62 Comments

Summary:

Just like Apple with its iBookstore, Zinio has established relationships with an impressive array of publications. As such, you can expect to find enhanced editions of magazines Cosmopolitan, T3 and Rolling Stone among others. However, unlike Apple’s iBookstore, Zinio certainly doesn’t live up to the hype.

zinio_thumb

Zinio is a magazine store and reader for the iPad. In fact, for now, it’s the magazine store for the iPad, stocking all the biggest titles of which you can purchase one-off issues or even 12 month subscriptions.

Just like Apple with its iBookstore, Zinio has established relationships with an impressive array of publications. As such, you can expect to find enhanced editions of magazines Cosmopolitan, T3, Rolling Stone and Hello among many others. However, unlike Apple’s iBookstore or iBooks app, Zinio certainly doesn’t live up to the hype.

For starters, each page takes around a second to load. Take a moment and imagine that…imagine reading a magazine and waiting an entire second every time you decide to turn a page. Need to quickly flick back and take a glance at that article from a few pages ago? Prepare to wait.

Plus, there’s no in-app purchasing, meaning that you have to leave the app, load Safari, sign in to Zinio’s website and then make a purchase using your credit card. You can’t even use PayPal. In fact, because Zinio’s iPad site login wasn’t working for me, I ended up opening my MacBook Pro and handling the entire purchase on there.

There’s no option, that I could find, for deleting a magazine. I checked the app, the Settings app and even my account settings on Zinio’s site. This means I’m stuck with a couple of freebies: Car & Driver and a rapidly aging edition of Macworld magazine. (There’s also a free copy of National Geographic but I don’t mind keeping that as it fools me into thinking I’m cultured.)

The magazines themselves are just that, magazines. This isn’t Captain Picard’s enhanced edition of Cosmopolitan, just a run of the mill scanned magazine. And while pinch-to-zoom works, zooming in close reveals the low quality of these fuzzy digital magazines.

Any websites that are mentioned will typically have an ugly blue outline to indicate that you can open the site by tapping the text. Aside from that, you’ll be lucky to find the occasional clunky video embedded in an otherwise static page. Welcome to the future, those are your ‘enhancements’.

What worries me here is that Zinio has all the big names wrapped up, as such it might take a while for things to change. In the meantime, I feel embarrassed to use Zinio’s app, to think that this is the future of magazines on my $499 iPad — shoddy ‘enhanced’ PDFs.

Related GigaOM Pro Research: Evolution of the e-Book Market

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. I bought my first Mac – a Mini – 5 years ago to experiment with OS X. A MAcWorld sub magically appeared along with an option to receive it via Zinio.

    Zinio turned out to be truly crap software. Which I soon deleted.

    Why am I not surprised they haven’t changed? Most of the magazines they deal with haven’t gotten their act together, either. Unfortunately.

  2. Please, please, please don’t make the mistake of thinking that Zinio (or any of the other traditional digital edition providers) are the magazine industry’s idea of building compelling experiences for the iPad. The reason so many titles are there now is because so many titles threw in with them years ago in the dawning of the digital edition age. Back then print was still making good money and digital was just this vague idea of the future. Solutions like Zinio offered publishers a way to play with that future without having to really think about it. Producing a DE was so easy – it put zero pressure on operations and made just enough money to cover it’s own cost – that publishers had no reason to pull the plug on them. So when the iPad came along titles already on auto-pilot with Zinio were simply added to their newsstand without even a moment’s thought.

    I can almost guarantee that nobody in the industry – not even the most out of touch, luddite publisher you could possibly find – looks at what is going on in the Zinio app and says “this is it – this is the answer we’ve been looking for!” There is an awareness of what works and what doesn’t. The problem is a deeply rooted operational legacy that is geared to producing and servicing an anemic medium. It’s not simply about having the idea and the vision of the ideal app – it’s about rearranging departments, processes, people, lives in a way that leads to a sustainable and logical execution of that vision. Some publishers will get through that, many won’t. Yet, one thing is certain – we will start to see compelling experiences driven by an editorial, visual, and graphical vision that feeds off of the flow of now rather than bones of the past. Stay tuned.

  3. Software development takes a while, and a truly bespoke iPad reader is a major software project. Most, if not all, of the brands on Zinio also will have their own branded apps with better functionality, but it may take until Q3 or Q4. Zinio also will iterate and improve the functionality of its reader, although given that it uses a common interface for all brands, it’s never going to fully utilize the iPad’s features in a way that’s tailored to a specific brand. Zinio was in the app store on the iPad’s on-sale date, and they traded features and smoothness for time to market. Zinio isn’t the end of the story for how these brands will work on this platform.

