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Friday Links Roundup, 7 February


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

AIGA 100 Years of Desgin

AIGA 100 Years of Desgin

The AIGA have a beautiful centenary website that celebrates the importance of design. Some beautiful, smooth transitions and great content.

News and Links

The Problem with Paywalls
Are paywalls going to get better? Interesting findings from Gannett’s latest earnings report

Adobe revises DRM timeline
Adobe change their position on their new DRM update.

A Step by Step Guide to Evaluating Your ePub Files on Kindles, iPads, and Smartphones
Testing on devices is hard, but the best way to experience what your readers will see.

Why Jason Kilar’s rumored “Hulu for magazines” startup probably isn’t going to work
"No one reads a magazine story over and over or returns to newspaper stories that they remember reading as a child"

4 ways to make a digital mag
Necessity, because nothing else does the job, audience interaction or because internet

eBook consumption and reading have gone up
But what does this mean for subscription and content sites?

This magazine company sold 4,721 subscriptions from its website…
Apple helped it sell only 600 & took a 30% cut

The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing
An extensive and detailed guide of advanced content marketing techniques available today.

Digital transformation: follow the money
Publishers should double-down on marketing services programs to help brands create compelling content.

The subtle differences between News apps
There’s lots of ways to get news, here’s a guide to the differences.

Rise of the Platishers
A horrible portmanteau describing publishers who are platforms, and how they are gaining popularity.

Friday Links Roundup, 31 January


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

This is Danny Pearl’s Final Story

This is Danny Pearl's Final Story

A clean and elegant structure, well suited to a very powerful story.

Planet Hillary

Planet Hillary

Shows off the NYT,s new, clean layout really well. Plus what a bonkers illustration!

News and Links

New Wearable from MIT’s Media Lab Wants to be the “Feelie” for Books
A Brave New World of sensory publishing

Can’t Read Your eBooks? Adobe’s New DRM Update Could be the Cause
DRM causing headaches and disrupting users again.

The 2014 Magazine Media Moguls’ Great Expectations As Told to Mr. Magazine™… Part 5 of 5
What are some of the largest magazine media companies expecting from 2014 in the world of magazine media? Find out!

Narrative erosion, paying for news, and more video
Nic Newman’s 2014 media and tech predictions

What The Longform Backlash Is All About
Taking the best of the magazine craft online. And leaving the rest on paper.

Digital Magazine Publishing Best Practices Are Still Evolving
Looking ahead, 2014 will surely include new technologies and Best Practices

Ezra Klein Is Joining Vox Media as Web Journalism Asserts Itself
After a week of speculation, it turns out that Ezra Klein, the prolific creator of The Washington Post’s Wonkblog, will be going to Vox Media. (Paywall)

The California Sunday Magazine
Check out the next media project from the makers of Pop-Up Magazine

Google plans to dump Adobe CSS tech to make Blink fast, not rich
CSS Regions, integrated in the WebKit era, now up for removal.

and this is import because…?

CSS Regions Matter
SS Regions are not a layout feature—they’re a fragmentation feature that allows us to control or change the flow of content across containers in a page, or across pages.

Nomad Magazine defines the Wild West character of the Apple Newsstand and the issue of discoverability
Unlike a gumbo, where are the ingredients blend together to create something great, the Newsstand is simply a mess.

The Ebook Market in 2013
The Bookseller ran its annual review of the year today, including volume sales for ebooks disclosed by the big five trade publishers.

Really simple epub checking workflow

Use one folder to unpack, repack and validate your epub files

Dropbox, Scripts & Terminal icons

This is a handy way to quickly validate epub files on your Mac, (Mac only, I’m afraid) and preview them in iBooks.

Validating an epub file is a real pain, as it’s such a particular and unforgiving format. Browsers can be pretty forgiving about misplaced closing tags or poor HTML nesting, but .epub readers aren’t, often shutting down at the point where an error occurs.

Solving validation errors is a whole book in itself, never mind a blog post, but here’s a simple workflow and set of tools that you can have in one folder to make the process (relatively) painless.


You’ll need the following apps and scripts to make this work, but all are free.

