As readers increasingly switch to consuming content online, it is not enough for publishers to be creating digital content. With more than 60% of the world's population consuming digital content in some form, the strategic importance of digital publishing is undeniable. Publishers are also facing increased competition for that audience, however. Even publications with print-first models are now increasingly shifting to a digital-first approach. For example, more than 70% of the New York Times’ subscriber base consists of digital subscribers. This is digital darwinism at work — businesses either adapt quickly to disruptive technologies or vanish. Digital publishing platforms are at the heart of this transition, enabling the publishing of everything from news and evergreen articles to ebooks and white papers. What Is a Digital Publishing Platform? A digital publishing platform is a piece of software that enables publishers to produce, edit and publish content online via one or many digital channels. A tweet or a podcast is as much a digital publication as the digital edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Traditionally, the term digital publishing has been most commonly associated with the web-based publishing of ebooks, reports, digital magazines, catalogs, flipbooks, etc. These could either be born-digital — originating in digital form — or digitized, which is to say, converted from a physical format to digital. Most digital publishing software also help publishers drive traffic and track analytics. This means a legacy magazine publisher, such as Good Housekeeping, can use a digital publishing platform to create online editions that are as rich and immersive as the print versions while also being able to leverage the platform to promote the digital magazine. Digital Publishing Platforms vs CMSs Digital publishing platforms share similarities with content management systems (CMSs). After all, both a digital publishing platform and a CMS deal with producing and sharing digital content. CMSs tend to be used to create, edit and manage web content such as web pages and blogs. Popular CMSs are Joomla and Drupal. While publishing platforms can handle these tasks, they’re also more commonly used for creating content traditionally perceived as the domain of physical publishers — think ebooks and digital magazines. Popular platforms include Joomag, Issuu and FlipHTML5. It is worth remembering that these are not rigorous definitions and the line between the two systems can become blurred. WordPress, for example, is typically thought of as a CMS used for building websites and blogs. However, adding the Paperlit plugin to WordPress allows users to convert their blog posts on Wordpress to digital magazines. At the end of the day, the difference amounts to a matter of specialization, even if the two might have some overlapping capabilities. Our first choice for creating a flipbook wouldn’t be WordPress, while Joomag isn’t our first pick for creating a blog post. How Do Digital Publishing Platforms Work? A digital publishing platform supplies automated tools that allow individuals and businesses to produce, publish and distribute digital content. Most publishing platforms run on a subscription model. Once publishers create an account and subscribe to a plan, the platforms provide them with the necessary tools that help compile and design their content. A single content template can be used to create content across multiple formats such as ebooks, flipbooks, white papers or reports. A digital publishing platform also allows publishers to distribute their content online across numerous channels, a practice known as multi-platform publishing. For example, The New Yorker is known for its satirical cartoons that have been a distinguishing element of its carefully curated brand identity over the roughly 100 years of its existence. Cartoons in fact, became so central to The New Yorker that it was often described as the “best magazine in the world for people who cannot read”. But in 2020 it branched off into creating and selling audiobooks of its print editions. This is classic multi-platform publishing made possible by the power of digital publishing. 17 Best Digital Publishing Platforms in 2022 The best digital publishing platforms have certain features in common — interactive elements, a user-friendly interface and great marketing tools. Publishers should be looking for platforms that not only help them create interactive publications but also reach as wide an audience as possible. With that in mind, we’ve compiled our top 17 picks. These platforms go beyond providing publishers with the bare minimum, offering an exceptional publishing experience. We have split our picks across various categories for ease of reference, but it’s important to remember that most of these platforms are versatile and can serve many different needs. Best Digital Publishing Platforms for Websites 1. WordPress WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that can also double as an affordable and easy-to-use digital publishing platform. It’s a popular tool, powering around one-third of all websites. WordPress provides its users with effective