When Steve Jobs first introduced the iPad he pushed the idea of it as an electronic magazine. Publishers were very excited about having another way to sell their magazines since print media is slowly dying. Although the iPad has been very successful, it’s clear that the electronic magazine form on the tablet has not yet taken off as predicted. Still, I believe that in the future most magazines will be consumed on a tablet or similar mobile device. Some still prefer the print magazine and can’t yet make the jump to electronic. But for those brave enough and wanting to get ahead of the curve, there are some options on Android tablets. Today, I will take a look at the Zinio app which publishes many of the the top magazines on your mobile device.
The Zinio app gives you access to thousands of top magazines in beautiful graphics. Content for a magazine app is important and I think Zinio does a good job of providing most of the popular magazines despite some missing magazines like Time and The New Yorker. The pricing is also similar to the print version or slightly discounted for a subscription.
The app is visually appealing and laid out nicely on a tablet in both portrait or landscape mode. You have three basic screens in the app which includes browsing, library, and shopping. The browse section allows you to sample many of the top magazine with a few pages available for viewing. This gives you a good feel for what the magazine will look like on the tablet and if it suites your liking. Then you have your library where you can access purchased magazines and download them. The magazines can be sorted and you can also remove items or hide them. An important feature once you start to have a lot of magazines on you device. The shopping section allows you to look at all the available magazines and purchase either single issues or subscription. Once you signup for a Zinio account you get 5 free magazines and an account is a requirement for future purchasing. The account will allow you to sync across all mobile devices and your home computer.
When you download your magazine the graphics are absolutely stellar and a major plus for the app. A single page is rendered in portrait mode while landscape allows for two page viewing. I found that in landscape mode everything is too small and not very useful so go with portrait mode. There are several ways to navigate through the pages like swiping left to right for the next or previous page. If you touch the screen you will get a scroll bar at bottom with thumbnails of pages. You can also go to a full screen with text or thumbnail views of table of contents. Overall the navigation is easy and everything looks great on the screen.
My only issue with the electronic magazine is that reading the text on the screen is difficult. This isn’t necessary specific to this app and is a problem of the whole electronic magazine. You can zoom for better reading but then you have to constantly move the page. The app does provides a text reader which will display the text of the article in a new screen but this takes away from the whole magazine experience. I’m not sure how this can be solved but it’s the main resistance for moving to a magazines on a tablet. The experience on the tablet still doesn’t reach the print version but maybe that’s the wrong kind of thinking. I know that I hate to have so many magazines piling up around my place and would prefer to read on my tablet. If you want to read magazines on a tablet I think this is a great app and is moving in the right direction. Check it out and let us know what you think.
This app is not compatible with the Kindle Fire.