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Anyone doing Digital Annual Publications

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    • #27119
      Margo Bastow
      Forum Participant

      Hi! Just looking at producing a digital version of our annual this year as opposed to a 256 paged printed publication. Anyone already gone down his path? As would love to hear your feedback on this.

    • #27120
      Claire Henkey
      Forum Participant

      Hi Margo
      Following with interest as we haven’t made the jump yet to just doing digital. We currently do both printed and digital :)

    • #27121
      Forum Participant

      Margo, As a supplier, I can answer with regards to my experience and feedback from clients/schools. There is still much of work in pulling together the annual to create it in digital form, and my clients who have gone digital have returned to print, as feedback is no one looks at it. Most Alumni refer to the annual initially, then years after leaving school and at that stage have no idea where the digital version is. A few options my clients are going to 1) Doing a yearbook for each year, so the book is much smaller, and ask students to opt in to receive it, then they ‘collect the set’ through school. 2) Transferring the cost to parents (reducing the fees) so they can opt-in and only print those that are ordered, eliminating waste. And of course 3) Still producing printed annuals. Hope that helps.

    • #27122
      Kate Spencer
      Forum Participant

      Hi Margot!

      We are moving to a digital annual this year. Everyone will receive a digital download but we will allow parents the opportunity to opt in for a print version at cost price so won’t be making anything additional on them. The only students who will receive a print copy at no cost will be the graduating class.

      Aquinas College

    • #27123
      Cherie Butcher
      Forum Participant

      Interesting question. The Business Manager has raised the issue, but I think it carries much more value for the students and parents to have a printed publication than just to access it online. The only saving is the printed cost and I would think that most of our community would be happy to have these costs incorporated in their fees as they do now as it is so well received when we distribute it. Has the community been approached to see what the consensus is?
      Regards Cherie

    • #27124
      Vishmi De Silva
      Forum Participant

      Hey Margo
      My company is working with a European-based company called – please disregard the pricing on the website as we’ve negotiated way cheaper rates for education and have a separate agreement.

      Depending on the publication, you could go both printed (a small run) and then digital, which will encapsulate more interactive features.

      We get you set up, train your team, and then hand it over – all you need to get started is a PDF of the publication.

      I will highlight Paperturn is far superior to what is on the market and is currently used in education in Australia.



    • #27125
      Lucy Charles
      Forum Participant

      I would recommend working with your Graphic Designer to create a digital version of the normal brochure/report.

      Then use a platform like Issuu to host and share digitally.

    • #27127
      Kathryn Purcell
      Forum Participant

      Also following with interest. Our school is print only at this stage.

    • #27129
      Stephen Wruck
      Forum Participant

      Hi MArgo
      My nervousness about this is that I think the Yearbook has its greatest value in 10 or 20 years time.
      Who knows if a digital version will be readable / accessible in 20 years time.
      A printed version just sits on the bookshelf or in a box until you pull it out.

    • #27131
      Alastair Lee
      Forum Participant

      Hi Margo,

      From my own experience with this issue and having regard to recent research I would proceed with this course of action with caution.

      There was some research released only two weeks ago by the Morgan Institute that found 53.8% of Australians over the age of 14 prefer to read a hardcopy magazine (this increased 1.8% from the year before).

      In my experience too there are several important advantages that come with maintaining a hardcopy publication (and there is much industry research to support this) e.g. that hardcopy:

      1. Serves as a VIP brand touchpoint- Greater impact on the reader by engaging touch/feel – impacts then favourably on reader affinity
      2. Greater comprehension and recall by readers of content
      3. People spend longer reading hardcopy as compared to online (almost 50% longer)
      4. Increases brain stimulation and therefore willingness to respond/be compelled to answer a call to action

      There is a great recent article by Executive Media worth reading on this too at

      Lastly before proceeding any further, I would recommend going to your readers and find out what they would prefer via some survey/focus group research. In the past where I’ve been ‘obliged’ to make a decision like this by senior mgt, I’ve always made the transition by giving readers the ability to opt in/out of hardcopy to at least give them a choice and soften the blow.

      Happy to chat further anytime offline on this as I’ve had a lot of experience with producing magazines in educction.

      Best regards – Alastair Lee – AlumGrow Consultancy.

    • #27137
      Jaclyn Oudejans
      Forum Participant

      Hi all
      We printed our last annual publication in 2020 and moved to a Quarterly digital publication. We do print a small number (approx 100) for archives, sponsors, admin/reception area and any families that request a hard copy (rarely happens) but otherwise all online. Since 2020, we’ve only had a handful of parents ask about the hard copy annual publication, so not missed in our experience. Happy to chat further over phone.
      Jaclyn 07 5471 5555

    • #27160
      Rachael Pearson
      Forum Participant


      We have 3320 students at the school. Every year we are throwing away hundreds of Year Books that aren’t collected. Last year we sent out an ‘opt in’ form to families. Only half of families wanted a hard copy. All families received a digital copy.
      This year we will do the same but we are making sure our digital copy has links to video clips as well.

      Hope it goes well

    • #27377
      Kay Fyfe
      Forum Participant

      We only do a PRINT version & it is the most common item that people will ring the Development Office to obtain a NEW copy. Sadly fires/house loss make it a desirable item.

      We also do a COVER REVEAL video that generates excitement as the cover is always student designed.
      I agree with many comments here that people will not read the digital version.
      People love sitting at their reunion & flicking through this document.

      I think the age of your school also determines traditional v digital.
      It is an expensive item but builds tradition.

    • #27402
      Forum Moderator

      Hi Margo,

      Is case this is of interest, last year we created a digital version of the Inspired magazine for St Andrew’s Cathedral School (SACS). You can view an issue online here:

      The workflow is simple: create a new magazine issue and add articles. Categories assigned to the articles govern page order and styling. The ‘home’ page is assembled automatically as is an EDM view for sending a summary via Campaign Monitor. There can be multiple editors / authors for creating and editing articles.

      The underlying software platform used is our newsletter platform which is very flexible. The pages are all responsive so the publication can be read anywhere on phones / tablets / computers.

      Jackie Isenegger is our main contact at SACS, if you’d like more info.


      Chris Frost
      Managing Director

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