20 questions to ask your magazine app supplier

Magazine publishers are keen to experiment with tablet editions, but are confused by the wide range of systems and contracts offered by the main suppliers.  It’s an important decision, especially if you opt for a revenue share model and are tied in for several years.  As well as the obvious questions on upfront costs and revenue splits, here’s a checklist of questions to ask your supplier, covering publishing options, pricing and promotion, data, commercial options and finances.

  1. Can I upload my PDF once and publish to android as well as apple?

  2. Can I add in my back issues for no extra charge?  What is the best way to promote back issues?

  3. What enhancement options are there eg video, gallery within the basic package?

  4. What training and support can you provide to editorial team on enhancing issues?

  5. What volume could I expect to sell? What is the experience of similar publishers?

  6. Can I add specials or one-offs as well as my regular publications?

  7. Can I offer free or discounted apps to my print subscribers as added value?

  8. How can I capture customer data?  What proportion of readers typically provide their details?

  9. Can I test short term promotions?  Eg price offers, free issues.  Can I do this from a back office?

  10. Will my app be included in Apple Newsstand?

  11. What cross promotional opportunities are there with other publishers using your platform?

  12. How can I maximise international sales – do you recommend local language editions?

  13. What third party newsstands should I participate in and is there an extra cost?

  14. What options are standard for push notifications?  What is best practice?

  15. When do I receive my revenue share on subscriptions?

  16. How are sales tax and vat handled?  Can I easily track transactions by country?

  17. Can I export data to my own email database?

  18. What is the minimum contract and notice period?

  19. What options exist for advertisers, eg video, links, custom ads?  What can other publishers charge a premium for?

  20. What are the costs of custom apps?

A good supplier should also be a wealth of information on the experiences of other publishers in similar markets.  A revenue share deal means they have a stake in your success, but if you think your app will fly then you may prefer to pay upfront and negotiate a lower revenue share.

If you have extra questions to add or tips to share – or want to recommend a particular supplier, then please comment below.

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About the author:  Carolyn Morgan works with niche publishers to develop a practical digital publishing strategy, across web, email, mobile and social media.   Read what media execs say about her work here.  Carolyn also runs workshops on Digital Publishing for PMA – more details here.  She writes for InPublishing and speaks at media conferences on the challenge of digital publishing.  As organiser of the Specialist Media Show she programmes the conference and runs the Media Pioneer Awards, which provides her with access to a wide range of innovative specialist media businesses.

If you’d like to discuss how to plan your digital publishing strategy, please get in touch for an initial discussion.