One of the reasons I was so excited about the iPad was the thought of receiving magazine subscriptions electronically. This wasn’t even a thought with any of the e-ink readers out there. They are fine for printed words but magazines, specifically photography magazines, are all about the images. The one thing that everyone can agree on when it comes to the iPad is that images look great on this thing.
Although there are some magazines out there that are being developed specifically for delivery to the iPad, most of the industry has yet to adopt this strategy yet, enter Zinio.
Zinio is kind of like the neighborhood newsstand. When you load the app you will be presented with three different options, Featured, which lets you preview different magazines selected by Zinio, Library, which is where your downloaded magazines live, and the Shop, which is where you can search for new magazines.
I downloaded one of the feature magazines, American Photo, to see how it looks and I was pleasantly surprised with the layout and imagery. Although I didn’t get to preview the entire magazine, they did include the entire feature article on the 25 Top Places For Shooting. The magazine looked best in landscape mode for looking at the photos and when it came to reading the article, portrait mode was more to my liking. You can also do the old two-finger expand to zoom in thing, which is especially useful for those of us with “old” eyes.
When I finished looking at the sample I decided to check out the Shop to see what else I could find. The left side of the screen has a nice category list. When I clicked on the Art category there was a drop-down to sub-categories, including Photography.
Once I clicked the Photography category I was presented with a bunch of new magazine covers to choose from. The thing I found interesting was the nice mix of both domestic and foreign magazines.
Each was available as a single issue download or as a subscription. Below is an example of the the Popular Photography order page. As you can see, the single issue price is comparable to what you would pay on the newsstand but the subscription for 12 issues is only $10.00. That’s a pretty sweet deal.
The one thing that I found appealing was that the foreign magazines weren’t nearly as expensive as they are in the book store. The average price for most UK magazines is about $15 an issue. And even though they weren’t the bargain price of the domestic mags, they certainly were more affordable in their electronic form.
The Bottom Line -
While I would like to see more interactivity in the magazines, such as I found in the Men’s Health magazine for the iPad, the Zinio offerings are a nice substitute until the publishing companies start to wrap their heads around content for the iPad. Don’t worry if you don’t have an iPad because Zinio is also available for the iPhone and iPod Touch devices.