Monday, September 23, 2013

Zinio: the world’s largest online newsstand

Ever want the newest issue of Cottage Life only to choke at the newsstand price, or find that the free local library (a-hem) won’t let you borrow it until it’s a month old? That’s because the local library (a-hem) wants the newest issues to be available to everyone, but since we only get one copy, that means until the next issue arrives, it has to stay on the shelf. Or does it?

Not anymore! Stratford Public Library has just subscribed to Zinio, a new database that has 79 magazines available all the time, digitally, for free. If you have a desktop or laptop computer, Zinio is available to you. If you have a Stratford Public Library card* it is available to use on any mobile device with a browser function. For free. And the digital rights management rules are not as strict as on Overdrive, which means any number of people can read the same issue of Vegetarian Times all at once. No waiting. (Once you subscribe. For free.)

Once you create a Zinio account and subscribe – for free – to the magazines you’d like to read, Zinio emails you to let you know when a new issue arrives. Each magazine (Field and Stream, Azure, Cosmopolitan, Maxim, Canadian Art, the Economist, Discover, Family Handyman, Esquire, Maclean’s, mental_floss … I mean, the list is great), is navigable with the click of a mouse or swipe of a finger, and articles often contain hyperlinks to further information. For instance, if when reading Martha Stewart Living, you see an ad for a fabulous throw pillow and wonder where to get it, there will be a link to the store or designer and a click will bring you right to that website. (There is no way to pin a magazine pic to Pinterest yet, but I’m sure that feature is on the way.) There is even a zoom feature where you can set your own text size default. One of the best features? In magazines like National Geographic there are embedded videos and audio. Another great feature? No due date, no fines! Once you download an issue it is yours to keep forever. For free.

Did I mention all these magazines on Zinio are free? Well, with help from the Friends of the Stratford Public Library and some generous members of the medical staff at Stratford General Hospital, they are. All in one spot, at your fingertips, for free. Get started with Zinio.

*Zinio is not yet available at other libraries in Perth County though – sorry.

This review appears in The Stratford Gazette on September 19, 2013. Written by Robyn Godfrey, Librarian.

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