Looking to Offer Magazine in .Pdf format
August 21, 2009 7:02 PM   Subscribe

I work with a smallish (circ under 5,000) magazine that's considering offering subscriptions in .pdf. Anyone out there using any kind of program for something like this? How's it working for you? NOTE: We already offer individual .pdf issues, but we want to be able to offer the option for all issues in a given year going to the subscriber without their having to request them individually.
posted by KathMuse to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
One approach would be to create a subscriber-only area of your site, then use FlashPageFlip to offer an attractive, interactive way for the subscriber to leaf through each issue you offer. It's very easy, you just upload your pages and it creates a virtual magazine out of them. Here's my magazine in FlashPageFlip. You can do it with higher resolution pages as well.
posted by dacoit at 7:47 PM on August 21, 2009

Oops, here's that second link.
posted by dacoit at 7:48 PM on August 21, 2009

Are you wanting to have a server-side application that will serve custom pdfs? Or do you want to compile all the monthly issues into on large annual issue served from a static page? Please don't offer a worse-than pdf solution like a flash app in a browser (sorry, dacoit).
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 8:44 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Can I just add my voice to those against an online Flash-based PDF viewer? They tend to be slow and unwieldy, and a massive annoyance.
posted by djgh at 10:12 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

There are numerous PDF libraries (like PDFlib) that support loading one or more PDF files and combining them in different ways (like plucking out pages and merging pages into a single document). You should be able to find one for the web development language you use, and possibly an open source (free) one at that. One difference to be aware of between libraries is that some only generate PDF documents (not useful in your situation) whereas others can actually read, modify, combine and then save them out again.

Another benefit of using a library is that you can individually stamp the documents (with something to the effect of "Prepared exclusively for Kath Muse") as a minor disincentive to people placing the files back up on the web.

I agree that the online readers are annoying. I used NewsStand for years but gave up once they began to offer online reader only publications (even though the old reader was a locked down custom PDF reader).
posted by ianbanks at 10:29 PM on August 21, 2009

What do you mean by "going to the subscriber"? Do you want a solution that emails them each issue (or a link to it) as soon as it is published? Or just a payment/authentication system that means one payment can provide access to multiple issues?

Anyway, two of the common commercial solutions for serving flash views of magazines are teterity and pagesuite. While these interfaces can be annoying, both systems allow you to let subscribers download PDFs.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 7:43 AM on August 22, 2009

Subscribers can currently only receive a paper copy of the magazine. We'd like them to be able to subscribe to a year's worth of issues, for example, but be able to download them as .pdfs. An e-mail would be great, but we're also willing to send out an e-mail ourselves if we need to. The payment authentication system also sounds interesting, as we currently allow subscribers to subscribe to up to three years of the publication at once.
posted by KathMuse at 1:37 PM on August 23, 2009

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