Best Digital Publishing Platforms for Magazines in 2017

There has been an explosion of digital publishing platforms that allow you to get your digital magazine up and running in a matter of minutes. While it’s a highly competitive space with many awesome solutions, to choose the right platform for your magazine you need to know exactly what you’re looking for.

How do you compare the best platforms for digital magazine publishing? While it really depends on your needs, here are some of the common factors that might go into that decision:

  • Do you want to design a magazine from scratch or upload your existing PDFs?
  • Do you want a native iOS or Android app, or do you just want to be featured in larger newsstands?
  • How do you plan on making money from your magazine? Do you want to sell subscriptions, or standalone issues?
  • Do you require detailed analytics to inform your marketing?
  • And perhaps most importantly, how much do you want to spend?

If you haven’t had a look at our in-depth post on how to choose from the many digital publishing platforms, head over and read that first.

For the scope of this article, we’re restricting the discussion to mobile-friendly platforms. However, if you’re looking for a web app, there are some great options like Readz and ZMags, which we’ll review in another post.

We’re covering both solutions that offer complete truly standalone digital publishing software as well as InDesign plugins.

Issuu

One of the most popular names in the digital magazine space, Issuu’s platform actually has quite a few disadvantages. The reason it made the list is because it’s one of the best places to list your magazine in terms of the audience it’ll have. Issuu has a truly enviable catalog, with thousands of top quality independent publishers, and an enthusiastic community of magazine lovers.

Beyond that, it’s far from your ideal solution. You don’t have the ability to create your own app, the only way people can access your content is through Issuu’s catalog. Worse still is the fact that you can only upload PDFs.

This means your magazines are not only limited to static content, they also aren’t responsive to your readers’ screen sizes, making it a really unpleasant experience to read on mobile. If you want to know more, read our post on why PDFs are a bad choice for digital magazines.

If you want a truly interactive digital magazine, with videos, animations, and sounds, Issuu is not the right choice.

PressPad

If you’re looking for a hassle-free workflow to turn your existing PDFs into native iOS and Android apps, PressPad is a great option.

The primary disadvantage is the inability to add interactivity. While a pocket-friendly plan starts at $99/month, you only get an iOS app, with PressPad branding. Another disadvantage is you don’t publish apps using your own developer account, which isn’t ideal if you want a lot of customization.

Joomag

Joomag is one of the best overall digital publishing solutions. Start from scratch to design a beautiful digital magazine, or upload your existing PDFs.

Their Crater Online Editor is one of the best in the business, as is their integration of CRM. and they also have great flexibility in terms of monetization options.  

However, your published content isn’t responsive, which is a major drawback.

Mag+

Mag+ is one of the most dependable digital publishing platforms out there. It comes highly recommended by Mequoda, one of the definitive sources of news related to the digital publishing scene.

If you are a professional publisher with a significant budget to work with, Mag+ is a great option. However at $699/month for the business plan, it’s not an affordable option for many independent publishers.

Paperlit

Paperlit is the platform of choice for huge publishers like Conde Nast and Wired.

MagLoft

We have some genuinely great competitors in the digital publishing space, and depending on your needs some of you might prefer the alternatives. But our overall value proposition has a definite advantage over the rest.

In digital publishing, you often end up needing a whole stack of different tools to do everything you want. We wanted a truly comprehensive digital publishing solution, so we packed all the features you would want, in one easy to use tool.

Design a magazine from scratch using our state of the art Typeloft editor, a beautiful drag-n-drop WYSIWYG editor. Alternatively upload your existing PDF, or HPUB (read how to turn your InDesign files into HPUBs). Add videos, GIFs, animations, and more to your magazine with a few clicks.

Once you have your media-rich interactive digital magazine ready, publish it to fully branded native iOS, Android, and web apps. Get detailed analytics full of actionable insights on your magazine’s performance.

Create, publish, and distribute your digital magazine in one place for just $99/month.