Become Your Own Magazine Publisher with Zeen

With the advent of the tablet, specifically the iPad, book and magazine publishing has gotten a lot more attention than they thought they would ever get. Gone are the days of just publishing your book for print and selling millions of hard back copies to make the New York Times bestseller list. You have to also think about publishing for ebooks and for some, targeting devices like the iPad or another tablet. The same goes for magazines, more and more I am seeing them being tailored to the tablet or the web because frankly, that is where the audience is at or heading toward.

The same can be said for content creation as well, it is moving toward creating for not only a hard back, but also for the web and other devices. But, what is also pretty cool is that content creation is becoming easier for the average Joe to get his/her hands on and come up with something pretty decent. Zeen, is one of those services that make this possible for people like you and I to create something beautiful on the web, and then be able to share it out with the world in a way that looks presentable. It is one of those apps that if you are willing to be a little creative, it has a lot of potential to be a useful tool.

What Is Zeen?

The easiest way to describe it, is that it is an app that gives you the opportunity to create your own magazine on the web. At first I thought to myself that this is a pretty decent idea. But it was one of those apps that the more I played with it, the more I started thinking of ideas on how I could use it for various things and projects. I also found that a lot of the features that Zeen provided really made it more than just a magazine creator as you will see in this review.

User profile with their magazines

User profile with their magazines

Creating and Publishing Your Zeen

When I started to create my first Zeen, I realized that the potential for creating all types of things were possible. There are a variety of ways that you can add content when you are starting to make your magazine. You can search for things on Google, use pictures from Instagram, get tweets from Twitter, as well as articles or pictures that you have bookmarked from the web using the Zeen clipper. Having these options really gives you the opportunity to create a wide variety of magazines for others to see.

Gathering content from different sources

Gathering content from different sources

When it comes to creating your Zeen, it is very intuitive and easy to do. You start off with a title page and then you can start to add pages to your magazine using the tools I mentioned above. There are a variety of styles and colors that you can choose from to make it your own and they also have a small amount of image filters that you can use. You also have control over the page layout where you can choose from a selection of them that will match what you are looking for.

Layout and color options

Layout and color options

After you are done creating your masterpiece it is now time to publish it and show it to the world. You can share it on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. It would have been nice to have a short url link that you can share with others as well.

Consuming Content

Creating your content is only half of this web app, the other half is having the ability to utilize it as kind of a social network so to speak. You can search for other magazines that people make and if you find one that is interesting you can subscribe to it. What is nice about this subscribing feature is that people can make multiple issues surrounding a topic. It is similar to like a monthly subscription to a magazine that you may have. You can also like and share someone else’s Zeen, but at this point there is no commenting, which isn’t a deal breaker in my mind.

Searching for Zeens that interest you

Searching for Zeens that interest you

Be Creative

The potential for Zeen in my opinion, is only limited by how creative people can be. What got me excited about this app is that there is so much potential for creating magazines or other reading material for people. You don’t have to be a writer to use this, you can be a photographer that wants to show off different photos, you can be a teacher that wants to create a lesson for students, or you can even be someone who is just passionate about a topic and you want to share things about it with the world. Really, the ideas are endless for what you can do with this app. The more creative you can be, the better you realize the potential for something like this.

Conclusion

What I loved about Zeen is that it doesn’t make it hard for the user to create whatever they want. It is very intuitive and easy to use and I felt I could dive right in and get started right away and not have to go through a bunch of tutorials to use it. I like the social aspect where you can subscribe to different magazines as this gives a reader another way to consume material they love.

I would love to see them come up with an option to export your magazine to say maybe a PDF or iBooks, so you could read it on the iPad or other portable devices. Speaking of which, would really like to see this ported onto the iPad as an app there, as I think it would be a great way to use it. At the moment Zeen is free to use since it is in beta, and I am not sure what they are going to do once they are out. It would be good to see them charge for some extra features or find a way to have a good business model because I would love to see this app stick around. You should go and check it out for yourself and see what you think.


Summary

Create your own magazine with a variety of content to choose from with Zeen

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