Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Zinio Magazine Reader App

Zinio was one of the first apps I downloaded when I got my iPad.  I was anxious to see what they do with magazine content and whether the subscription prices were reasonable.  I was disappointed at first as the selection was limited and the prices were nothing to celebrate.  And for the most part, the content is rendered exactly as you see it in the print product.  That's not horrible, but I was hoping for more added value.  Other than a few links here and there it was pretty sparse.

I decided to check it out again over the weekend and still felt largely the same way.  But then I noticed the pricing model they have for PC Magazine.  You can either buy one issue for $5.99 or a 12-issue subscription for $5.  I'm curious to know whether anyone has really opted for the $5.99 single-issue deal...

I was a long-time PC Mag reader and I decided $5 was more than reasonable for a 12-issue subscription.  So far, I'm not at all disappointed.  Of course, that's not exactly a ringing endorsement to run out and buy one yourself now, is it?  It's worth five bucks though.

I'm glad PC Magazine and Zinio decided to go with this aggressive low pricing.  It's precisely the model that's needed for these quick-and-dirty conversions from print to e-format.  If you're going to add a lot more value than the print version I'll consider paying more.  But since you're just repurposing the same content you're selling elsewhere, with no added value, please don't act like Wired and think I'll pay the cover price for every issue (especially when I can get a 12 print issue subscription for $5)!

One final observation about my first PC Mag Zinio issue: I found it remarkable that it only included one ad (for Intel).  Where are all the others?  Is there really only one company that advertises in PC Mag nowadays?  Yikes.

I'll check back on Zinio's catalog from time to time.  If they offer more $5 annual subscriptions, just like the ones I often get in the snail mail, I'll probably sign up for them.  It's a better way than getting the print version and it will hold me over till the magazine industry figures out a new model, one that's more interesting than just the print version in e-format.


  1. The $5 subscription price is a sale that ends today.

  2. I'm actually a big fan of Zinio. Not because it fulfills the potential of rich media content onto a tablet, but because it delivers magazines that I read to my iPad (namely, The Economist and Dwell). What they do, they do well in my opinion. They are not out to create the rich experience that Wired is aiming for in their digital version, which falls way short of their vision and the hype.

    The biggest missing piece for me when transitioning to the iPad from the Kindle was magazine content. Zinio is the bridge that brings me the content in a much more enjoyable format than the Kindle's magazine efforts ever did.

    Regarding the pricing model, Zinio is just a middle-man and a broker. While I believe the digital versions of the same content should be less expensive, the problem lies in the distribution chain and agreements, not in the technology unfortunately. However, for the time being, I don't mind paying the 'news-stand' price for the convenience factor and delivery format to my iPad. I have four subscriptions: The Economist, Dwell, ESPN Magazine and Esquire and all are a pleasure to read using this app on the iPad.