Ever since college, one of the things I would do to relax and take a break was to pick up a sports or tech magazine and just enjoy the articles. I loved reading magazines and I still do, but, there is a vast different in how I read them today than I did 12 years ago in college. For one, I don’t read the paper versions anymore because I found a digital solution.
The solution I use is actually an app called Zinio. For most, average tech users, Zinio is not a household name, and that really baffles me. Till this day, I still don’t understand how this company is not taking off the way that I think they should. Let me show you why I think they are one of the best digital magazine retailers out there.
The Buying Experience
Zinio has set themselves up as a digital store where you can purchase just about any magazine that you are looking for. They have just about every popular name brand magazine you can think of. There has never been a time where I wanted to purchase a magazine on Zinio and couldn’t find it.
They make it easy for you to search for a magazine you want by clicking on a topic or using the search box. Once you find the magazine that you want to get, you have a choice of either buying the latest issue or a digital subscription. The one thing that I found was that most times the digital subscription was cheaper on Zinio than the paper subscription was for a magazine. I am not sure if that is the case all the time, but I definitely liked that and felt like the digital version was such a better deal.
More Than Just a Store
The beauty of Zinio is that it is much more than just a place where you can buy digital magazines; you can also read them on the app as well. Since this is Web.AppStorm, we will focus reading your magazines on the web, although there are other platforms that you can read them on as well, which I will talk about later. One of the minor disappointments is that if you do want to read your magazines on the web, you are going to need Flash installed. I know for some that is a major turn off, but I can tell you this, you do get a pretty good reading experience.
When you first open your magazine, you will find that it is just like reading the paper version, with some cool differences. You can choose to read it in two page view, one page and even in full screen mode. In the Table of Contents you can click on any article and you will be taken straight to that article and any links within the magazine can be clicked on and you will be taken to the link in your web browser. The app also has a search box, which at first I didn’t think could be useful but the more I used it, the more I liked it. For example, I was reading an ESPN magazine, but wanted to read only the articles about March Madness so that is why I typed in and got all the articles that related to that. It is a great way to find the articles that you want and not have to flip through the whole magazine.
The other feature that makes Zinio on the web nice to have is the social features. Articles can be shared to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Digg. They can also be emailed, as well as embedded in a website or linked to. Whenever you share a link other people are able to see the article that you are sharing within Zinio.
As I had briefly mentioned earlier Zinio is on more than just the web. In fact, it is on just about most other platforms that you can think of. For example, I can read my magazines on my iPad, iPhone, Android device, PC or Mac. This, more than anything else, makes me love using Zinio. I love that I can be reading something on my iPad and then later on continue reading on my Mac if I want. You almost never have to worry about not having a device that won’t be able to read your Zinio magazines because of all the different platforms it is on.
Can It Stay Relevant?
That is the million dollar question for Zinio at this moment, I believe. I am not sure what their sales numbers are, but I do know that with the growing number of publishers deciding to make their own magazine app, and other companies such as Apple competing for the same space, Zinio is going to have to step up. Yes, they have a great platform, with a wide variety of magazines that are priced at a very good amount. But sooner or later, we know that more and more people are starting to move toward digital reading, which means they are going to want more than just the same experience you would get from the paper magazine and more. People want to interact with the material that they are reading.
Zinio has a quality application and a great reading experience. I love using the app, but I do fear that if they don’t innovate soon, they are going to lose customers to other apps. I know for me, I would rather take a cheaper Zinio magazine over the competition, even if they may have cooler features. But that is because I am cheap and don’t want to pay for more features, at the moment. Does that mean I will later? I am not sure.
What about you? Does something like Zinio interest you, or do you plan to stick with other magazine apps, like Newsstand for iPad, The Daily, and others? We would love to hear your comments.