tools for designing, publishing, performance tracking and content storage. The platform is ideal for publishers looking to build their audience base through regular release of interactive publications, such as online articles, blogs, video content, etc. The platform might not be perfect for publishers looking to create and distribute online magazines and ebooks. Businesses looking to grow or reach a wider audience with effective content marketing strategies can benefit from this platform. WordPress features: \tEasy to set up and configure \tUser-friendly tools that require minimal tech knowledge \tInteractive content support \tDrag-and-drop editing \tBuilt-in social sharing features \tIn-depth statistics with visual analytics \tBuilt-in SEO tools. Source: Forbes 2. Adobe Experience Manager Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is an advanced CMS platform that is highly effective for digital publishing. It’s ideal for businesses looking to deliver interactive content to their customers through as many online touch points as possible. Adobe Experience Manager helps to create, manage, optimize and deliver content in all forms effectively across all digital channels. By Adobe’s own estimates, switching to AEM has helped teams become 23% more productive. The platform allows users to build and publish websites, branded apps and other interactive digital content. With Adobe Experience Manager, digital publishers can bring their content management system and digital asset management together and integrate them into the Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe Experience Manager features: \tWell-designed digital asset management \tEasy collaboration between authors and editors \tAdvanced user-friendly tools \tAdobe Experience Cloud integrated \tUser-friendly CMS offering easy editing and drag-and-drop functionality \tAdaptable platform which is flexible enough to support various digital business models \tAutomatic adaptation to changing customer behavior, helping publishers reach their customers where they are \tBuilt-in workflows connect Adobe’s Creative Cloud to AEM to allow users to incorporate fresh items into campaigns. Source: Kelloggs.com 3. Storychief StoryChief can help teams and businesses that frequently produce and post content on the web save time, as it includes a built-in editorial approval flow and SEO. Publishers can use StoryChief to help speed up the content creation process on existing CMS systems, such as WordPress and Adobe AEM, by taking care of complex processes. However, it might not be the best fit for creating and distributing online flipbooks. StoryChief features: \tEasy channel integration with CMS such as WordPress, Webflow, Shopify and more \tEasy to use platform for non-technical team members \tContent friendly editor \tSingle-click publish to all channels \tNo formatting is required as the layout adapts to the main website automatically \tPre-schedule features for publication and promotion \tEditorial planning tools \tPerformance mapping across all channels in one dashboard Source: Social Gorillas Best Digital Publishing Platforms for Magazines and Flipbooks 4. Joomag Joomag offers an all-in-one digital publishing solution for publishers looking to create, distribute, track and monetize their content from a central platform. The platform is ideal for businesses looking to distribute their content across their audience base in different channels. Furthermore, it offers its clientbase of over 500,000 businesses, including the likes of Men's Health and Cosmopolitan, access to its claims to its only Crater Editor interface. Joomag features: \tInteractive digital content in various formats and categories \tA huge number of predesigned templates for easy e-publishing \tEasy-to-use online editor \tLead generation and management solutions \tMultichannel distribution solutions \tComprehensive content analytics. Source: Gazelle Magazine 5. Twipe Twipe is an award winning SaaS-enabled solutions provider to digital publishers, with a special focus on newspapers and news magazines. It is a two-time recipient of the Google-backed Digital News Initiative’s Innovation Fund which rewards technological innovation in quality journalism. And for good reason. Twipe’s futuristic AI-powered digital assistant called James the Digital Butler sends personalized reading recommendations to readers based on an algorithm that blends each reader’s individual preferences with trending news stories. This results in an up to 49% reduction in subscriber churn and a reader engagement rate of up to 70%. Twipe also provides two advanced solutions to meet different needs of digital publishers — the Replica platform for creating interactive ePapers and the NextGen platform for interactive mobile-friendly editions of newspapers and magazines. Its Engage platform equips newsrooms with advanced analytics tools to monitor the performance of their publications in real time. Little wonder, then, that Twipe is trusted by some of the leading newspapers in the world including The Times and Le Monde. Twipe features: \tEasy SDK integration with epapers across all platforms whether web, tablet, or smartphone \tPersonalized reading recommendations for readers sent via newsletters, push notifications and web content to maximize reader engagement \tHelps create interactive, fully touch-enabled ePapers that do not require downloads \tStylized article lightboxes that allow readers to expand articles to read in greater detail with a single tap, change font, easily share on social media and even listen in audio format \tAllows cross-platform digital publishing across iOS, Android, web, and audio formats \tAdvanced analytics that shows real time edition performance along with daily metrics for all articles. Source: Twipe 6. Issuu Issuu is a digital magazine publishing software that serves both publishers and individual users and is ideal for those looking to provide a great reading experience. Apart from allowing publishers to create digital magazines and share their content, the platform also encourages visitors to sign up and browse publications. Readers can either choose to engage with free content or buy magazines and subscriptions. Additionally, Issuu also provides effective tools to help its users to edit their images, PDF, text or any other form of content and share them across websites and social media platforms. The tools include features that allow designers to embed magazines, personalized guides and marketing catalogs on their websites and then optimize content to improve search engine rankings. Issuu helps visitors enjoy content without ads, creating an interruption-free environment for the audience. The platform has helped launch more than 30 million publications and is visited by more than 100 million unique visitors. Issuu features: \tCustom reading experiences for audiences with the addition of background colors and images \tEasy monitoring of the number of impressions and average time spent by audiences \tVarious third-party system integration, including Dropbox, Google Docs, Adobe InDesign and Google Drive \tIn-built project management feature to help track task status and delegate tasks \tEasy tools for effortless transformation of content into a flipbook and digital magazine \tIn-depth analytics. Source: Issuu 7. Yumpu Yumpu is a digital magazine publishing software that helps digital magazine publishers create, publish and distribute digital materials online. The platform supports multiple forms of content such as texts, images, audio files and videos, allowing publishers to integrate all types of content in their digital publications. Yumpu allows a simple process of uploading a PDF and converting it into a Google-accessible, SEO-friendly digital magazine for its users. It allows users not only to digitize their publications but also increase the search engine relevance of their content. The platform is ideal for magazine publishers looking to convert their long-form content into SEO-friendly digital magazines or books. Yumpu features: \tAutomated notification \tOffline access \tDetailed analytics \tSEO \tApplication programming interface (API) to integrate with third-party platforms, such as WordPress, Zapier and Dropbox \tAssistance and training \tUnified platform for content management Source: Yumpu 8. FlipHTML5 FlipHTML5 is a publishing and subscription platform created for businesses looking to create digital flipbooks. The digital magazine publishing platform allows administrators to store digital publications and manage and sell subscriptions on a unified interface. Visitors can read online and also download a publisher’s creation. The platform might be the right fit for outfits looking to create, share and incorporate digitized content in their marketing activities. FlipHTML5 features: \tBatch conversion functionality to convert multiple PDF files into digital catalogs \tCustom domains and homepage banners \tOnline flipbooks sales and payment collection facility \tEasy flipbook sharing features across various social platforms \tData visualization across key statistics such as page visits, reads, and shares \tEffortless addition and modification of videos, audios, texts, images, and animations in digital magazines \tOptical character recognition (OCR) feature for quick extraction of texts from images in multiple languages. Source: FlipHTML5 9. Flipsnack Flipsnack is another digital magazine publishing platform ideal for transforming long-form content into flipbooks or online magazines. The platform allows digital magazine publishers to edit and convert their PDF files into an interactive publication, user-friendly tools that require limited technical knowledge. Additionally, Flipsnack comes with advanced tools that protect projects from being accidentally moved or modified. Flipsnack features: \tLarge library of templates \tAdvanced editing features that allow simultaneous editing of several of a project’s elements \tAdvanced tools for creating, publishing, sharing and embedding fully responsive digital magazines \tAutomated tools to instantly turn a PDF file into a digital magazine \tOnline design studio to create and post online publications from scratch \tVirtual shelves to store digital magazines, ebooks and catalogs \tReal-time reporting tools and Google Analytics integration for important insight into