We often receive feedback about how many digital publishing tools are out there and how hard it is to choose among them. Whether you are publishing an eBook, a digital version of your corporate brochure, or a presentation you gave at an industry conference, it is difficult to wade through the sea of providers to determine which one is the best for you and your needs. What makes this even harder is that it seems that more are popping up every day. While we obviously have a strong bias (all the indicators say that YUDU is the greatest invention since the wheel), we wanted to give you a little more insight into our industry and what sets one apart from another.
Let start with the business model. With the recent demise of one of the popular digital magazine sites, MagazinesOnDemand (www.magazinesondemand.co.uk), people are starting to wonder whether the model is sustainable in the long term. Some of the bigger consumer-publishing sites out there like Scribd, Issuu, and SlideShare are largely driven by advertising while the virtual newsstands, such as Zinio and MagazinesOnDemand are largely driven by subscriptions to content. In the end, it was MagazinesOnDemand’s investors that pulled the plug on the site because they didn’t feel they were receiving a quick enough return on investment. The same could be said of the consumer-publishers, many of which are largely venture funded and still hemorrhaging money.
YUDU is a unique mix of consumer and professional digital publishing and digital newsstand. Most of the competitors are technology companies who decided to get into digital publishing. YUDU got its start in doing advanced digital conversions for major organizations and gathered its staff from the publishing industry itself. We decided to share a subset of our digital conversion tool with others to give everyone the ability to share their expertise with the world through self-publishing and social networking. Therefore, our revenue comes from multiple sources including conversions for major publications through YUDU Pro, feature upgrades through YUDU Plus, subscriptions, transaction fees, and, in the future, targeted ad sharing.
In fact, YUDU will be making a bit more of a separation between the professional newsstand and the self-publishing community in upcoming releases through improved subscription features. Stay tuned for further announcements on these features.
The second big differentiator comes down to unique features. While any of the consumer publishing tools out there offer a base level of service, such as the conversion, a viewer, ability to create profiles, the ability to embed a publication, and more, there are some distinct differences. YUDU offers 3 unique features: the ability for users to add multimedia to a digital publication, the ability to sell publications worldwide (including subscriptions), and the ability to distribute many different forms of digital content such as print, audio, photography, and video. This means you can distribute everything from a magazine to an audio book series to a photography album on YUDU using the same library and tool set. Some of the competitors are even attempting mimic some of these features, but are still not quite there (i.e. allowing you to sell publications, but only in the US).
When it comes to professional digital publishing, YUDU Pro also offers unique features that set it apart from the competition. Our viewer doesn’t require a proprietary download, but runs in a browser using Flash. We can also custom design features depending on the client’s needs. However, one of the biggest differentiators YUDU Pro offers is access to millions of potential customers through our digital newsstand. It is the connection between consumer and professional publishing that offers significant value to our publishing clients.
While YUDU may not be the 800 lb gorilla in the space, you could definitely say we gravitate towards a richer experience and a more professional user base – like the wise and nimble dolphin (as long as we’re on animal analogies). We have always been, and always will be, dedicated to the cause of giving experts a voice. We want to give everyone the chance to share their expertise with the world, and, hopefully, make themselves a little money in the process. In the meantime, we also continue our efforts to introduce traditional publishers to the power of digital content. It is that combination between traditional publications and crowd sourced content that provide the secret sauce behind YUDU’s success. We’d love for you to be a part of it.