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How To Publish A Magazine Online

practical astronomy magazine january 2012
I have published an online magazine since 2009 and it’s been very worthwhile and rewarding.

This article and the ones following in this short series, will explain how you can also publish your own magazine.

Why Publish An Online Magazine?

Let’s first consider why you might want to:

  • You can provide useful information to people, in an attractive and entertaining format, that’s perceived valuable.
  • The magazine can be downloaded and read by people all over the World, with an effective zero cost of distribution.
  • People are starting to prefer magazines delivered digitally, for their likely lower cost and immediate delivery.
  • The packaging and formatting of the magazine can take advantage of recent devices like the iPad and provide people with a convenient and beautiful way of reading it anywhere.
  • An online magazine is a good way to build a worldwide subscriber base and this can be monetized.

 What File Format Should You Use?

The file format to use for an online magazine is Adobe PDF.

Most computers in the World have the Reader software installed, or are otherwise enabled to handle PDF documents.  Indeed, modern internet browsers like Google Chrome, display PDF’s directly.

Therefore, your readers will be able to read your magazine.

Also, the main point of a PDF file is to preserve the original layout and look of the document’s pages, so not only can readers open the magazine, they will also see the pages exactly as you intended.

But Is It Difficult To Produce A PDF Document?

No.  It’s now not difficult (or expensive) to make a PDF version of a document, ready for online distribution.

You don’t need high-end software to prepare the pages of your magazine and then package it as a PDF. Commonly-available document-making software will now do this easily and directly.

So What Software Should I Use?

I use the software program Pages on an Apple Mac.  It has some powerful page layout and template capabilities and will export the magazine as a PDF file, with one click.

An alternative is Open Office.  This can be downloaded free of charge and comes with component programs for spreadsheets and presentations, as well as documents.  The component that works with documents, Open Office Writer, also produces PDF’s with one click.

There is also Microsoft Office. I don’t use it myself, but believe that the 2010 version will also make PDF’s directly.  If you have the 2007 version, there is an official plugin available.

The next articles in this ‘Publish A Magazine Online’ series will look in detail at how to deliver the magazine from a website, encourage readers to subscribe, build a subscriber email list and monetization methods.

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