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MEI Collaborates with Reader's Digest to Create First iPad Issue

World's largest paid-circulation magazine relied on Adobe DPS, vjoon K4 and MEI know-how for tablet edition

Jenkintown, PA (January 18, 2011) — When Reader’s Digest began planning its iPad edition, the editorial team knew just where to go for top-notch design and development assistance. Managing Editor Inc. (MEI), an Adobe premier development partner and a leading provider of software solutions for the publishing industry, collaborated with Reader’s Digest as the world’s largest paid-circulation magazine created its first iPad issue, available today in the iTunes store.

MEI’s experienced designers and technologists used a combination of Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite — which Reader’s Digest also employed for the rest of the issue — and custom HTML programming to create several pieces for the iconic title’s first iPad edition. Among them: an interactive version of the popular “Around the World with One Question” feature, which includes a globe that displays fun facts as the user spins it, and the transformation of the familiar “Word Power” into a touch quiz with instant feedback on the user’s vocabulary prowess.

Reader’s Digest also tapped MEI to project-manage the maiden effort, using the vjoon K4™ Cross-Media Publishing Platform to handle tablet content alongside print. K4, distributed exclusively by MEI in the Americas, is the preeminent design and editorial workflow management system integrating Adobe® InDesign® and Adobe InCopy®.

iPad publishing

Following the success of its Kindle edition, the editorial team at Reader’s Digest hoped to continue the trend with an iPad edition. After seeing the rich, immersive apps that Wired and other popular magazines were creating using Adobe DPS, Reader’s Digest decided to use the same tools to build its own tablet issue.

“There are a lot of vendors out there offering iPad solutions, but once I saw Wired’s app, I immediately thought it demonstrated a natural progression for magazines,” Reader’s Digest Managing Editor Ann Powell said.

“Cost and creative control were also factors. By using K4 and Adobe DPS, we could leverage our print workflow and design, which allows a sustainable production of future issues.”

MEI’s extensive experience with the Adobe tablet tools made Reader’s Digest’s next step a no-brainer: They asked MEI to project-manage the effort and produce some of the edition’s specialized interactive features. Powell said she was very pleased with MEI’s quick turnaround and close collaboration.

“By signing MEI up, we knew we had the ‘cool’ factor covered,” she said. “I felt like I was working with a partner, like they were even doing some of the thinking for us when we needed it. MEI really understood what we wanted. I felt like they were very invested in the creative process.”

K4

Reader’s Digest is also a pioneer in the adoption of the K4 Cross-Media Publishing Platform for managing publishing workflows with InDesign and InCopy. Reader’s Digest had been using a Quark-based editorial system to handle its 50 editions worldwide. When she joined Reader’s Digest, Powell, who had worked with K4 at Condé Nast and Hearst magazines, campaigned to upgrade to a new system for the U.S. and large-print editions.

“I could see that K4 was always getting better,” she said. “I thought our old system was like a big, clunky tractor, whereas K4 was more like a sleek sedan… Besides, it’s more fun to use.”

In late 2009, the magazine installed a K4 Version 6 pilot system and started taking advantage of its task-based workflow model. MEI and K4 developer vjoon® worked closely with Reader’s Digest to ensure a smooth rollout, and the pilot quickly turned into a full installation, augmented by MadeToPrint, K4 XML Exporter™ and K4 Overview Advanced™.

Powell cited several particularly beneficial K4 features, including the ability to see custom metadata in K4’s powerful query panels; the K4 Sticky Notes™ functionality, which lets users insert real-time comments in layouts and in the Overview; and even standard tools such as tracked changes, which were difficult to manage in the old Reader’s Digest system. One of Powell’s personal favorites is the browser-based K4 Overview, which allows anyone involved to review the issue at a glance — even executives who don't work with K4. The production team also used it to oversee its iPad edition in the final stages of production.

Powell said she expects the magazine to continue to improve the tablet production process with each issue, and she’s looking forward to new features as Adobe develops the DPS.

“Overall, it was a great experience and a good value,” she said. “It was a great investment for the company, and I look forward to expanding it.”

Based in New York City, Reader’s Digest has been one of the best-selling consumer magazines in the United States for many years, with a circulation of 6.1 million today. Globally, it is the world’s largest circulation magazine, reaching some 70 million readers in more than 60 countries, with 50 editions in 20 languages. Further information about the company can be found at www.rda.com.

MEI is proud to have assisted a magazine industry icon in its first tablet edition, and in implementing a new streamlined workflow.

“Reader’s Digest is one of the first publishers to realize the benefits of upgrading to K4 — an extremely powerful and reliable system that integrates so well with Adobe’s emerging standard for tablet publishing,” said Linda Bruce, vice president of enterprise sales at MEI.

The Reader’s Digest iPad app is available in the iTunes store. Visit http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/readers-digest/id411524298?mt=8 to download it.

About K4

The vjoon K4 Cross-Media Publishing Platform is a flexible, scalable solution that allows publishing professionals to manage design and editorial workflows and deliver multimedia content to a variety of output channels — print, online, tablet and other electronic formats. With its multi-level security controls, open architecture and robust customization options, K4 provides a transparent and secure production workflow environment for workgroups or entire publishing enterprises. K4 is a product of vjoon GmbH of Hamburg, Germany. With almost 400 systems installed in publishing houses, agencies and magazines worldwide, K4 has already revolutionized the editorial workflow for nearly 19,000 users. MEI is the exclusive distributor of K4 in the Americas, with more than 150 installations managing nearly 9,800 users.

About MEI

Managing Editor Inc. is an industry leader in the development of quality, proven software solutions for the evolving publishing industry. The Page Director® Series of Advertising and Classified Layout Systems, K4 Cross-Media Publishing Platform, Integrated Production Suite (IPS) and IPS AdTrac deliver automated pagination, workflow and digital asset management solutions to magazine, book and newspaper publishers, as well as to other print and electronic publishing markets. MEI also provides expert training, consulting and design services for publishers, advertisers and creative teams building specialized content for tablets such as the iPad. MEI is an Adobe premier development partner and has twice been named a laureate of the Computerworld Smithsonian Collections. Additional information regarding MEI’s products and services can be found on the company’s website at www.maned.com.

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