of history and growing, Wikipedia shows this entry when you search for digital magazine(s):

The page “Digital magazine” does not exist. You can ask for it to be created, but consider checking the search results below to see whether the topic is already covered.

How can this be? A few variations of digital magazine exist, including: digital edition, and even online edition, but neither captures the essence and volume of activity or realistic state of the digital publishing industry. None of the articles speak to the technology platforms that are growing as a result of offering such rich, engaging, and high-quality content. There are no mentions of how digital magazines are creating alterative ecosystems by supporting in-app/in-edit purchasing, or full-page advertisements. It seems crazy to me.

The past decade has shown a credible rise in consumer interest for reading and accessing content digitally. Higher engagement rates, increased time spent accessing each issue, interest in advertising, and more.

Isn’t it time that we came together as an industry to create a positive sense of awareness for our industry?

Here are three things that I think any professional in the digital publishing/digital magazine space can do to help elevate our stance:

  1. Start a Wikipedia page about digital magazines, with an accurate description that speaks to each step in the production, distribution, subscription, and engagement process. Something that pays homage to the pioneers in the space, while applauding the innovators and encouraging more like them.
  2. Create a global “digital reading” day, where a number of partners from every aspect of digital publishing will work together to enable increased digital reading in a way that supports and encourages education and sustainability.
  3. Create universal standards. We have heard the promises of various organizations looking to release universal standards for digital reading. We have yet to see them come into play. It’s about time we all worked toward the same goals.

If Wikipedia doesn’t recognize a set of words frequently discussed by two industries, how can we ever gain massive consumer adoption?

Contact me if you would like to discuss any of these ideas or add your own.

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

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