  1. Dropbox (for storage and easily transferring files)
    You can sign up here if you don’t have an account, or use my affiliate link
  2. Terminal (for running epubcheck)
    Don’t panic if you’ve never used this before, it’s less complicated than it looks. 
  3. epubcheck (for validating .epub files)
    This is a Java tool for validation. It uses Terminal, but it’s really simple once it’s set up. Download the latest version.
  4. Epub Unzip (for unpacking .epub files)
    Available from this forum thread, as is the script below.
  5. Epub Zip (for repacking .epub files)
    Both scripts available from this forum thread. Scripts created by Dan Rodney



  1. Make a folder in Dropbox called “epubcheck” (or anything really)
  2. Download epubcheck, epubunzip and epubzip and copy the contents into this folder. It should look like this:



  1. Drag your .epub file into the folder (assume it’s called mybook.epub)
  2. Open Terminal and go to the epubcheck folder on Dropbox. (Tip: Just type “cd” and drag the folder into the terminal window to save time) - see animation below…

    terminal folder finder

  3. Type java -jar epubcheck-3.0.1.jar mybook.epub, and take note of all the errors.
  4. Drag mybook.epub onto ePub UnZip 1.0 - this will unpack your epub into its component files, allowing you to fix your errors.
  5. Fix as many errors as you can!
  6. Drag the mybook folder onto ePub Zip 1.0.3 - this will convert it pack into an epub, and save over the old file.
  7. Repeat until you are error free.
  8. On your iPad, open mybook.epub in Dropbox, and choose the option to open in iBooks. This will let you preview it on an actual device.

Step 5 (fixing the errors) is obviously the toughest part of all this, but hopefully these steps will make it fairly painless to get to the root of the errors rather than trying to find them in the first place.

We’re working on making it really simple to create your own publications and have them look great everywhere, so if there’s any way we can help, please let us know!

Friday Links Roundup - 24 January


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

2014 Gates Annual Letter

2014 Gates Annual Letter

An elegantly designed and informative letter about poverty and aid.

News and Links

Native Advertising Predicted To Dominate Digital In 2014
"We believe native ads are quickly becoming the de facto ad format on mobile and increasingly moving into desktop"

Looking for a publishing-related podcast?
Check out the Mediatwits weekly podcast from Mediashift

The Many Platforms of Multiplatform Publishers
Niche publishers have seen great success in multiplatform publishing.

Digital Magazine Publishing Best Practices Are Still Evolving
Some thoughts on best practices for 2014.

The Verge’s OS-responsive exploration of “Fanboys”
The making of Fanboys, an OS-responsive piece.

More Americans Now Reading Ebooks
And 32% of ebook readers are reading on their phones.

Friday Links Roundup - 17 January


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

Is This Thing On?

Is This Thing On?

Why audio content never goes viral. Lovely header illustration.

Rounded by Gravity: Colophon

Rounded by Gravity: Colophon

A really interesting experiment in reproducing a book layout for the web.

The Hidden Man

The Hidden Man

America saw Stephen Hill’s face for 15 seconds. It took him a lifetime to show it. Some beautiful black and white photography.

Reviews and Predictions

Digital publishing: the experts’ view of what’s next
Predictions for 2014

2013: The Year in Interactive Storytelling
Great storytelling from the NYT over the past year

News and Links

New digital-only photography magazine offers readers an Apple Newsstand app, as well as Mac and Windows apps
Great review of a multi=platform magazine

What Kind of Apps Do People Want?
Free, quality content with a smoothly-functioning interface is the key.

Growth Tactics That Work
Marketing strategies that are growing the I-5 Publishing’s enthusiast titles.

Self-Publishing: It Takes a Village
Thanks to the digital and online tools available today, quality writing that might never have had a chance is out in the world.

Massive magazines on tiny screens
Putting magazines on the phone delivers “Phenomenal cosmic reach, itty bitty reading space.”

and on the other hand…

2014: The year we all go 4K
Sub-$1000 4K displays and how they relate to responsive web design.

The Association of Magazine Media says 2013 showed growth for magazine media across platforms
It was an up year for consumer magazine publishers in the U.S

Yahoo Launching Digital Magazines, Starting With Food
Yahoo is getting into the magazine business.

