If I was forced to keep just one app on my iPad it would have to be Zinio. Zinio has made me owning an iPad logical. I’ve already posted previously about the fact that I didn’t know what exactly I would use the iPad for but with Zinio its become very clear… magazines. I love magazines and I hate books (short stories are fine). Maybe if I was stuck on an Island with just a library I would take up reading but with my already hectic life I need to make the best of my time and books just take too much of it. It’s the same reason I don’t watch many movies, for the same amount of time it takes me to watch 1 movie I could watch 4 episodes from my favorite TV show. The problem we have in Kuwait is magazines are expensive costing KD3 and up per issue every month. In the US you could subscribe to a full year for the same price we pay for just a single issue here. I’ve tried subscribing to US magazines and having them shipped with Aramex but magazines can be heavy and in the end I was paying 10$ a year to subscribe to 12 issues of a magazine and then paying KD3 or KD5.500 to ship a single issue to Kuwait.
With Zinio I no longer have that problem. Zinio originally was a website which allowed you to subscribe to digital versions of magazines so you could view them on your computer. Now they’ve created an iPad app which allows you to view the magazines on your iPad. The magazines on the iPad look like the print version except it has a few advantages. For example I was flipping through an article in Car & Driver about a car and on one of the pages I noticed an icon, when I clicked the icon it opened up a gallery full of pictures of the car.. ones that weren’t available in the print version. Other nifty features is the ability to open the contents page and then click on the headline of the article you want to go to or view all the spreads as thumbnails and then select the spread you want to see. There was a Honda ad in the magazine with a button click here for a test drive, when I clicked the button it played a video commercial of the ad (which was actually a good one). You can also view the magazine as a spread (two pages side by side) or if you hold the iPad vertically you can view the magazine page by page. You can zoom into the page to enlarge the copy by other double tapping a location or by pinching the screen. Another cool feature is the fact that you can view a purely text version of the magazine in case you’re having issues for some reason reading the regular print version. Articles in the text format can also be emailed to friends or to yourself to print out and you can even control the font size.
When you run the app you have three main sections, featured articles, your library and shop. Featured articles is basically samples of articles from some of the popular magazines which you could read for free. Your Library is where all your magazine issues are stored. You can view your magazines either by titles or by date. It’s very organized and easy to navigate. Finally the shop section is where you can flip through the magazines available to subscribe to and order them. Once you download a magazine you don’t need Internet access to view them. Magazine sizes vary from around 20MB to 40MB per issue. The prices for most US magazines like Car & Driver, Maxim, Cosmopolitan etc.. are around $10 to $15 for a yearly subscription (similar to their print counterparts) while some magazines that are European imports cost a lot more. You can use your Kuwaiti credit card without any problems.
The Zinio app is free and available in the App Store (on both the iPhone and iPad). Here is a link to the Zinio website where you can check all the magazines they have available with their prices. [Link]