Publishers Listen Up! The Top Five Drupal Modules for Publishing
Drupal is the platform of choice these days for bringing magazines online, for selling digital copies of them, for setting up a paywall for subscribers and everything else. Some of you may still be in the dark ages, using outdated CMS like Wordpress, or TypePad. While these systems are great for blogging, they aren’t robust enough to give you a full scale, forward-thinking website that brings the magazine experience directly to your consumers.
Here are some basic modules that can take your online magazine, step it up a notch in versatility and strength, and give your readers an experience that they will keep coming back to again and again. Putting a magazine online isn’t just cutting and pasting some content and sticking it up on the web, that’s just a simple first step that won’t get you where you need to go with the next generation of online magazines.
The Workbench module is built to replicate the editorial process that most of you are familiar with, applying that same workflow into the publication of Drupal pages. It makes it easy to assign editors, to allow the editors access to the content they need to change, and to give you different drafts and a way of viewing the differences between each draft.
IMCE and FCKEditor
Both IMCE and FCKEditor allow you to turn your Drupal publishing environment into something as easy to use as Microsoft Word. It gives you the power and flexibility to make changes easily, and visually.
EJournal shares a lot of similarities with Workbench, and if you have Workbench installed you won’t need Ejournal (and vice versa). The main difference is that EJournal can make some publication tasks easier and more intuitive than Workbench. I’ve found that it’s more a matter of taste that distinguishes EJournal from Workbench. Some like one better than the other. EJournal does have the benefit of an electronic submissions handler, that should help you wrangle down your slush pile and make it more manageable. If anything, it might be worth installing just for that feature alone.
The future of magazines will be electronic, that is for certain. What will make you stay ahead or fall behind depends on how you leverage this technology to your advantage. E-readers and tablets are everywhere these days, and a lot of magazines offer subscriptions for E-readers. The simplest way to do this (and kill two birds with one stone) is to take the magazine pages for an issue on Drupal, and then use this tool to export it to epub. Even Amazon’s Kindle can have an epub file uploaded, and there it will automatically convert it to Kindle’s .mobi format.
Page flip takes in any number of file formats, and turns it into a flip-style website. PDF, Epub, you name it. It can give your magazine that extra kick it needs when being viewed on a tablet, and it’s one of those little things that readers see as a sign of profressionalism.
As you can see, there are quite a few Drupal modules that can really take your magazine to the next level of usability and professionalism. Add in the ability to create an epub store, or a way of handling purchasing for online content/subscriptions from Drupal’s built-in commerce module and you can be assured you’re taking your readers into the next generation of content publishing.