Reading Digital Magazines

When I’m traveling on the road, Cindy puts together a “care” package for me every month or so and mails it to my hotel. The major content of those packages is my mail and the major portion of my mail is magazines to which I have subscriptions.

My subscription to PC World magazine was about to expire a few days ago, in fact so close to expiring that I decided I should go online and renew it before I missed the next issue. As I prepared to submit my payment and enter my bank information, I noticed a new and interesting option; I could replace the dead-tree subscription with a DIGITAL subscription for a few dollars less.

Since I’m for just about anything that will help stop depleting natural resources and love just about anything digital, it only took me about 2 seconds to decide to give it a try.

As soon as I submitted my payment I received a link in my e-mail to download the program that’s used to display the magazine, an application called the Zinio Reader. The current issue of PC World was already there and future issues were promised to be emailed when newsstand issues hit the shelves (do you hear that LAPTOP magazine?). To be honest though, I had expected the digital version to be a .pdf file, so at first I was a bit nonplussed at the prospect of having to use yet another program to view the magazine.

But that changed after opening the magazine and taking the reader for a whirl.

The screen layout is a 2-page view that is exactly the same as you would see if you were holding an open magazine. Having read this particular magazine for over a decade, I could see no difference in the print version and this digital version. Font, layout, and graphics are all precisely as they appear in the print magazine. That helps to lend an air of familiarity to a new experience.

When you “turn” the page by clicking on the corner of the page with your mouse, the reader mimics the actual turning of a page. By that I mean that you actually see the page turning as if you were turning the physical page of a print magazine. Again, an air of familiarity.

Plus, all those links that are contained in articles are live and clickable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve manually entered a link from the magazine into my browser when I wanted to see a program or look at an older article. Now, that’s a thing of the past, it’s live on my laptop.

Finally, getting the digital version means there will be at least one less magazine Cindy will have to put in the “care” packages she sends me. I say “at least one” because I see that Zinio offers digital versions of a great many magazines, so I’ll be going through their list to see what else I can convert from print to digital.

After all, this IS the 21st century.

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