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