  4. I too have been disappointed by the Zinio experience, mostly because the possibilities are so great.

    And here’s how you delete Car and Driver. First you have to download it. That’s right, you have to download the entire issue by opening it and letting itself complete the download of the content. What you are seeing is basically just the cover. The tiny blue down arrow apparently means that the content still needs to be downloaded.

    This process is indicative of the entire experience btw.

    1. Thanks for explaining how to delete a magazine…It was driving me crazy being able to delete SOME, and not others!

      Pretty strange though…must download to be able to delete… ehh.

  5. Zinio’s iPad Magazines Suggest Disappointing Future « Apple News Daily Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    [...] Zinio’s iPad Magazines Suggest Disappointing Future [...]

  6. I’ve been a long time user of Zinio since it allows me to get magazines on my macbook for traveling. Note that I only buy magazines that are under 10 bucks for a year, full price just doesn’t make sense for what this gives you.

    The ipad app is ok, not great and I agree with the comments above. However, if they manage to keep the price down and speed up the interface it will make a nice fill in.

    Sadly I fear that they are going to see that it’s getting popular and raise the prices, if you look at the single issue price of Macworld it’s 6.99, that’s just insane.

    The other nit is that the magazines are heavily drm’d, if you move to a new machine you’ll have to redownload everything all over again. This caught me by surprise on a flight with no connectivity.

  7. Inability to view/download my library of already bought issues is a deal breaker for me.

  8. The ball is in Zinio’s court.

    If they can get the reader right, than somebody else will come along and grab the market.

    How hard is it to make a fast reader? Not rocket science!

  9. Ah, it’s so nice to see that you’re on the right track. Even as a teeny tiny (for now) Canadian publisher, it was obvious to us from the very first announcement that the iPad was going to be a whole new playing field and those publishers who are nimble (read “small”) and willing to take risks (read “what have WE got to lose?”) are likely going to be bringing out apps that are just as good, if not better, than established publishers, who ahve sooooo many constiuencies to satisfy.

    Right now, those who are getting it like Time and Reuters are going to gain huge credibility with iPad users from the very start. We hope to be among that group after we launch our iPad app next month. Those who, like GQ or the Zinio lads, seem to have missed the iPad user experience are going to have a hard time catching up.

    Sorry for the shill, but we little guys have to do wahtever we can to promote ourseleves.

  10. First, I’m not some big Zinio fan, but people need to realize what its purpose is. As a way of delivering traditional print editions in electronic form Zinio provides a fair solution with a few minor annoyances that can be massaged out.

    As for the “enhanced” content. You know, I was a developer in the 90’s building all those crap Macromedia Director “enhanced” content items on CDROM. I’ve seen PopSci, and Time’s initial efforts and if this is the direction we are going to go backwards to, these individually created content items than I will stick to Zinio’s print analog any day. We have the web, we have HTML 5, I want all my magazine issues on a shelf that I can pick and choose from. Not 20 different “enhanced” apps cluttering my home screens. I am a rich media developer, and I don’t want to see this. It is a step backwards. There is room for both traditional print in electronic form, and the enhanced stuff, Zinio’s purpose I think is clear. Now they need to speed it up, fix the bugs, and allow “all” of their content to be on the iPad. (Though this last one is more likely an Apple constraint.)

  11. Amen.

    Zinio has been an awful reader on my MacBook for many years; I stopped getting a couple of magazine in e-format because they were so impossible to read.

  12. Daily Roundup « Netly: The Third Screen Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    [...] Zinio’s iPad Magazines Suggest Disappointing Future The Apple Blog [...]

  13. I had so much touble with their Mac app that I would never give them a chance on my iPad. There will be better solutions (and better than what TIME is doing too).

  14. Wow. This is fantastic – you all realize that developers had approximately 6 weeks to do this, right? What they’ve done in that time is nothing short of fantastic. I just wish the Cigar Afficionado, Inc, Fast Company, and Entrepreneur would get on there so they would stop cluttering up my home and office. And, like all other apps, what we have now is not the end. There will be continued development and improvement.

    As far as “enhanced PDF’s” – why do you praise iBook and bash this? There’s nothing extra in the books I’ve seen on the iPad – same experience as the book itself, just on a device. Except it is better than Kindle. And, so, this is better than nothing else (the only other option currently), and it will continue to get better as time goes on. Had to launch with something…

  15. My name is Brian. I work for Zinio and worked on the iPad product. I’d like to address some of the points in your post.

    Jeanniey Mullen, our CMO, is happy to address additional comments in person, at 973.204.0023, at jmullen@zinio.com or via Twitter at @empg. We take every comment and piece of feedback very seriously at Zinio.

