‘Active readers are already sinking their teeth into the app’

The Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague is committed to digitization. An app on which readers can borrow sixteen magazines – from Vrij Nederland and Psychologie Magazine to Margriet – is part of this. Graphit has set up this pilot together with partner SPRYLAB. It concerns a digital environment in which publishers place the magazines and the TijdschriftenBieb app, on which they can be read.

The question

The Koninklijke Bibliotheek once toyed with the idea of making individual articles available to its members, but took a different approach: “The purchasing committee of the online library and our members wanted to be able to read complete magazines digitally. Graphit and SPRYLAB have the necessary experience in making magazines available on apps. That’s close, because magazine articles often contain heavy images that have to be loaded,” says Petra Rijkelijkhuizen, strategic account manager at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.

On top of this, she says, are additional things that the parties took into account in the development: a digital environment in which publishers make their content available, the fixed loan term, publishers who want to know how often articles are read and the privacy of the readers.

The process

Joris de Jong, consultant at Graphit, led the process in the right direction by means of workshops, testing and reviewing the app and monitoring the planning. In the workshops, the requirements just mentioned were translated into the app. Joris and Ronald Leusink, partners at Graphit, explain: “It was a journey of discovery: how do you unlock the content via an app – keeping the expectations of the reader, library and publisher in mind? How do the publishers want to present their content? What does the lending process of library members look like?”

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The result

“We didn’t make it easy for Graphit and SPRYLAB, but the process went well and we are happy with the result. Readers can borrow the magazines for three weeks, on a tablet or smartphone. Always the penultimate issue, but also earlier editions. The app, a pilot that will run until the end of 2021, already seems to meet a need. Active readers have put their teeth into it and come up with missing editions or suggestions for new magazines.”

There may also be titles for the youth. These are now missing due to the demands placed on apps for readers under the age of 16. Ronald and Joris emphasize that the app has more potential than the current representation of the content in PDF form. “There are richer content experiences possible. Think of videos in the text or improving readability.”


SPRYLAB is a German software company that offers Purple DS® an efficient end-to-end solution for digital publishing of mobile and tablet apps.


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