Zinio — free app for reading magazines

Zinio is a leader in electronic versions of major national magazines, with their editions including our very own iPhone Life magazine (4 issues for $10). Zinio does a good job of digitally replicating the experience of reading a print magazine. And now they have a Zinio Magazine Reader out for the iPhone. You need to be a Zinio subscriber, or you can purchase single issues or subscription via the app. App Store reviewers slam it for not being easy to read, but that's apparently because they haven't yet figured out how to use it. See a good discussion on the MacRumors site.

In particular, someone posting as MotoBeat11 explained how to use it: Yes, the iPhone screen seems too small to read a magazine on. But it's not too small to read a text on. And that's the sweetness of this little app. It takes the articles in the magazine and turns them basically a more functional text message. You can resize and rewrap the text (can't do that with the pinch, eh) in the "optimized text view". Here's the best way to do it: Download the PC Magazine entirely; the app doesn't do much until you get the whole magazine downloaded. Then, turn the thing on it's side and use landscape mode to swipe through the pages. The text is big enough to see the pictures and read the titles, so what more do you want for something that fits in your pocket? When you get to the article that you want to read, tap the magic button at the bottom. The magic button turns the image into pure text. If more than one story is on the page, it'll even ask you which one you want to read. When it comes up, you're in business. Tap for font size selection. Go as big as you like, because it'll rewrap the text. It's even got links in the story that will open up safari and take you right to a website. It'll even send the whole article as an email (complete with any of the above mentioned links). When you're done, you hit the magic button again and go back to swipe mode for more magazine-like reading. Spend 10 minutes with it and you'll start to wish that you could use this thing to check your gmail. Spend 20 minutes with it and you'll wish they had more magazines available for it. 


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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.