    The Zinio app for iPad is a key element of Zinio’s UNITY platform, which allows any subscriber to buy content on any device and read it on any device. We were pretty excited to launch a fully functional newsstand, offering over 2,400 titles, in a short time. But even more so, we were excited that any Zinio subscriber would be able to read any title they bought before the iPad, as soon as they downloaded the app.

    As for some of the features’ downfalls, keep in mind that we developed an application in 6 weeks that normally would launch in 6 months. We made some difficult decisions on what shipped and what didn’t. Unfortunately, some of the fixes you identified could not make it under the tight timelines. We are working on those as we speak. Some of the specifics relating to your post include:

    Slow Page-turning:
    A quick primer on file formats, iBooks display ePub-format books, whereas Zinio displays high-resolution text, images and videos of magazines. Sometimes, the high-fidelity pages can be 10x larger than the equivalent ePub page, so pages can require additional time to load. Nevertheless, we have improved the page-turning speed in our app DRAMATICALLY in our latest testing. We would love to get your feedback on this new version as soon as it’s out (timeline dependent on Apple’s review team).

    No In-app Purchasing:
    We totally agree that the Safari purchasing experience is not ideal. The current Safari-based purchasing experience complies with Apple’s guidelines, and we are working on the next version of our app that will offer an improved in-app purchasing experience.

    Inability to Delete Magazines:
    Users do have the ability to remove magazines from their iPad if you start running low on your 16GB storage space. Tap and hold in version 1.0, or tap the Edit button in version 1.2 or higher. We are working on enabling users to remove and archive those older editions of Macworld and Car and Driver.

    Future Magazine Experience:
    Zinio launched a few enhanced editions for the iPad, such as National Geographic, Macworld and Spin. We labeled this effort Phase 1 of our new magazine reading experience – this is NOT Zinio’s FINAL interpretation of the future of magazines. We are working closely with our publishers to re-think the magazine, using the unique capabilities of the device. You soon will see new experiences launched with selected publications.

    Please stay tuned – this is just the beginning of the tablet revolution, and Zinio will be constantly innovating over the coming months.

  16. Hi Brian,

    It’s Olly here. Thanks for taking the time to respond to the article. I’d like to respond to your response, I’ll keep it short and direct as I’m still trying to get comfy on this iPad keyboard!

    • Limited Development Time
      The six weeks excuse just doesn’t wash with me. First, look at what other developers have put together for the iPad. See the Marvel app, see The Guardian’s Eyewitness app, see Coolhunting or even Alice Lite.

    And if you really have to ship a substandard product early as opposed to nothing at all, ship nothing. Take another week or two, polish the app so that it’s worthy of the platform and, most importantly, worthy of your paying customers.

    Moving to my other points, which you referred to as fixes. What I identified weren’t ‘fixes’ they are all essentials. It’s essential that pages load quickly, it’s essential that it’s simple and quick for me to purchase content and it’s essential that I can delete said content from my library.

    • Slow Page Turning
      From what I can tell, Zinio isn’t displaying text per se. Correct me if I’m wrong but these are effectively very hi-res images with the occasional video overlaid. I can’t select or otherwise interact with text (unless I’m in the paradigm-breaking text mode). So Zinio displays high-fidelity images.

    But this still doesn’t explain why pages take so long to load. I’ve toyed with Marvel’s app, with The Guardian’s app and even read a complete graphic novel in Comic Zeal – in gorgeous zoomable high-fidelity – and not had to endure a one second wait per page.

    Everyone else got it right, why couldn’t Zinio? There’s 2,400 titles and countless customers that are done a disservice by these waiting times. The actual reading experience was the one thing – the key factor – to get right with the first release.

    • Lack of In-App Purchasing
      It doesn’t matter if the current purchasing experience complies with Apple guidelines. It’s a crappy experience for your customers. You know it and I know it.

    If you don’t want to split revenue with Apple via in-app purchases I can understand, however at the very least you’ve got to streamline and polish the purchasing experience.

    • Inability to delete magazines
      I still can’t work out how to do this. If you have to insist that such a basic feature exists and then you have to explain it to your users, you’re implementing it wrong.

    (And it’s not that i’m running low on storage space, it’s more that Car & Driver and Macworld are of no interest at all to me. I don’t want to archive them, I want them gone.)

    • Disappointing Future of Magazines
      The enhanced editions could barely be considered so. A video (that only plays at full screen) and a few hyperlinked bits of text do not mean a magazine can be considered ‘enhanced’ or, to use Zinio’s own laughable terminology, ‘interactive’.

    It’s a good thing that I’m running out of steam typing on the iPad keyboard as I’m not at all happy with the app.