Facebook Could Launch Its Flipboard-Like News Reader This Month
Facebook looks like it is finally going to launch in the coming weeks a news reading service built for mobile devices.


CSS Blend Modes could be the next big thing in Web Design
Blending images on the web

A useful set of utilities to improve web typography

Where the best designers go to find photos and graphics
A nice collection of resources for imagery

Friday Links Roundup - 13 December


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

NPR: Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt

NPR: Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt

NPR produce a rich and educational piece on how t-shirts are made, with great use of video.

Behind the Bloodshed

Behind the Bloodshed

USA Today produces a very in-depth report on mass killings in the United States, with a wealth of data to explore. Read about the techniques and tech involved in how Behind the Bloodshed was made.

Use Only As Directed

Use Only As Directed

A very detailed long read on the active ingredient in Tylenol. Some great use of popups for citations and easy twitter links for key takeaways.

In the Belly of the Beast

In the Belly of the Beast

A Rolling Stone investigation into animal cruelty. Interesting use of animation to drive home key points.

News and Links

Let it Bleed
The importance of imagery and its relationship to writing in web design.

The Amazon Kindle Numbers That Jeff Bezos Must Really Care About
Interesting insight - Kindle owners spend $1,233 per year on Amazon compared to $790 per year for Amazon shoppers who don’t own one.

Exposure turns your photo sets into stunning graphic stories
A beautiful tool for rich photographic storytelling

New York Times Expects Digital Ad Growth in 2014
Native Ads Will Help Fuel the Gains

Digital Magazine Circulation Soars
The total number of digital magazines downloaded every week has increased almost sevenfold from 300,000 per week in the last quarter of 2011 to around 2 million per week.

Google Play Newsstand: Taking Digital Magazine Publishing a Step Beyond
A review of the Google Play Newsstand.

Digital Advertising: All talk and no (inter)action
Why aren’t digital ads doing more?

Jessica Lessin talks about paywalls, The Information and the virtues of knowing who your audience is
Jessica Lessin talks about the motivation behind The Information and why she chose to go with a hard paywall model

Friday Links Roundup - 3 December


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

No Girls Allowed

No Girls Allowed

Polygon’s beautifully illustrated essay on girls and video gaming.

News and Links

Long on Cutting Edge of Print, New York Magazine Cuts Back
The New York Times Magazine cuts back on frequency.

Out of Print, Maybe, but Not Out of Mind
How the book is surviving online

What’s happening at Bloomberg is the logical extension of a paywall-focused media business
Bloomberg focusing on its business customers.

How NPR lures younger digital audiences
NPR are attracting a new, younger, audience online.

How NonProfit News Ventures Seek Sustainability
How 18 organizations raise and spend money.

What’s in a Story?
The importance and power of storytelling.

How we turned a world record in journalism crowd-funding into an actual publication
About Dutch journalism startup De Correspondent

Curbed Seeks Longform Journalism—Here’s How to Pitch
Curbed are looking for writers.

Friday Links Roundup - 29 November


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

Animals Were Harmed

Animals were harmed

An investigation into animal welfare in the movie industry - clever use of share tools with the quotes.

News and Links

Survival of the fittest: growth of digital makes it hard for secondary magazines to survive
Why it’s more difficult to be number two in the age of digital magazines.

Q&A: The Guardian’s Gabriel Dance on new tools for story and cultivating interactive journalism
An interview with one of the interactive editors of the Guardian U.S., who recently created NSA:Files Decoded.

Four Journalism offers courses teaching practical news-application projects

Friday Links Roundup - 1 November


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

NSA Files


The Guardian produces a fantastic mix of text, video, and infographics that examines the meanings and outcomes of the NSA surveillance revelations.

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News and Links

iPads Hold a Staggering 94% of the Education Market for Tablets

Apple claims that iPads hold a 94% share of the education tablet market.

Kindle Singles and the future of ebooks

Some interesting thoughts on Kindle Singles and short-form content.

Why iBooks for Mac matters

The latest (free) update to OSX brings with it iBooks for Mac, so it’s now simple to read epub files on your Mac.

Multi-Device Adaptation vs. Optimization

Luke Wroblewski talks about how both work and how they both make sense.