Reading Magazines in Electronic Format

My iPad Zinio Library

I’m someone who enjoys reading magazines — lots of magazines.  I usually have quite a pile of them at any one given time just waiting to be read.  When we go on vacations by car when I’m not driving, I always have a bag filled with magazines and I read them and toss them as we make our way cross-country.  Since I’m so used to reading a hard copy of a magazine, I was a little skeptical at the thought of reading a magazine on one of my electronic devices. The thought of reducing my paper clutter really appealed to me though.

Magazine Library on the Nook Color

 I started out by subscribing to a few of the entertainment tabloids on my Nook Color.  By golly, the experience was so enjoyable that I didn’t hesitate at all to take the plunge once my iPad arrived. (Oh, by the way, I do NOT subscribe to “Elle” or to “Men’s Fitness.”  Those were “freebie” issues from Zinio.)  So how do the iPad and the Nook compare when it comes to reading magazines?  Here’s my experience.

1.  Screen Orientation:  Let’s look at the iPad first.  Since the device is bigger, the most obvious difference is going to be that you have a larger area in which to view your pages.  You can also turn the iPad so that you have a horizontal orientation that then shows you two pages at a time, similar to holding a magazine open.

Magazine cover on an iPad

Now let’s look at the Nook.  The screen is smaller (6 1/4″ x 3 3/4″) so the viewing area will show a smaller image.  Duh!  You are also not going to have the capability of holding it horizontal and seeing the two pages at once.

Magazine Cover on a Nook

2.  Subscriptions:  I imagine there is more than one app to subscribe to magazines for your iPad but the one that is very popular and the one that I use is Zinio.  I noticed that when I found magazine titles that I wanted to purchase, I was given a choice.  I could either purchase a single issue OR I could subscribe to a year’s subscription.  With the Nook, you search for the magazine titles at the Barnes and Noble store online and when you find one you want, you are given the option of purchasing a single issue OR subscribing, paying by the month.  Since you will have a credit card on file with B & N, you just click on “Buy Now” and it seamlessly goes through (provided your card is good, of course) and then the issues start arriving on your Nook.  The big advantage to the Nook in this regard is that you don’t have that big chunk payment for the yearly subscription cost.  Barnes and Noble  charges your credit card monthly for the much smaller amount if you have picked the subscribe option.

Article on an iPad

3.  Article View:  If you have really good eyes, you can turn your iPad horizontally and read two pages before swiping.  My eyes aren’t that good.  Most folks will be reading one page at a time.  Looking at the full page on the iPad, you can use your fingers to zoom in or zoom out on a particular part of the page.

Just remember that if you have zoomed in on part of the page, then you’ll  have to move the page around with your fingers to see all of the article or the rest of the page or just compress the page back to its normal size.

The other option is to click on “Text” at the bottom of the page and it takes you to a text only version of the article in a special format optimized for e-readers.  You can then scroll up or down to read the article. 


When you are finished reading the article, click on “Page” at the bottom of your screen and it takes you back to the entire magazine page.

Page View on the Nook Color

Nook also gives you the option of looking at the entire page or going to a particular article on the page.  If you click on “Article View” at the top, you will see a drop-down menu listing the articles you can access from that page.

Touch the article that you want to see and it pops up in the special text format optimized for your Nook reader.  When you are finished reading, click on the “x” in the upper right corner and it takes you back to the page you were on.  As with the iPad, you can zoom and/or move around the page by using your fingers.

Single article view in Nook Color

4.  Hot Links – One of the great things about magazine reading on the iPad is that you can seamlessly click on hot links provided in the articles and go right off to see what is being referred to.

Hot Link in Magazine on iPad

 It might just be the magazine I was reading on the Nook Color but I didn’t find any hot links in that magazine.  Even if other magazines DO provide hot links that you can touch and go when reading on the Nook, I have to think it wouldn’t be as easy as it is to surf around the Internet on an iPad.  I use my Nook Color to read, play games, read email, and shop at the B & N store, not surf the Web.

All in all, I think both the iPad and the Nook Color make reading magazines an enjoyable experience.  I give a slight advantage to the iPad simply because it is a larger reading surface and because I find it easier to get around the Web on it, if I want to chase down hot links within an article.  I give the Nook Color the advantage when it comes to paying for the subscriptions.  Somehow, paying $2.99 a month (for example) just seems much easier than paying $24.99 in one payment.  I think Zinio would hook more readers (and get them to ultimately spend more) if it followed this “monthly” charge system.

One last mention should be that Amazon’s Kindle does allow you to subscribe to magazines.  I have a Kindle, too but I just can’t imagine how reading a magazine in black and white AND without the touch technology could compare with reading magazines in color on either the iPad or the Nook Color.  In this case, the advantage definitely goes to the later two devices.

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

Hot Flashed Funk

  • I believe part of the apple announcement today was apple magazine subscriptions-I assume thru iBooks. I like my zinio but I have a kindle not a nook.

  • Thanks for that description of the possibilities. While I don’t actually have any of the devices, it’s very interesting to see how they work.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: