Newspapers and magazines have gone digital and if you’ve never read a digital magazine before, now is a great time to give it a go. Digital publications are available to read on your computer and mobile devices, making them convenient to read wherever you are.
Some publications such as Newsweek are now available only in digital while others are available both in print and digital. Some services give you the choice of reading issues in the classic view, where the digital edition looks just like the print version, and in the digital view, with easier navigation and bonus features such as interactive media. Some digital subscriptions may be free if you already have a paid print subscription.
Each digital publication service has different features so you can decide which one suits you best.
Why You May Prefer Digital Publications
You may have many reasons for wanting to read your newspapers and magazines in a digital format:
Convenience – Have your media with you on your computer and mobile devices.
Accessibility – Get access to publications available only in a digital format.
Worldwide Availability – Read publications from around the world instantly.
Never Miss an Issue – You don’t have to wait for issues to arrive or worry about lost issues.
Saving Trees – Your recycling pile will be much lighter with digital subscriptions.
Easy Searches – Find articles quickly through keyword searches.
Added features – Enjoy bonuses such as interactive features, links to products, additional original content and other features.
Easier Reading – You can Fix Your Font on digital media to the size that’s most comfortable for your eyes.
Free – Some publishers offer free digital subscriptions with a paid print subscription.
Audio Versions – PressReader and Audible offer audio versions of some publications.
Sources for Digital Media
PressReader gives you access to over 2400 newspapers around the world on your computer and mobile device for one subscription price: $29.99/month. If you enjoy reading multiple media sources, PressReader may be the most convenient and cost-efficient way to get your newspapers delivered.
PressReader is available on multiple platforms and delivers your content via automatic or manual downloads. PressReader brings you 2400+ newspapers from more than 97 countries in 54 languages around the world.
PressReader allows you to purchase individual issues or pay one price for an unlimited number of publications. Think à la carte versus an all-you-can-eat buffet. For under $30/month you can read every newspaper they carry, though I doubt you could read all of them in a month. PressReader carries major publications such as The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, International Herald Tribune, Le Monde and others. You can get a free trial of seven issues to see if you enjoy the service.
PressReader’s All-You-Can-Read price is $29.99 per month, or $39.99 per month if you sign up through iTunes. Even if you sign up on PressReader’s website, you can still get access to all of PressReader’s newspaper through their iTunes app.
PressReader also offers audio versions of publications, where available, which are included with your subscription at no additional charge.
You can read newspapers in a replica format, that displays the issues as they appear in print, or in SmartFlow format, that provides easier navigation between articles.
Here’s a video showing how PressReader works on the iPad:
You can check out videos of PressReader on other devices on their YouTube channel.
Features of PressReader
- Unlimited access to 2400+ newspapers worldwide for one price
- Access from computer and multiple mobile devices
- Wide variety of publications and countries
- Audio versions included
- Ability to turn automatic downloads and Wi-Fi only downloads on/off for each publication
- Print full articles wirelessly
- Save articles to Evernote and other web clipping services
- Instant translation of articles into 12 different languages
- Publications available in replica or Smart Flow formats so you can either view publications as they would appear in print media or optimized for your mobile device.
You can access Pressreader on your computer or mobile devices using these apps:
- Computer Desktop
- iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch
- Kindle Fire and Android
- Windows 8 or RT
Information about activating your subscriptions on these apps is available on the Pressreader blog.
Think of Zinio as one-stop shopping for your digital magazines. Zinio bills itself as the “largest newsstand in the world” with over 5000 titles available in 25 languages from more than 200 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, Oceania, and Europe. Zinio delivered over 70 million digital issues in 2012 from more than 1300 publishers around the world.
Zinio sells subscriptions to digital magazines as well as individual issues. Once you purchase an issue of a publication, you can access it from Zinio at any time in your personal archives. Zinio also has free articles available every day, such as “If You Build It” from Ad Week about the rise in popularity of Legos.
Zinio often has offers for discounts on magazine issues and subscriptions.
