The demand for digital magazines has skyrocketed. This is partly due to the superior reading experience that interactive magazine software provides. You can win over any skeptics quickly when they see just how enjoyable it is to read your online magazines.
Out of the New York Times’s 8.4 million total subscriptions, 7.6 million are digital. That’s over 90% of their subscriber base. Other publications are seeing similar demand for digital reading experiences.
Whether your subscriber base is international or simply loves to read online, you need the right magazine software to meet their needs.
In this guide, we dive into the top features to look for. Plus, we round up the best platforms to choose from and help you decide which one is right for you.
What is interactive magazine software?
With interactive magazine software, you can publish an online magazine that is optimized for desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. Readers can flip through and scroll through the magazine to interact with their favorite content. Some interactive magazines also offer audio and video to engage subscribers with different content formats.
The top features to look for in interactive magazine software
Online magazine-publishing software can have a lot of different features. This depends mainly on the target users. Are you publishing a world-renowned magazine or a small community gazette?
These features are essential for large magazine publishers, but small publishers might only need the first couple of items on the list:
- A beautiful reading experience: Online magazine software should offer an attractive reading experience to your subscribers. It should feel as close to the print version as possible, in terms of layout and branding.
- No passwords or apps required: Passwords and app downloads result in confusion and a high influx of customer support tickets. Use a platform that relies on email as the main delivery method. Of course, if you already have your own branded magazine app, then the platform should be able to deliver issues to your app as well.
- Hands-on help with production and delivery: Creating and distributing online magazines is highly specialized work. Consider choosing a service provider that does most of the heavy lifting for you. For many publishers, this is economically competitive compared to doing everything in-house.
- Automated article audio: For both accessibility and preference, be sure to offer audio of your articles. You can use a solution with high-quality AI-generated audio to save hundreds of hours producing the content.
- Ability to offer or sell your back issues: Make sure the solution you choose makes it easy to offer back issues to your customers. You could provide them for free, sell them individually, or charge a flat rate for all of them.
- Support for Apple News+: Creating a mobile version of your magazine that is suitable for Apple News+ is a lot of work. Opt for a solution provider that can handle this for you.
- Integrated subscription order pages: You’ll want to ensure that the digital magazine software you choose is compatible with your ordering system. The order pages should integrate seamlessly with your print and digital subscriptions and your premium add-ons.
Analytics and reporting: Check to see that the platform offers analytics and reporting so you can discover the most popular content and track how your readership is growing.
10 best magazine software (and which is right for you)
These interactive magazine software platforms can help you generate your own digital magazines.
Best for: Large- and medium-sized publishers looking for the best reading experience and services
eMagazines offers the software and services you need to produce and deliver stunning digital magazines. We also help with subscription order pages, access to your back issues, and delivering content from approved publishers to Apple News+.
- PDF converter
- Mobile optimized magazine reader
- Fully branded experience
- Password-free and download-free digital magazine delivery
- Expert assistance with production and delivery to subscribers
- High-quality article audio
- Subscriber back issue access
- Analytics and reporting
- Support for Apple News+
- Subscription order pages that integrate with ELPs
- Native app building and maintenace
- New customer acquisition through our partner network
- End-user customer support
We offer affordable, custom pricing for large publishers as well as smaller regional publishers. Contact us for a custom quote.
Best for: Small community and charity publications
MagLoft is a good option for new publications or small, community magazines. The reader experience might not be up to par with the top magazine publishers in the world, but it is suitable for small companies and non-profit organizations.
- Branded reading experience
- Mobile app and website
- Content editor
- CRM for subscribers
- Sales and subscription management
- Subscriber push notifications
MagLoft’s most popular plan costs $495 per month and includes a dedicated account manager.
Best for: Creating catalogs
Flipsnack can be used to create online catalogs or simple digital magazines. Without article audio, video embeds, and excellent mobile optimization, it isn’t a fit for larger publishers. But if all you need is a PDF converter, this platform might do the trick.
- PDF to flipbook converter
- Catalog designer
- QR code generator
- Custom subdomains
- Team collaboration
Flipsnack’s most popular plan costs $35 per month and includes all of the features you need to create and share your catalog.