    I’ll sum up with something that seems obvious to me: I’d suggest that, instead of trying to innovate, why not first get the core magazine reading experience perfect?

    Regards,
    Olly

  17. Jeanniey Mullen Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Olly,

    I’m the Zinio CMO that Brian referenced in his earlier post. We appreciate your candor and take your and the rest of comments on this blog seriously. Your points appears to be specific about iPad functionality, but don’t seem to mention the positive impact on publishing the Zinio UNITY platform affords reading fans, the design achievements we have made with our sister magazine VIVmag, and other various digital reading enhancements we have made available to the industry.

    Let me know if you have a few minutes to catch up by phone. I’d love to give you the full picture. (my contact info is in Brian’s earlier post). I hope that you, and your followers keep watching Zinio’s progress on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC, netbooks, and other upcoming devices and distribution points, and that future efforts will share a sense of excitement with Zinio.

    Best,

    Jeanniey

    1. What is the problem with the Zinio IPad App? I downloaded the app on Thursday,Feb.25 and purchased a magazine. I have not been able to access it at all. I can’t sign in and the website doesn’t even recognize that I have a Internet connection. I get a message stating I need to have an Internet connection to use Zinio. I am so frustrated..How do I get a refund so I can purchase the print issue of the magazine?

  18. Although I appreciate Zinio’s response and their seeming interest in improving their app on the iPad, my personal experience with their Mac app has been completely frustrating

    • and it’s been out for several years!!

    I started using it, and buying magazines, only to find it losing or not being able to load my magazines, crashing, and eventually getting so bad I deleted it from my computer.

    I contacted them several times to resolve the issues, with no response other than to tell me to reinstall the app. I am not the only person to have these problems!

    I can only hope that Zinio has got a new development team, and a new standard set, for the iPad product.

    One simple solution to the load time issue might be to pre-load the next page and the previous page to the one the user is reading… I’ve been wondering all along why Zinio has not (or doesn’t seem to be) implemented this no-brainer feature on the Mac version.

  19. Where do you find science news articles? Friday, April 23, 2010

    [...] Zinio’s iPad Magazines Suggest Disappointing Future [...]

  20. What is frustrating me is that the Zinio app is not available on the Appstore in all countries. I’ve tried multiple times to their customer support (as I am a subscriber here in Switzerland) so so far nothing has happened… Zinio, please sort this out.

  21. I was still a subscriber to PC Magazine when it ceased paper publication and went to publishing only through a Zinio PC reader. The Zinio reader was as clunky on my desktop as described here on the iPad, and after about 3 issues I canceled my subscription. Let’s hope the iPad version of Wired being developed will show how it can really be done and use the full potential of the iPad.

  22. Zachary Lance Monday, April 26, 2010

    Zachary Lance here, Director of Zinio Customer Support. I’ve been with the company for a little over two years now, and I’ve seen a lot of changes. John: In your comment, you mentioned problems with the old software. That’s completely fair… the old software wasn’t perfect. But now we’ve got new software (Reader4 beta), and we’re definitely paying close attention to what customers are saying about it. We’re as concerned as you are about the reading experience – and are soliciting all the feedback we can get on our current reader. We’re proud of what we’ve got now, but we know there are still improvements to be made. By all means, please keep your past experiences in mind – then compare them to your new experiences and let us know where we can improve. Olly himself has done a remarkable job at sharing his feedback about our iPad app, and as you can see from the posts above, has created a sincere interest within Zinio. We want to hear from you, too! Simply contact me at zlance@zinio.com and I will ensure that your feedback reaches our development team. You can even call me directly at 415-494-2786. I’ll be happy to hear from you.

    • But even more so, we were excited that any Zinio subscriber would be able to read any title they bought before the iPad, as soon as they downloaded the app.

    No, you can view a tiny subset of the zinio titles on iphone/ipad, this point is very misleading IMO. The app is free, so at least you haven’t taken more money from me but please be honest and open about what the app does and doesn’t do.

  23. Zinio – The Future of Magazines? | Geekwerks Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    [...] I ran across this article, and thought what better way to review the Zinio apps than to critique someone else’s [...]

  24. Robert Werthman Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    There are so many great apps for the iPad but this is definitely not one of them. I subscribed to Mac World mag and it’s a mediocre experience at best. I would love to subscribe to more mags but until they radically improve the app, I’ll stick with my news reader. Unable to delete magazines, loading pages in real time, watt are these people thinking? can’t wait for my subscription to expire so I can delete this app.

  25. I downloaded the Zinio iPad app yesterday and settled down on my couch to read about Robert Downey Jr’s latest escapades in the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine.

