For several months now, we have been working on a special project: a digital version of Canadian Stamp News. It is, as they say, an idea whose time has come. We have been looking at digital publishing for a long time, and think the current solution has plenty to offer. The digital bookshelf has come of age. Our new product is basically an electronic version of what you now receive in print. The pages will look the same as the print version, and have the same content.
The big difference is that digital subscribers don’t have to wait for their issue to arrive via snail mail. I’d like to think that means a lot to those of you addicted to my prose, but I know it also means quick access to breaking news, and, of course, to the ads. Because the file is being viewed through the Internet, readers who see an ad they like can click on it to go directly to the firm’s website. Similarly, the email links shown in text are live, so you can send a letter to the editor just by clicking on my email address on page 4 and typing away. Another big advantage is portability. The digital version is available though the website of our “visual printer” Zinio. That means you can read Canadian Stamp News anywhere you have access to the Internet, which amounts to almost the entire planet today. You can read your issue at the nearest coffee shop, for example.
Canadian Stamp News is a large page publication with lots of small type. That means that while you can view the web page on a smartphone, it may not give you the warm, fuzzy feeling. Unless you have a telephone with a 15-inch screen, you will find yourself scrolling quite a bit. I’ve tried it, and while it may not be my first choice, it is possible. For now, the price of a digital version is the same as a print version. While it is true that we don’t have to pay to print electronic magazines, we have a number of additional costs that are unique to the digital format. You can convert from print to digital if you want, but readers who want both formats do receive a discount. There’s also a green aspect of course, since digital subscribers don’t consume paper. That’s good news for those of us who like to keep our carbon footprint as small as possible.
While the digital version will be pretty much the same as the print version, except for hot links inside ads and editorial content, I do believe that electronic content offers a much better experience for the reader. I’m not talking about gimmicks, such as virtual reality games that almost nobody plays. I see opportunities for enhanced content, or even content not really suited to print, being connected to these articles. Right now we’re at the early stage of a digital experience, but I’m quite sure it is just the start of a whole new way for you and me to share our love of stamps. For more information, go to www.canadianstampnews.ca.