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Friday Link Roundup - 21 March


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

The Game that Saved march Madness

The Game that Saved march Madness

Great use of overlays on top of videos and images. Really nice chapter markers and a very subtle progress bar too.

News and Links

Chief Digital Officers - taking business from old school into the digital world
An interview with Tanya Cordrey, CDO at The Guardian.

Tech gives strugglers the confidence to read more
How ebooks are helping give some readers confidence.

FiveThirtyEight, a data driven news website, launches.
See it here - fivethirtyeight.com/

Inside the Guardian’s CMS: meet Scribe, an extensible rich text editor
Looking for a rich text editor? Scribe is based on HTML’s contentEditable attribute.

Spring cleaning? Upgrade your eBook reader
Get $20 from Amazon to trade in your old device.

Friday Links Roundup, 7 March


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

The Interactive Sound of The Smiths

The Interactive Sound of The Smiths

A great example of a timeline-style story, with smooth animation on scrolling and clever 3D card-style transitions.

News and Links

Rupert Murdoch believes in print media
Murdoch remains a believer – arguably the last believer – in print.

PBS MediaShift helps bolster journalism education
MediaShift Launches EducationShift to Move Journalism Education Forward

The Starte of the News Media 2013
Analysis and statistics from the Pew Research Center, including this report on News Magazines: Embracing their Digital Future.

Does anybody read books the right way any more?
Are your digital reading habits affecting how rewarding your reading experience is?

Best headline about a paywall ever
We won’t spoil it for you.

Financial Times achieves critical mass in digital
Digital advertising and subscriptions, coupled with services, now account for 55 percent of all revenue.

Friday Links Roundup, 28 February


This week we look at…

News and Links

Why live video won’t save the news biz
Creating quality live television is expensive and much harder than it looks.

Indie Publisher: The New Publishing Entrepreneur
Most writers don’t want to be businesspeople. But if you self-publish, that’s what you become.

The sorry state of ebook search results
Why is ebook search so poor?

The plague of uniform rectangles with text overlays spreads further
News sites are starting to feel a little similar

Print versus digital become irrelevant the longer time goes by and the technology improves
Today, most publishers see digital not so much as a way to produce new products but as a way to save old ones.

2013 eBook Cover Design Winners
There’s still a great deal of innovation to explore in ebook covers, and I keep thinking that simplification is eventually going to win out.

New EpubTest Website Tracks Epub3 Support
Ever 120B42C8d01_pic0007[1]wonder just how many Epub3 features are supported by your favorite ebook platform? Thanks to a new website, you can now find out.

The Financial Times breaks the law of large numbers
Digital subscriptions soar, putting paid circulation at a record.

Friday Links Roundup, 21 February


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

Abbey Theatre Resource Pack: Sive

Abbey Theatre Resource Pack: Sive

A beautiful educational resource on John B. Keane’s 'Sive' designed using Woopie by Zero-G

News and Links

Should The New York Times become a platisher?
Can publishers like The Times become platishers? Should they? (also, yes, it’s a horrible name)

Cheap Words
Amazon is good for customers. But is it good for books?

People-Powered Publishing Is Changing All the Rules
An increasing proportion of authors now actively choose to self-publish their work, giving them better control over their books’ rights, marketing, distribution and pricing.

Is Marc Andreessen right about what is holding the media industry back?
Venture investor Marc Andreessen talks about what has been holding the traditional media industry back from success in moving to digital

NY Times Now Boasts 760,000 Digital Subscribers
Revenue from digital-only subscribers jumped 36% in 2013

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) - Reviewed
A very thorough look at what it takes to get your title on KDP.

The Nook Touch has gone to live in the great big library in the sky
Barnes & Noble Discontinues the Nook Touch

Have you seen The Intercept yet?
It’s the new venture by Glenn Greenwald & Laura Poitras, published by Pierre Omidyar

"The Report" - fascinating breakdown of sales/prices/gross$ with lots of data on over 50,000 titles on Amazon

"The Report" - fascinating breakdown of sales/prices/gross$ with lots of data on over 50,000 titles on Amazon
It’s no great secret that the world of publishing is changing. What is a secret is how much.

Thinking about trying KDP Select?
For February, the KDP Select Global Fund amount is $1.2 million.

Friday Links Roundup, 14 February


Happy Valentine’s Day! This week we look at…

News and Links

Amazon Tests Kindle in Latin America
Amazon Inc. started selling its Kindle online in Brazil on Friday

The term “digital magazines” may sound kind of dumb, but First Look Media’s approach is not
First Look Media has launched The Intercept from Glenn Greenwald — the first of what it calls a family of “digital magazines.”

Are you a “digital magazine”, a “personal francise”, or something else altogether?
What you call yourself may matter.

The line between platform & publishers is blurring
Who wins and who loses?

March is Read an Ebook month
Your chance to check it out & see if it might be for you (though if you;re reading this you probably are!)

Simply re-packaging magazine content in digital formats will only get you so far
Dennis & Future looking beyond

When information glides by too frictionlessly, we’re liable to find it harder both to understand and to retain
Stop trying to make the web look ‘beautiful’ – I’ve forgotten it already

40 years of ebooks
An infographic

Some great apps for your smartphone
Wonderful experiences & excellent content

Why is Mark Andreessen optimistic about the news business & its evolution?
While Andreessen isn’t actually involved in the media industry directly, he had some interesting thoughts about it.

What Digital Magazines Do To Voluntarily Deter Readers

A while back, I did some research on what happens when you don’t think about accessibility for your magazine. The results speak for themselves: 

If your digital strategy involves a PDF-to-iPad conversion tool, there’s a very high chance that what you present to over 10% of your potential audience is a black box. 

These videos were created to show the frustrating experience of trying to use an accessibility tool like VoiceOver to read a digital magazine. It’s very painful. 

Respect Your Readers

Accessibility is about respect. Respecting readers means making covers that users can get past. It means making sure text size is alterable for people who might need to bump up the fonts on small screens. It is paying attention to contrast and colors so that content is easy-to-read for those with vision impairment. 

Respecting readers also means giving them options. If your audience includes busy commuters, offering an audio version is an enhancement that keeps them hands-free and safe on the road. A responsive HTML version provides the option to start reading something on a laptop in the office and read the rest of it on a phone on the way home. An eReader version means if someone wants to read on a Kindle with no distractions, it’s possible.

Ensuring a publication is accessible enables these scenarios and more, and it also helps to keep content future-proofed as readers upgrade devices and change operating systems. 

Will your publication be readable on Google Glass or will it stay a Flash-based, page-turn relic? 

Learn More: 

For more about how to get started with accessible publications and things to think in mind, check out this article I wrote for .net magazine (now Creative Bloq): 10 Great Ways to Make Your Content Portable and Accessible

Or sign up for Woopie to create beautiful documents and publications that work across any platform and device: Sign up for Woopie 

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.