Recent research by the GfK MRI iPanel found that the majority of tablet owners would prefer to read magazines on their devices rather than in print. But, ironically, almost as many said that reading a traditional paper version of a magazine is a “more satisfying” experience. So, what’s missing from the tablet experience? Plenty, it seems.

Some industry insiders complain that publishers aren’t taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the tablet platform and are instead simply taking static print content and turning it into static tablet content. In a recent opinion piece in International Business Times, Michael Nunez claims that publishers so far have failed to provide a better experience for tablet readers than print or the web already offer. He squarely places the blame not on the technology itself but on the “catastrophic failure of editorial and design vision” and a failure to take advantage of the features that the medium is capable of delivering.

Nunez’s complaint ignores one key impediment to such innovation: the cost. According to an article in AdWeek, some magazine publishers are deciding that their money would be better spent trying to establish a presence on as many tablet platforms as possible, rather than adding interactive features to their digital publications. Considering how rapidly the tablet market is evolving, with device upgrades like Apple’s new iPad and software updates like Adobe’s DPS Release 19 (and this week 20), it’s no wonder some publishers are having a hard time keeping up–and having to make some tough choices when it comes to investing in their futures.

The fact is, although print magazines still account for 99% of publishers’ paid circulation versus their digital counterparts, readers are expected to continue their shift to digital. And it’s also inevitable that technologies will continue to evolve, and that publishers will constantly find themselves in catch-up mode as a result. But innovators are leading the way and helping to forge a path that eventually the rest of the publishing industry will be ready to follow.

Who do you see as a leader in the digital publishing market? And who are the ones to watch? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. We’d love to get your take!

Please take a moment to share your opinion of what a tablet experience should be – we’ll share the results in an upcoming blog.

Posted by: Gina Barrett