    The first thing I noticed was that RS on Zinio was little more than a glorified PDF with clunky link implementation. But I was sort of willing to let that pass if only I could actually read the text properly!! The trick is, in RS’s case, you can’t! Try zooming in and the whole thing becomes blurry! Not blurry in a “OMG I can’t read anything” sort of way; but blurry in a “why I am getting a headache and can’t seem to quite focus on the page” kind of way!

    It was a huge disappointment and definitely one experience I will not be repeating. I know some Zinio apps have an option to display a page as text only with controllable font options. But those, like RS, which lack this option are a crappy experience, so stay away from them!

  26. Wow, I’m almost sad I downloaded this app a little while ago. I saw it in the app store and thought, “awesome, I can get my magazines on my iPad and I’ll be saving a couple trees at the same time”. After downloading the app, I called the magazine publishers and asked to have my print switched to digital, but after reading all these comments, I’m wondering if I should call them back. I’m still trying to figure out how to link my subscription from the publisher to my Zinio account. Haven’t figured that one out yet.

    1. Hello Nathan,

      Maren from Zinio CS here. The transition from print to digital unfortunately won’t be instantaneous, because we need to receive a new subscriber file from the publisher . We can however fill you in on any issues in-between this transition. If you email support@zinio.com and flag it Attention Maren, I’ll grab it and follow up with you further.

      Kind regards,

      Maren
      Zinio Customer Support

  27. Good to know Zinio is listening in this forum. I would repeat the same issues even with the latest version…
    Only a subset of titles available (any timeline on when to expect the rest?)
    Blurry text even in zoom (need higher quality instead of text-only view)
    Magazine page rendering delay/lag

  28. Hi Marene,

    I’ll be contacting you if I don’t receive my June issue. I’m not sure if it’s out yet or not. I’ll have to contact Macworld and see. Is there an update in the works that addresses the blurry text issue when zooming? I downloaded the free issues you get with the app and it started giving me a headache after reading when zoomed. I found the text button at the bottom, but would honestly prefer viewing them the way I would if it was the print version.

    Thanks for your response and I’m happy to see that Zinio is listening to feedback from their members.

    1. Hello Nathan,

      Thanks for your interest in Zinio.

      In order to ensure a timely response to your inquiries, please contact Zinio Support directly. You can send an email to our support@zinio.com address, or call us directly at 888-946-4666. We’re eager to provide answers and assistance, and we’re better able to do so through our established support channels.

      Thanks again,

      Zachary Lance
      Zinio Customer Support

  29. Chris Parker Thursday, May 13, 2010

    I’ve used Zinio in the past and the worst thing that actually puts me off using the product is the prices. Here’s an example I came across this week: A friend of mine in work bought the latest Computer Music mag and it had this really great article in it that made me think it would be worth buying the single issue so I could read and re-read the techniques.

    As I mentioned, I’ve used Zinio in the past so they were the first digital mag company I thought of. Computer music costs £5.99 in the shops, so I was disheartened to find out that Zinio wanted to charge me nearly twice that amount (nearly £10!) for the single issue! So lets recap, no printing and distribution costs, no free dvd, twice the price.

    I’ve yet to get my copy of the mag but even thought I would prefer a digital copy I certainly wont be paying nearly twice the price of the real mag.

  30. Maybe it’s me but after I purchased the first available issue of “O Mag” when Zinio first went live and LOVED it, I found myself subscribing with the following issue. I don’t have bunches of time to read mags but I love being able to read exactly what I want and not missing anything. The second it takes to download the page is fine for me. I just wish they would get the US version of Shape since they have, I believe, the Greece and Hungary versions.

  31. Jeanniey Mullen Friday, May 14, 2010

    Awww- Gayle THANK YOU!! (and thanks to all of the people who have emailed us off this list to share positive thoughts and recommendations for future titles and enhancements).

    Please send me an email – we love when we hear positive experiences and I would like to say thanks by filling your Zinio library with a few digital magazines, on us.

    And by the way, we are adding a bunch of new titles soon, so keep watching.

  32. Will ePubs Replace Your Library? « Apple News Daily Monday, May 17, 2010

    [...] Zinio’s iPad Magazines Suggest Disappointing Future Mac Love [...]

  33. Dale Edmonds Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Zinio is one of my favourite apps on the iPad. I have a few things I’d like to change on it – being able to bookmark/dogear certain pages would be good – but the experience of curling up with a favourite magazine – and taking screenshots is the digital equivalent of ripping out pages for a file.

    I picked up a copy of a magazine today and in the line, checked on my ipad to see if it was available on Zinio because I’d have much rather bought it there than had the print version. Cheaper overall for subscriptions, always on hand and a pleasure to read, at least the mostly home interior, travel and food ones, for me.