Pricing on Zinio varies based on whether you’re interested in purchasing a subscription, single issue or “continuous issue”. A continuous issue means that your credit card is charged when each issue is published but you can cancel at any time. The savings for signing up for a continuous issue can be significant. For example, a single issue of PC World is $6.99 for a single issue or $1.99 for a continuous issue.
Features of Zinio
- Free articles
- Wide selection of publications
- Discounts on issues and subscriptions
- Archives of past issues
- Offline reading
- Sharing on Twitter and Facebook
You can read Zinio publications on your computer or mobile devices through these apps:
Whether you have a Kindle Fire or Kindle ereader, you can purchase subscriptions to newspapers, magazines and blogs on your Kindle from Amazon’s Kindle Newsstand. Amazon offers subscriptions to both print and Kindle editions of magazines, sometimes for one subscription price. For a list of magazines available for both print and Kindle see Amazon’s website.
For digital subscriptions, Amazon gives you a free trial period — 30 days for magazines, 14 days for newspapers and blogs. Amazon often offers sale prices on subscriptions. You can also buy individual issues of magazines and newspapers for Kindle.
Features of Kindle subscriptions
- Blogs – Get subscriptions to blogs on your Kindle.
- Availability – Get subscriptions delivered automatically on your Kindle or through your Kindle app on your computer or mobile device.
- Auto-delivery – Issues are downloaded when print versions hit the newsstand.
Note that if you have a 3G Kindle, additional subscription charges may apply for downloading your subscriptions outside your home country unless you are connected to Wi-Fi.
Newsstand for iTunes
Your iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch come with the Newsstand folder pre-loaded. Newsstand holds publication apps such as The New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, People Magazine, Motor Trend and other iOS apps. You can purchase subscriptions to each individual app or log in with your print subscriber information, in which case the digital edition may be free.
A blue ribbon now appears at the corner of the app in Newsstand to show you when a new issue is available, but new issues are not automatically downloaded.
- Subscriptions may be free if you have a paid print subscription.
- Easy access to all your subscriptions from one app.
- Only available to read on your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
- No automatic downloads.
- In-app subscription purchases may be more expensive than subscribing through a website(see PressReader above).
Google Play Magazines
If you’re looking to read magazines on your Android device, check out Google Play Magazines. This app gives you access to your subscriptions on your Android or you can purchase digital subscriptions and individual issues for thousands of different magazines at Google Play.
Earlier this year, Google began offering a “free for print subscribers” option for its magazines in Google Play, when permitted by publishers, so you may be able to get magazines from Google Play for free if you have a print subscription. You can enable automatic or manual downloads for your subscriptions.
If you prefer to listen to an audio version of magazines, check out Audible which has almost 9000 newspapers and magazines available in audio versions. You can buy audio subscriptions, single issues and individual articles using cash or Audible credits.
Audible offers subscriptions to periodicals such as The New York Times Audio Digest, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Harvard Business Review, The New Yorker, and other publications.
Audible members get a free audio subscription to either the New York Times or Wall Street Journal as a benefit. My full review of Audible can be found here: Audible: My Favorite Way to Read a Book.
With all of the choices for reading digital media, you should shop around to see which service has the best price and is available on the devices you want to read them on. Check to see if the subscription service has automatic downloads if you want the content available as soon as it’s published. If you’re already a print subscriber, see whether a free digital subscription is available to you. Check availability – not all titles are available from all services.
If you subscribe to more than one newspaper online, check out PressReader to save money and get access to thousands of newspapers with one subscription price (though be sure to subscribe directly from the PressReader website, not through iTunes).
Consider convenience. Make sure that you’re receiving your subscriptions on the device where you do most of your reading. Try to avoid getting locked into subscriptions that are only available on one device, especially if you read on multiple devices.
Check your storage space on your computer and mobile devices. Digital magazines with lots of images can take up space so be sure to delete them when you are done reading them.
Try the bonus features. One of the advantages of digital media is the inclusion of content such as embedded videos or links to other articles, advertisers or websites. Explore and enjoy.
Do you enjoy reading digital publications? Do you have any digital subscriptions? Do you prefer reading print or digital media? Let us know in the Comments section below!