Is Zinio Pushing Digital Publications Forward?


One handy feature is the ability to email articles. In my testing, I was able to email the parsed version of an article to anybody I wanted regardless of where the article came from, which surprised me. I don’t want to say you can share anything that you read since I don’t know the details of Zinio’s licensing with various publishers and news corporations, but I never ran into any snags. The big bummer with digital media is that you can’t share it like you would physical media, and this alleviates part of the problem.

Magazines have two tables of contents: A visual layout and one that is text-based, not unlike the text parser I brought up earlier. I (of course) prefer the text-based layout because it loads much faster, particularly on my iPad mini. Beyond that, it just looks a little bit cleaner to my eyes and I’m glad the option is there.

Browsing through the app to look through your personal subscription and adding more is self-explanatory. Zinio is kind enough to provide a brief tutorial when you open the app to get you on your feet, but it never feels overly difficult. I had an easier time finding magazines in the catalog with Zinio than I did with Newsstand, and unless it was purposefully-exclusive (like Marco Arment’s The Magazine), I never struggled with finding anything in the store.

The only real downside to Zinio‘s experience comes from magazine publishers. Let’s say that there’s text close to a page’s natural margin. Zinio doesn’t display pages in the traditional sense, so there were a couple times when words were cut from the edges of the page. There’s not much Zinio can do about that; really, the fault lies with the publisher. For the record, reading the article with the text parser solved the problem,

My Final Verdict Zinio is nothing more than a stop-gap. It’s an app that stores physical magazines in digital formats across your devices, and it does a good job with a fine user interface. I preferred the experience over Newsstand, but I will add that Zinio isn’t quite as minimalist. Of course, it also doesn’t heavily feature wooden bookshelves.

But really, Zinio is halfway there. It solves a problem created by major publishers who haven’t figured out how to handle digital publications yet with its text parser, but I would prefer seeing magazines that better fit the iPad’s screen to begin with. That transition is going to take years, and by the time it’s been figured out, I suspect the rest of us will have already moved on to “the next big thing.”

Despite that, as an app, I can’t give Zinio anything less than a top-rate recommendation. I wish the interface was slightly more minimalist, but that’s a very personal preference. Most people are going to love how easy the app is to navigate. Everybody in their right minds will love the text parser. And for some people, the app’s cross-platform compatibility makes it a winner. Zinio comes strongly recommended for anybody looking for a great way to read magazines digitally.

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