  34. I have to admit that the latest software release is a marked improvement. The major issue that I have is that I can’t start a download and then browse a different magazine.

    The page renders are faster, not iBook/KindleReader fast but they are getting there. The nice thing is that more magazines are being supported.

    All in all it’s one of my more frequently used apps.

    Note that if you get a new iPad (mine had a charging problem) you have to re-download everything and the DRM is painful. I’m not blaming Zinio for the DRM as I’m sure that it’s the magazine industry pushing it.

  35. Jeanniey Mullen Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Hi everyone,

    Jeanniey, the CMO again. thanks for this great conversation! We really appreciate all of the feedback – as it is helping us improve.

    Just wanted to let everyone know a few things you might not be aware of if you’re not on our corporate marketing list:
    1) Zinio will go live with a localized interface in many different countries tomorrow, when the iPads go on sale internationally. We are pretty excited.
    2) Yesterday, Zinio announced that we are building branded apps (mini zinio’s) for our publishers-but keeping them hooked into the Zinio UNITY ™ platform. This means you can download a XYZ publisher app from iTunes and it will give you access to any of thier magazines you had previously bought direct from Zinio, or, when you buy from the publisher website you will be able to read on the xyz app (or in Zinio).
    We also are now offering publishers the ability to sell a print and digital bundle at once on Zinio.
    3) We are hard at work adding lots of feature enhancements to the iPad app- including bookmarking, socal sharing, etc. Lots of the things you are asking for.
    4) Many of our publishers are hard at work enhancing the digital version of their magazines with audio, video, quizzes etc. So stay on the lookout for the innovators.

    Thanks all!

    1. Jeanniey, so this is iPhone as well right?? Indeed, still waiting for a answer (and yep I’ve tried Zinio support 3 times):

      MARK SMITH
      SUNDAY, APRIL 25 2010
      What is frustrating me is that the Zinio app is not available on the Appstore in all countries. I’ve tried multiple times to their customer support (as I am a subscriber here in Switzerland) so so far nothing has happened… Zinio, please sort this out.

      1. Hello Mark,

        Thanks for your comment. Indeed, what Jeanniey mentioned also applies to the iPhone. You’ll soon see the app in the Switzerland App Store!

        It appears that your previous inquiries to customer support were responded to with information that the release date was unknown at the time, and that you would be notified at the time of release. I’ll be sure to personally contact you after the official release tomorrow to confirm accessibility and answer any questions that you may have.

        Kind Regards,

        Zachary Lance – Zinio Customer Support

  36. Hi,

    My experience with Zinio and the National Geo magazine so far has been OK. I got the free edition that came with Zinio.

    Pages really do not take anytime to download. Im am swiping and the pages just appear very smoothly…

    Only one problem… Why is the subscription to National Geo not available to UK customers???

  37. Personally, I love the zinio iPad app. Yes it can be improved and no doubt will be. But for me it is a better zinio experience than on my desktop.

  38. I’ve finally had a chance to try it on the iPad, and it works pretty good!

    It’s definitely much better experience than the Mac/PC, and the quality seems better with the beautiful iPad screen.

    Unfortunately, it’s still buggy though… it sometimes crashes turning pages…

    I’m also disappointed that the magazine selection seems smaller… not sure why…

    I’m hoping they will keep it updated on the iPad.

  39. I purchased my first magazine (The Economist) with Zinio today for use with my iPad and I have to say that I am impressed.

    I suspect that the Zinio software performance and magazine content has improved since originally reviewed or maybe my expectations are simpler. The iPad is my first experience with Zino, so I can’t say whether it’s a poor experience on Macs and PCs.

    Page turning was fast. I was easily able to flip thru several pages in a second. At least with this magazine, it didn’t look like a PDF scan. In portrait mode on my desk, it almost looks like an actual page from the magazine itself is on my desk. Text was crisp and clear, flawless even at highest magnification. Images seemed to be zoomable to about 2-3x an of reasonable quality. Hyperlinks between pages worked fine.

    While I was able to crash Zinio with one of the free magazines, in quickly flipping thru pages and links with this The Economist issue, the app did not crash.

    Agreed with the others that the Safari magazine purchase is not ideal (would prefer an App store type experience), it was reasonable given this method. I appreciated that at completion of the purchase, it brought me back into the app to the exact spot I had been to begin reading the magazine. I thought that was a nice piece of integration.

