fbpx

Digital literature

Railway Age magazine has been published since 1856, making
it one of the oldest trade publications in the country. But technology from a
five-year-old Lancaster
County company is giving
the rail-industry journal a new look – one that brings more ad revenue, more
flexibility and, hopefully, a few more readers.

Railway Age magazine has been published since 1856, making
it one of the oldest trade publications in the country. But technology from a
five-year-old Lancaster
County company is giving
the rail-industry journal a new look – one that brings more ad revenue, more
flexibility and, hopefully, a few more readers.

Railway Age uses Nxtbook Media of Lancaster to put a digital edition on the
magazine’s Web site every month.

“The intent is to broaden our reach,” said William Vantuono,
editor of Chicago-based Railway Age. “We can do more with a digital edition. We
provide Web site links for advertisers and better searchability. It gives us
immediacy, but it doesn’t replace print. It’s a supplement to print, and many
publishers are choosing both.”

Visitors to Railway Age’s Web site can flip through the
publication’s pages just as they would with a printed magazine. Readers can
zoom in to make the print larger, and a reader who wants to learn more about an
advertiser such as Railcomm can simply click on that company’s ad and go
directly to the Web site. And it all happens without ink or paper.

Every month, Railway Age supplies its niche audience with
information on running railroads more profitably and efficiently, as well as
advertisements from businesses that serve the rail industry.

Nxtbook Media is considerably younger than Railway Age.
Spencer Ewald founded the company in 2003, and he later sold it to three former
partners in Reprint Management Services of Lancaster, Michael Biggerstaff,
Roxanne Edwards and Jim Lewis. Ewald remains Nxtbook’s president. Nxtbook has
already outgrown its original location and moved to a brightly renovated building
on New Holland Avenue.

Business is growing around 3-5 percent a month, said Marcus
Grimm, Nxtbook’s director of marketing. Customers include magazines, tourist
bureaus and the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The chamber has
placed its vision of Lancaster
County’s future, entitled
“Connections, A Business and Community Resource Guide 2008,” on its Web
site.

“We launched ‘Connections’ in February, and the numbers look
great,” said Cheryl Irwin, chamber vice president. “We’ve also gotten very positive
responses from readers.”

Irwin said the partnership between Nxtbook and the chamber
seemed like a logical fit because the chamber is positioning Lancaster County
as a leader in business, and Nxtbook is a strong example of the new ideas and
innovative thinking that are common in the county.

Like Railway Age, the Lancaster
chamber’s publications are “controlled-circulation” editions. That means print
editions are free for people in the railroad industry and for Lancaster chamber members.

Connections, however, exists only on the Web. In April, the
chamber posted its monthly newsletter on its Web site for the first time. Irwin
said the chamber is uncertain whether it will continue to print the newsletter.

Controlled-circulation publications are Nxtbook’s target
audience. Another company, Zinio, uses similar technology for consumer
magazines, but a major difference in their business models is that San
Francisco-based Zinio’s customers pay for magazines such as Sports Illustrated.

Grimm said cost is a major factor for many publishers in
choosing to publish a digital edition. Savings on printing and postage can be
substantial. It costs about $1,500 to create a typical NXTBook, he said.

One fertile source of customers has been American magazines
with significant overseas readerships. Besides the cost savings, the magazines
enjoy a huge improvement in delivery time.

“We can turn around a PDF in three to five days, basically
the same as a printer,” Grimm said. And when the Nxtbook is finished, it’s
available immediately in digital form, while a printed copy can take a month to
reach an overseas reader, he added.

Tony Silber, editor of Folio, a magazine for publishing
professionals, sees the market for Nxtbook’s technology increasing.

“It’s definitely growing rapidly,” he said. “We’re hearing
reader demand.”

He also said he hasn’t been able to quantify exactly how
fast digital editions are growing.

“(We’re) still trying to find the real numbers,” Silber
said. “I wish the suppliers would put out some statistics.”

Silber said online editions have significant attractions for
readers, publishers and advertisers.

“The cost of online is on the publishers’ side,” he said.
“Readers like online’s multimedia aspects, and advertisers like it because ads
stay where they are, and readers can link directly to an advertiser’s Web site.
It’s really the best of both worlds.”

For Jim Castanzo, Nxtbook’s technology offers exciting new
opportunities for his clients and his friends. By day, Castanzo is executive
vice president and partner at Godfrey Advertising in Lancaster. By evening, he’s a co-president of
the Lancaster Road Runners Club, and his introduction to Nxtbook’s technology
was a presentation by Grimm, who also happens to be a runner.

Nxtbook produced a digital edition of the LRRC’s newsletter
for the club’s Web site, and Castanzo is enthusiastic about using the new
medium for his clients.

“We’re always looking for a new ‘touch point’ for our
customers,” he said. “And the price is attractive. In fact, Duane Dagen (sales
representative for Nxtbook) is going to make a presentation to the staff at
Godfrey.”

Vantuono, editor of the train journal, is happy he made the
connection with Nxtbook.

“The response from our readership has been very positive,”
he said. “And the people at Nxtbook are very good to work with.”

Business Events

Game Changers

Monday, November 02, 2020
Game Changers

Real Estate & Development Summit

Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Real Estate & Development Summit

2020 Human Resources Summit

Thursday, November 12, 2020
2020 Human Resources Summit

Best Places to Work in PA

Thursday, December 03, 2020
Best Places to Work in PA