the digital publication data \tScheduling tools for publishing flipbooks automatically on custom dates. Source: Flipsnack 10. Magloft MagLoft features a simple interface that easily converts PDFs to interactive digital content, while also providing a platform to create ready-to-publish content from scratch. Once users sign up with the platform, they can choose customized design apps for iOS, Android and web applications. They can then design and publish a magazine. The platform offers a free trial for users where they can explore the user experience and see a finalized version of their digital publication. However, users will need to subscribe to a plan to publish that product. Magloft features: \tDrag-and-drop content editor \tLive preview \tBuilt-in payment gateway \tBuilt-in CRM \tCustom subscriptions \tEmbed and share feature \tAdvanced analytics. Source: World of Ukes 11. PressPad PressPad is a digital publishing platform that offers three highly specialized services — digital magazine creation, mobile apps for news publishers and digital kiosks that enable publishers to sell PDFs from their own website without redirecting the consumer to a third-party seller. The most remarkable feature of PressPad, and one which sets it apart from other digital publishing solutions, is that it allows publishers complete control over the entire production lifecycle of their publication. From design and creation of their digital magazine and its accompanying app to selling it on their website through an embeddable kiosk, PressPad allows small publishers to compete on a level playing field. PressPad also allows publishers to create their own magazine apps using nothing except the PDF files of their magazine. The app becomes available for download from the App Store or Google Play within seven days. PressPad features: \tBusinesses can create an online store for selling digital magazines, ebooks and flipbooks and embed it on their website \tAllows easy integration with all major payment gateways \tUnlimited hosting for storing PDFs \tEasy integration with social media \tProvides expert marketing support for increasing sales \tBuild a branded, 100% native mobile app for digital magazines or flipbooks without any coding knowledge. Source: PressPad Best Digital Publishing Platforms for Longform Content 12. DCatalog DCatalog offers a simple digital publishing solution for businesses looking to distribute their long-form content, such as ebooks, digital magazines, catalogs, emanuals, etc. The software features multiple templates for varied use cases. Users can create an account, upload their material and design participative online content through a relatively simple process. They can then easily distribute the content through different channels. DCatalog features: \tUser-friendly editing interface \tChoice of numerous templates \tEasy sharing and distribution features \tMultiple digital products, including magazines, catalogs, guides, brochures, newsletters, etc. \tSEO profiles \tArchived editions \tRich media management \tImpressive flipping and reading experience for readers \tSocial media integration \tIn-publication purchase. Source: DCatalog 13. Readz Readz allows publishers to create content and marketing material in the cloud. Organizations looking to connect with large audiences through as many channels as possible should shortlist this platform. With Readz, businesses can create and publish ebooks, magazines and newsletters to interact with their customers on a daily basis, while also boosting their content marketing efforts through online blogs and pages. Readz offers two platforms: Readz Publishers a nd Readz Studio. The first allows magazine publishers to convert their PDFs into flipbooks, while the second enables content creation from scratch. Publishers can choose one or both according to their needs. Readz features: \tBuilt-in business templates \tAdobe InDesign import \tPaywall \tSite embed facility \tAutomatically responsive designs \tEasy drag-and-drop editor \tEnhanced analytics and reporting \tAdvanced SEO tools \tUser interaction tools \tSocial sharing \tEnhanced security \tExclusive support. Source: Readz 14. BlueToad Founded in 2007, BlueToad is one of the oldest digital publishing platforms around. In the decade and a half of its existence, BlueToad has grown to become one of the most trusted digital partners of publishers worldwide, publishing 130 million pages of content every month. BlueToad provides the complete range of digital publishing services, helping publishers create interactive ebooks, flipbooks, digital magazines and everything in between. However, what makes BlueToad stand out from the crowd is its ability to create interactive, mobile-friendly editions of digital content with very little input. With BlueToad, publishers do not even need to provide a PDF of their content. They can simply use the BlueToad platform to drag and drop images, videos and text and BlueToad then converts it into a mobile-responsive digital edition. BlueToad features: \tSeamless integration with third-party analytics and marketing tools \tADA and WCAG compliant, which means its content is easily accessible to people with