The popularity of smartphones and tablet computers has made mobile content distribution a viable means of reaching out to wider audiences. App stores are gaining traction as a content distribution model. With Quark's (news, site) latest QuarkXPress release, publishers can expect better access to varied mediums, including Web, smartphones, tablets and e-book readers.

Content Development Directly for Tablets and e-Books

Quark's announcement of the QuarkXPress 9 update highlighted the ability to design for digital devices in various formats. QuarkXPress 9 offers greater flexibility in digital publishing by providing tools for directly creating content for devices like smartphones, tablets and e-book readers. QuarkXPress 9 also lets users publish content to Blio and ePUB formats.

  • App Studio for QuarkXPress -- QuarkXPress 9 banks on the popularity of Apple iOS devices like the iPad and iPhone as a content distribution medium. App Studio gives developers a dedicated environment for creating and customizing applications for the iPad, which can be distributed via the Apple App Store. While original content can be used, App Studio also lets content creators repurpose existing content through overlays, slideshows, scrollable regions, pop-ups, buttons and links.
  • Design for the Blio eReader -- Blio is a multi-platform e-book reader that simulates the actual book experience in e-books. Blio can run on iOS, Android and Silverlight, and is actually pre-installed by several laptop and desktop computer manufacturers.
  • Export to ePUB -- QuarkXPress 9 lets users export to the open e-book standard ePUB. This gives publishers even more channels for content distribution. ePUB works on Apple iBooks, NOOK, Kindle and a variety of other platforms, including mobile phones and tablets.

New Tools and Functionality

QuarkXPress 9 also includes a few new formatting functionalities, which should make content design and development easier:

  • Conditional styles
  • Bullets and numbering
  • Call-outs
  • ShapeMaker
  • ImageGrid
  • Linkster
  • Story Editor
  • Cloner

Pricing and Availability

QuarkXPress 9 starts shipping in April, and will retail for US$ 799 for a full license. Existing QuarkXPress 7 and 8 users can upgrade their licenses to the latest version for US$ 299. App Studio will be a free add-on, and will be available within three months of QuarkXPress 9's release. Quark is also offering a free upgrade promo for users who will purchase a copy of QuarkXPress 8 from now until version 9 is released.

Media projects like Rupert Murdoch's The Daily serve as proving grounds as to whether digital distribution will be the future of traditional media. In view of this, QuarkXPpress 9 is a timely addition to the content creation and development tools available to media outfits, businesses and end-users, giving access to tools that can tailor-fit content for digital devices.