Zinio versus Next Issue 


Zinio : version varies with device


Next Issue: version varies with device

Platforms:   iOS ( iPad, iPhone), Android ( 4.0.3 and up), Windows 8 Tablet, (Browser) Desktop Reader Platforms: iOS (iPad, iPhone), Android, Windows 8 (Tablets including RT and Win 8 PCs)
Developer: Zinio, LLC Developer: Next Issue Media
Pricing:Per issue or annual subscriptions available. Also, many libraries carry Zinio so you may be able to access magazines chosen by your local library for free. Not all the magazines will be available, only those the library chose to carry.

In app purchases available

Pricing: 30 day free trial

9.99 per month – unlimited access to all monthly magazines in the catalog

14.99 per month– includes access to weekly magazines

5,000 plus magazines 100 plus magazines

Zinio is designed to provide access to magazines in digital format. With a wide variety of platforms it is friendly with, it can be used by just about any device. It carries 5,000 plus magazines that are mostly appropriate for older teens and adults, but there are some good titles for children, such as Sports Illustrated for Kids. Next issue also provides access to magazines in digital format, but the catalog is not as extensive. Zinio provides access to 5,000 plus magazines whereas Next Issue has 100 plus magazines. Next issue is also multiplatform, but it doesn’t support PCs that are not running Win 8. Zinio accomplishes this greater device flexibility by offering a web browser agnostic Desktop Reader.

However, Zinio can be much more expensive for those who want volume magazine access. It is set up in a traditional per magazine annual subscription pricing scheme. The prices are the same as what you might pay if you had print magazines mailed to you. Next issue instead uses an unlimited “Netflix” style pricing which is set at 9.99 per month for access to all the monthly magazines in the catalog. While the catalog is smaller, it seems to have quite a few very desirable magazines and definitely competes with Zinio in terms of popular offerings.

The navigation in the Windows 8 app in Zinio can be a little frustrating. Menus sometimes do not pop up when you hover over them. As a result, you get stuck in a magazine or library page and have to exit the app and go back in to move around in the catalog. I couldn’t find a way to bookmark where I left off and when exiting, had to start over when re-opening the app. In contrast, the Next Issue app was easier to use and navigate. Bu at times t it too would not show the menu to get back to the catalog, which was frustrating. Both apps felt buggier and more amateurish compared with the Android and iPhone/iPad app versions. All the other platform apps performed equally and were satisfactory. However, it is nice that Zinio provides the web browser desktop edition which is very robust.

TheZinio Desktop Reader is fantastic. You can zoom in, print, and move between catalogs and books with ease because it pops up the magazines in a separate window which can be easily closed out when you are finished reading. There are preference options such as single page or landscape double page views. You can link, embed or post articles or the magazine to many social media sites/apps. The only downside is that it doesn’t have a bookmark function. You can minimize it to go to something else and come back though. Next issue doesn’t provide a browser experience which excludes Mac PCs and PC’s running OS lower than Win 8.

The Android App in both services allows bookmarks and it is easily minimized for temporary interruptions. I found this much easier to use in both Zinio and Next Issue than the Win 8 app. It has few bells and whistles such as there are no options to share to social media or print, but it functions cleanly in both services and is extremely easy to use.

I tested the iOS version of Zinio on an iPad and found it to be very sleek. It has preferences such as alerts for new issue availability, iTunes purchase linking, and push notifications. The library page is sorted by year, with the current year displaying. This would eliminate multiple pages holding back issues that you don’t want to delete but also don’t want to wade through. It is intuitive and very easy to use. Book marks are available but no social media linking was offered. Bookmarks make it easy to hold a place in the magazine but you can also minimize the app and come back to find it still signed in and on the page left off at. Next Issue’s iPad was equally easy to use but did not offer the social networking options. Both offered more interactive and “extra content”. The iPad and iPhone apps are the best apps for both products.

In the end, a decision on which is the best service can only be made by individual needs and desires. Want a lot of magazines? Next Issue might be best as long as it’s catalog contains the titles you are interested in. Want a few magazines not carried elsewhere that you would normally subscribe to offline anyway? Zinio would be the better choice in that scenario. Both offer great apps with the exception of Win 8, and both offer a similar experience. The principal difference, in my opinion, is the pricing structure and content delivery model.


About cclowes

I have a Bachelor's in Education and a Master's in Library and Information Science from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. I spent two years as a librarian at Weber High School in Chicago and 12 years as a media specialist in Woodstock, IL. Presently I work in Pottstown, PA as an Technology Integration Specialist for a private high school.
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