    I travel a lot internationally and it’s nice to be able to carry a large number of books and magazines in a little iPad device. Also, some magazines I want to read may not be available in the country I am traveling or the original language version (usually English) may take longer to arrive and be much more expensive. And I can see this being convenient when in a conversation about a specific subject to not only be able to say “by the way The Economist had a great article about that in June of last year” but to also be able to show it on the spot. Or I may want to refresh my memory of the article. And being able to do that on an iPhone too in a pinch, is cool. (Have not tried on iPhone yet)

    While Olly and some of the commenters seem to have some valid issues, I did not have any with the current version of the app and this magazine. Kudos to you Zinio!

    One feature I would like to see is the ability to ‘lend’ the magazine to a friend, whether they have an iPad or iPhone, etc.. One disadvantage compared to the physical magazine is that I can’t just ‘lend’ it to someone else and I really don’t want to have to lend my iPad or iPhone to someone when I’m expecting an e-mail or call, etc..

  40. Just to follow up, I did just test Zinio on my iPhone 3G (not GS). After logging in to my account, I noticed my The Economist purchase was not available in the list of magazines. Clicking upon the “missing some titles” button brought up a note that not all content had versions yet for the iPhone, apparently The Economist is not available yet.

    I did read through one of the sample magazines – the PC magazine and it seemed reasonable for the form factor. Once downloaded, it was able to smoothly and quickly navigate through the pages. Obviously, some zooming and panning is needed to read the pages in their original format given the limited screen, but it seemed ok for the way I would use it on an iPhone. There was also a button for text mode that was much easier to read on an iPhone that would scroll through all the text for the article even multiple pages, but the navigation between articles was a little unwieldy – instead of swiping left or right to go between pages, you either need to get out of text mode, change pages and go back into text mode again or go to the next page via table of contents to switch articles. Still, not that bad. A cool feature (at least with the sample PC Mag article) – when in text mode at the top is an envelope icon that you can click to send the text of an article via e-mail that also includes a link. (although, I guess it begs the question why I would pay $6.99 – more than the newsstand price of a paper copy – to download a magazine I can read online for free…)

    Look forward to trying it out with The Economist when they have it ready for the iPhone. Like the idea of being able to carry several hundred pages (or thousands) of magazines and books in my pocket. Especially if it is done well.

    Am curious of other peoples’ experiences with other magazines? Is The Economist a fluke or have the other mags improved as well?

  41. Juan, I noticed the opposite issue. I subscribed to Windsurfing magazine and while it showed up on my iPhone it wouldn’t show up on my iPad. A couple weeks later I started getting the iPad version too. So I’m guessing that there is a slight difference between the versions or some licensing issues.

    All in all I’m pretty impressed with the latest release. I haven’t had any crashes and have about 6 subscriptions (only magazines that are cheaper than in paper.

    There are some magazines that I won’t change over to electronic, like The New Yorker, it’s one of my ‘bathroom reads’ if you get my drift and I like it that way.

  42. Jason Alan Graves Sunday, June 13, 2010

    Just read your article titled, “Zinio’s iPad Magazines Suggest Disappointing Future” and I could not disagree more. Granted, there are some minor performance issues with the Zinio app on the iPad, but truly, they are minor.

    As far as magazines, it’s true that the folks at Zinio seem to have deliberately chosen not to go the way certain publishers have chosen in their stand alone applications by adding extraneous and annoying animated features and so forth. All the things that have made “web” magazines annoying.

    No, they at Zinio have given us that long lost intimate magazine reading experience. They have replicated everything that is great about reading a magazine.

    As far as the URL’s which are outlined in blue; this is perhaps one of the best parts of the application, for tapping on those URL’s takes the reader to a world of additional content, the vast majority of which is done in an elegant and sophisticated way.

    Far from suggesting a disappointing future, the folks at Zinio clearly are poised for astronomical growth along with the publishers who have taken that leap of faith and chosen Zinio’s distribution infrastructure, National Geographic, among others as an example. And as of today, those publishers who are now distributing with Zinio are clearly laughing all the way to the bank considering their subscription rate is orders of magnitude greater than the publishers peddling their stand alone apps; at least according to the latest data I have seen.

    Those publishers who have chosen to go it alone, pushing out their own magazine applications, they have slaughtered the beautiful magazine reading experience by introducing so many extraneous features. I personally would not subscribe to any of these; I want a magazine, nothing more and nothing less. With Zinio, they deliver with perfection.

  43. BUILT BY THE FACTORY | BLOG | INTERACTIVE AGENCY » ReBlog: Zinio’s iPad Magazines Suggest Disappointing Future Monday, June 14, 2010

    [...] View the original blog here [...]

  44. I’ve been using Zinio since I got my iPad a month ago and I’m very pleased with it. Yes, it takes longer to download a magazine than a eBook – but there are a LOT more graphics in the magazine than a text book! It’s not horrible, and I can usually have a magazine in less than 1-2 minutes. Less time than it would take to go to the store!

