Embracing the Digital

Prior to the pandemic, travel was a big part of my life. Traveling, especially internationally, involves a lot of sitting, at which time I liked to read my magazines. I would pack my latest issues (and some older ones, too) into my carry-on, rummaging through it when I wanted to switch reading material. I would sometimes forgo packing snacks to make room. Magazines have always been my thing and the effort and sacrifice were worth it.

Having managed the printing and circulation of the Journal for over 16 years, discontinuing the print version was a huge change for me. I had to step out of my conditioned mindset to try to see the benefits of a digital-only environment. The positive environmental impact was obvious and important, but I needed more than that. In preparation for the transition, the publications team put a lot of thought into how we could make the reading experience as similar to the print version as possible, while providing different options for different types of readers. Already having a website and app to work with made the task less daunting, giving us time to focus on how to thoughtfully move forward.

The biggest change we made was to include all three of our publications in one place: The FPA Publications App. The Journal of Financial Planning, Next Generation Planner, and Financial Services Review (co-published with the Academy of Financial Services) can all be easily accessed within the app, which also includes archives just in case our readers want to access previous issues. Our intention was to give our members an easy, mobile-friendly way to read our content that mimics the experience of a magazine. After several communications with our members, accessing the app on a larger tablet has proven to be the most desirable option. For smaller devices, we’ve provided links to each article for larger, mobile-friendly versions. And, of course, being able to adjust devices to prevent eye strain (reducing blue light and brightness) is also key, especially after sitting in front of a computer all day.

For those who prefer reading online, our website still contains our page-turner digital editions, plus the monthly online content for both the Journal of Financial Planning and Next Generation Planner.

This whole process has really made me rethink my own personal obsession with magazines—from the environmental impact to the ease and efficiency of reading in general. I’ve since canceled my print magazines and now receive them all digitally, accessing them on my tablet. This is truly going to be a game-changer once I am able to resume my travels. Whether it be riding on a train, waiting at an airport, sitting on a plane, or relaxing in my hotel after a long flight, it’s comforting to know that I can read what I want, when I want, with little hassle—and will now have plenty of room in my bag for snacks.

Colin Erickson
Publications and Circulation