Issue Centric Publishing - What Is It and Who Needs It


Are issues and editions just for print? Even without print, the issue concept can be an attractive way to organize, present, and deliver content.

Essentially an issue is a collection of content that can be connected to a time, period or theme. In an online or digital world, the content collection can include articles, images, audio, video, and other rich media, and it can be customized for a subscriber to show different priorities or different versions of articles, and distributed over multiple mediums.

An issue centric approach goes beyond the popular print centric digital editions. Print publications are generally limited by production factors and costs for customization. Print digital editions are in turn limited by the underlying print publication. Costs are incurred for each print publication produced, and often digital editions require new print versions for even simple adjustments like landscape versus portrait views on a tablet. Digital editions extend print but don't reach the potential of what Issue centric publishing can really offer in a digital world.

With Issue centric publishing approach, content is pliable and has an unlimited reuse potential with delivery via current and future digital mediums. For example web, email newsletter, mobile app, mobile web, tablet, and even print. As new mediums evolve, just add a display and the content from past issues can immediately adapt.

In the continuous publishing model used by most web sites the concept of issue or edition may seem out of place, and not all publications are going to find a need for issue centric publishing. However, publishers with set periodic updates, e-magazines, micro sites, branded content, and others will benefit from an Issue centric approach. Also any publication that currently has a digital edition will want to use issue centric publishing even if the print version should cease.

There are several fundamental usability and economic advantages to delivering content via an issue. For one an issue offers an informational efficiency for the reader. The reader who receives an email with summaries of articles or a notification of an update has the latest news that the publisher wants the subscriber to have. There is no need to hover around a web site checking for new articles, or worrying about missing an important update. It also presents the reader with a sense of cohesiveness to see all the content together in a form that is easier to process.

From the publishers perspective issues can be easier to manage and an attractive revenue source. Issue centric publishing fits well with the natural work flows of editors and sales. Issues also offer unique advertising and sponsorship opportunities, with sponsorships by theme and attributable to a collection of content.

Delivering content in the form of an issue has value that goes beyond print. In fact, much of the perceived value of print relative to digital may actually be attributable to the issue paradigm. The print medium can stand or fade for individual publishers. But regardless of the position of print, the issue concept is likely to endure.

Xtenit fully supports issue centric publishing. Making it easy to organize content into issues and to automatically deliver issues over multiple mediums like email, web, mobile, and e-readers.

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