disabilities \tProvides a unified brand experience by allowing publishers to use their color, design and font across all their content and social media channels \tProvides phone, chat and email customer support, in addition to video tutorials \tOffers a range of monetization options to publishers including paywalls and subscriptions, digital ads and ad manager integration Source: BlueToad 15. Kitaboo Kitaboo is a cloud-based platform that allows publishers to create, publish and distribute ebooks securely. Kitaboo also provides an eReader for an immersive reading experience and an eBookstore for publishers to sell their content. Kitaboo is a niche publishing platform that focuses on creating text books for schools and colleges, and learning content for enterprises. Its partners include Oxford University Press, McGraw Hill and Pearson Education. It stands out from the competition with its twin focus on security and creating interactive content. Its DRM-enabled ebooks offer best-in-class safety from online piracy, while its interactive content allows teachers and learners to interact via notes and suggestions within the content. Kitaboo features: \tEasy integration with client website using Kitaboo SDK \tAdvanced security encrypted platform makes copying content virtually impossible \tAllows multimedia integration into content \tInteractive dashboard provides data-driven insights for users \tEasy content distribution using the Kitaboo eBookstore \tCross-platform functionality, making ebooks available across iOS, Android, Windows and Mac platforms Source: Kitaboo Best Digital Publishing Platforms for Enterprise 16. Uberflip Uberflip is the odd-one-out on this list as it isn’t strictly a digital publishing platform. And yet, it is a valuable tool for digital publishers. Uberflip is a content experience platform that helps publishers organize their content and then present it to users based on their preferences. Uberflip is best suited for publishers who already have a lot of digital content at their disposal scattered across different formats such as ebooks, blogs, magazines, podcasts, etc., and are looking to increase user engagement. It helps publishers optimize content use by deploying account-based marketing (ABM), which ensures that content is presented to individual users based on their experience in the sales funnel. Which is why it considers itself to be a digital experience platform. Uberflip features: \tHelps build personalized experiences for individual users with a few clicks \tIntegrates all content form third-party platforms such as Youtube videos, tweets, PDFs \tCan put paywalls around any type of content to capture leads \tSeamless integration with other marketing tools such as Marketo, Hubspot and Eloqua \tAI analytics help businesses understand which content pieces are converting more leads, and which are the ones that are acting as deadweights in the customer’s journey Source: Uberflip 17. Quark Founded in 1981, Quark is a specialized digital publishing platform that provides solutions targeted at medium to large scale enterprises. Its flagship product, QuarkXpress, was first released in 1987 and continues to be popular among enterprises for producing digital marketing collateral such as flyers, catalogs and digital magazines. Newer versions of QuarkXpress include support for creating interactive ebooks and mobile apps as well. Quark automates every stage of content creation, including collaboration, assembly, publishing and analysis through its advanced toolset.This helps businesses to automate and manage the content pipeline while also taking care of marketing and sales activities. Quark is a solid platform for agile teams looking to build a long-term marketing strategy with the help of content marketing. It may not be the best fit for individuals or small digital publishers. Quark features: \tEnd-to-end publishing solution for relevant, targeted communication \tContent reuse and repurposing supported \tHighly responsive end result \tRich typography \tExcellent PDF support \tRich image support \tPlatform support for both windows and MacOS on desktop and tablet devices. \tMinimal system requirements \tTraining and support Source: Versandhaus Walz Final Thoughts The digital publishing industry is a fiercely competitive landscape in which participants need to be constantly striving for efficiency gains and an operational edge. For content to stand out from the crowd, content creators must: \tCreate at scale \tCreate educational and informative content \tCreate visual and interactive material \tCreate content across different formats and platforms. The right digital publishing platform can help businesses and individuals achieve these goals, while also providing analytical tools that help review performance and streamline marketing efforts. Whether looking to publish content and monetize all on a single platform or via publisher’s own online store, digital publishing platforms provide a number of different routes to market. As the world of digital publishing continues to evolve, publishers need to keep an eye on their toolkits to make sure they have the best software for the best tools to keep pace with it.