I have been using Zinio to read magazines since 4/21/2005 (according to the oldest transaction Zinio lists on my account page) until the release of the iPad I have only had access to my magazines on my Macs. For the most part Zinio gives you a PDF version of the print magazine, with the occasional video added in here and there. The quality has always been fantastic and their Mac support gets better every year, it is now excellent to use the service on a Mac.
So naturally when I saw that Zinio had an iPad app that I could read my magazines on, I was to say the very least happy. Very happy.
Reading Magazines on the iPad
I use the iPad mostly in landscape view, but I have found that with Zinio I read in Portrait orientation (looking at the pictures in landscape). The initial iPad app was very sluggish, and when you zoomed in the text did not come into focus. Just yesterday Zinio released a new version that speeds the app up significantly, and allows you to zoom in and have nice sharp text.
Zinio does not stop there, as they also have interactive magazines that you can download, which give you a far better experience then the typical PDF version of the magazine gives you. With interactive versions you get three majors advantages: video, slideshows, text excerpts (more on this in a bit).
The video is good, and adds a little to the experience of reading the magazine. The slideshows are phenomenal, especially if you subscribe to National Geographic (why wouldn’t you?). In the National Geographic app you get slideshows for the features where you can see some of their amazing photography. One thing that I really love about about the National Geographic slideshows is that when you transition from one picture to the next, instead of the picture showing up blurry for a second, it shows up dark. Half a second later you get a nice vibrant bright image, this strikes me as a much better way to transition then the blurry to sharp method that most people invoke.
The text excerpts, or more aptly the text button at the bottom of articles is a very handy feature. Pressing the button invokes a text only mode, the screen background becomes white with dark grey text, no ads, or pictures to distract your eye. I very much like reading the articles this way, as it reminds me of the fantastic Instapaper app.
Overall I highly recommend using Zinio to get your magazines, especially given the most subscriptions are between $9.00 and $19 a year. Forget paying $4.99 and issue.