    I don’t have any trouble turning pages – it does not take one second by any means.

    I love having new issues come automatically to my iPad and the prices on the digital issues are usually better than paper issues. I also appreciate being able to order international magazines at amazing prices – I’m a French teacher and I love to read current issues and to share them with my students. Print subscriptions are prohibitively expensive, but digital editions are quite affordable.

    one problem I’m having is deleting issues from my iPad. I’m following the help instructions to single tap and hold, but I never get the x to delete issues.

  45. I have to step up and defend Zinio. While the Zinio app does not exploit every benefit of the iPad platform, it does what it promises, and does it well.
    I subscribe to several magazines via Zinio, and all of them load quickly, the pages turn quickly, the ability to zoom beats the heck out of holding a paper magazine up to my face, and the quality of the images is fantastic – being backlit they are far more vibrant than in print.
    Granted, there is a lot that a magazine company could do to take advantage of the iPad, but Zinio gives me access to current magazines, with a better reading experience than I would have with the paper version, and my coffee table, office, bedroom and bathroom aren’t littered with the old copies. And my whole library travels with me.
    If you would have bought a paper version of the magazine, subscribing with Zinio is a hands-down winner.

    1. As I am in the market for the iPad in the next couple of months, I’ve recently downloaded the Zinio beta 4 release for Windows and the iPhone app to gauge the user experience. On the whole I am happy with the app that Zinio have produced, but my concerns as to usabiliy lie with their apparently US-centric model.

      I’m UK based and would love to subscribe to National Geographic, Scientific American and a few others. The problem is I can’t. The only SciAm available in the UK is the Chinese language version and NatGeo/NatGeo Traveller are only available as single issue purchases.

      I’ve tried mailing their customer support team with no answer and so have no idea as to why this may be and so find myself in the position where I want to use Zinio but cannot commit to what currently appears to be a primarily US-focused product.

      1. I am also keen to find out if/when the National Geographic Interactive will be available via Zinio for UK customers. I was really looking forward to using it before I bought the iPad and very disappointed to discover that it isn’t available to me. Any news from Zinio about this?

      2. I got this reply from Zinio: “The National Geographic is currently only available to residents of the US and Canada. I apologize for any inconvenience. This is at the request of the publisher. If you were living at your US address ;-) you could purchase this title.”

        Someone at the National Geographic store in London suggested I ring NG subscriptions on 0845 045 0355. If we all ring, perhaps we’ll get more luck.

  46. Apple Working On Subscription Plans for Newspapers Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    [...] to periodicals. Some apps feature in-app purchases to get around this (i.e., the Times), some, like Zinio, handle it outside of Apple’s iTunes store framework, and the iBooks app is missing such a [...]

  47. Pretty misleading title to decide the future of magazine apps based on Zinio’s rather sparse pdf treatment of magazines.

  48. I love the Zinio app; Zinio is the first app that I’ve seen that lets me get digital copies of my favourite magazines on my iPhone. Zinio has the potential to stay on top of the e-magazine delivery to Apple mobiles and internet browsers, but there’s also the potential of a new startup to take that position from them. Reading these comments gives me faith that they are striving to keep their position.

    I’ve done my fair share of beta testing, so I’m an understanding user. One thing I’ve learned, is to never complain about new software without constructive criticism and impatience. Thank Zinio for being the first (that I’m aware of). I want to see more magazines go paperless.

  49. This article is, like so may things now in the bowels of the Internet, sorely out of date. I just found Zinio this year and thought I’d give them a try. Boy am I hooked. The interface is elegant once the publication fully loads. It’s fast and after setting up my account I have fast seamless purchases via safari and immediately I am back in the app. I barely even notice the change. On wifi the experience is far superior to any of the several ereaders I have tried. I am by no means a layman either. I develop software.

    1. Agreed! Zinio is great, I only want a few additional title such as Fast Company, Entrepreneur and Inc!

  50. Renaud Timmers Friday, February 25, 2011

    Zinio is a lame duck, poorly flowing from one topic to another… I agree there is some improvement, though that may be due to slowly learn how to cope with the snail stuttering… Your content is towering over the clumsy structure of the project! That could be improved if you put some truely gifted lay-out and editing experts? Do make a further effort to make it a bliss to read your excellent Zinio stuff.
    I hope that quality will remain your main target, efficiency improvement requires stamina and solid rewards! It is the same issur in my hospital! Dr. R.W.Timmers

  51. Zinion hasn’t been working for me over the last few days. Their site is “down for maintenance” and I am unable to read any of my magazines… Anyone else have this problem or is it just me?

Comments have been disabled for this post