Best for: Infrequent publications
Do you publish your digital magazine infrequently? Maybe your real estate office creates a guide to county neighborhoods and restaurants once a year. Or, maybe your small college publishes an alumni magazine quarterly. If so, you might want to opt for a cheap solution like Issuu, rather than pay for a fully featured platform designed for major publications.
- Create digital magazines and catalogs
- Team collaboration and workflow management
- SEO optimization
- Fullscreen viewing
- Sales and subscriptions management
You can get started with the free plan, but to get most features, you’ll need the Premium plan, which costs $40 per month.
Best for: Corporate publications
Foleon is a great solution for large enterprises looking to create digital versions of their magazines. In addition to digital magazine publishing, you also get access to remarketing features, SEO optimization, content insights, and other features that matter to content marketers. Foleon helps you fit digital magazines into your overall content strategy.
- Mobile responsive reading experience
- Interactive magazine designer
- Remarketing pixels
- SEO optimization
- Custom domains
- Magazine templates
- Content insights
- Account-based marketing journeys
Foleon offers custom pricing based on your needs, so you’ll need to get in touch for a demo and a custom quote.
Best for: Small publishers needing design and sales support
If you need help with designing and laying out your magazine, Publuu might be the right fit for you, because you can manage your magazine end-to-end. There are also useful features for selling your online magazine in what Publuu calls your own magazine “kiosk.”
- Online magazine maker
- Magazine kiosk management (sell new issues and back issues)
- Custom website and domain
- Custom mobile app
- Magazine templates
Publuu’s most popular plan, Optimum, costs $24 per month and offers the features you need to create a digital magazine. If you opt for the Professional plan for $84 per month, you’ll also be able to manage online kiosks.
Best for: Small businesses looking for a free PDF to digital magazine converter
Heyzine offers the most fully featured free plan available, making it a good fit for small businesses looking to skirt this expense. You can create up to 5 free flipbooks with unlimited pages and views, but you won’t be able to update those flipbooks after you publish them. Of course, you can always upgrade for more control.
- Page-turn effects (these can be cheesy, so use them sparingly)
- Mobile responsive
- Link from one flipbook or page to another
- Add videos, audio, and pictures
Heyzine’s free plan works for up to 5 flipbooks total, and there are no ads or watermarks, however the Heyzine logo will be present on your digital magazine. The Standard plan costs $49 per year and allows you to remove the Heyzine logo.
Best for: Free magazine designing and PDF creation
Most of the online magazine software on our list were designed to turn PDF content into mobile responsive magazines. And that’s because PDFs are hard to read. (You have to do a lot of pinching and zooming.) But if you’re looking for a free design tool and you know your readers will be on their desktops, laptops, or tablets, you could provide a PDF magazine and call it a day. If that sounds like the right route for you, Canva is a great tool for this.
- Design templates
- Stock images and elements
- Creates PDF, JPG, and PNG files
- Custom template creation
Most likely, you’ll be able to do everything you need on the free plan. But Canva Pro makes it easier to save and re-use your branding and costs just $119.99 per person per year. If you do decide to make a digital magazine with Canva, check out this tutorial.
Best for: Digital magazines with creative services
Mag+ offers some creative services so you don’t have to manage everything yourself. In-house designers turn your existing content and transform it into digital magazines, then deliver the magazine to your app, and provide quality assurance.
- Custom app development
- PDF to magazine converter
- Custom digital magazine design
- Customer support
Mag+ offers custom pricing based on your needs, so get in touch with them for a quote.
Best for: Turning corporate communications into digital magazines
Joomag is a great solution for enterprises looking to turn their corporate content into attractive digital magazines. These magazines can then be used for new lead generation or for sales enablement.
- Digital magazine designer
- 300+ templates for digital content
- Generate and track leads with your content
- Online distribution
- Team collaboration
- Print to digital magazine converter
The base plan is called Start and costs $50 per month. But most enterprises will need to upgrade to the Scale plan, which costs $400 per month, to get access to all of the marketing and audience tools.
If you’re simply looking for a PDF to digital magazine converter, then there are many different options above to choose from. But if you want to provide the best possible reading experience on every device, then you need eMagazines.