I have been seeing this advert about the Standard newspaper being available on digital format online. I decided to test what the offerings was and I must say I have been impressed.

The brains behind Flip Experts is Innocent Ouma who is a Kenyan who came back to the country early this year after a stint abroad. While away, Innocent always wanted to stay abreast with what was happening at hope and it had not been easy. Daily Nation tried to come online through the Newsstand platform but according to an insider at Nation’s digital department, the digital edition did not even manage to attract more than 40 subscriptions.

Flip Experts is looking to change that and so since November 1st, they have been able to have the Standard newspaper, County edition magazine and Kenya year book all online. The first month, November, has been offered free to subscribers so all will be expected to pay come December 1st.

Daily Nation is still available on Digital format together with Business Daily, The East African and Taifa Leo. They are all available on the PressMart’s eReplica platform. http://dn.nationmedia.com

I don’t enjoy reading Nation online through the pressmark platform because how it pans out. The  eReplica platform has not been optimised for widescreen or high resolution displays. That makes viewing newspapers on the eReplica a very boring affair. The downside of the Flip Experts’ e-paper platform is that it is based on flash and so there is the usual crushing problem with Adobe’s Flash. PressMart’s eReplica is based on Java and so you should enable Java to at least get to read your paper.

Both Standard and Daily Nation charge the same rates for the digital paper;

  • US $ 2.5 – Weekly Access
  • US $8.0 – Monthly
  • US $20 – Quarterly
  • US $30 – Half year
  • US $50 – Yearly

I find the rates not so bad but I definitely wish that they could go down. I read newspapers, books and magazines alot. I think I can cutt the addiction by just getting used to the digital papers and getting weaned in time. I now have over 1.5 tonnes of newspapers in my house I need to dispose. I have to wait till when I take them to Kisumu in December as in Kisumu I will get a better rate of Ksh 40 per Kg and not the Nairobi’s rate of Ksh 20 per Kg and below.

I believe that I can buy subscriptions of the digital papers based on Flip Experts’ E-Paper platform but with so much respect to NMG, I will never waste my money on the Daily Nation as long as there is no improvement on eReplica platform.

Zooming on an article is very cool on the E-Paper while on eReplica, you will need a scroll mouse and then press Ctrl to zoom. The pages are also arranged in a column on eReplica and so making it abit unreal. On E-Paper, you will flip the pages by just clicking on the corners of the digital paper. You also have a “FullScreen” button and zooming is as easy as clicking on anything you want to zoom on.

You can also easily share pages of newspapers through social media easily on E-Paper than on eReplica. You can take notes, bookmark and translate any of the pages to any major language together with some African Languages like languages on E-Paper and not on eReplica.

Platforms like E-paper and PressMart’s eReplica are great in delivering the paper digitally to those who cant get the physical copy. Focus on multi-platform will be the best way to drive subscriptions.

Flip Experts seems to have bought the off-the-shelf Agalia Software’s e-Paper Flip digital publishing suite. I still believe that it is a great idea to have all the favorite papers on one place like Flip Experts is trying to do.