Tablet Magazine

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down on Magazines’ Tablet Offerings

DigitalThe popularity of tablets is leading to the popularity of digital magazines, but not all tablet magazines are created equal. What features get our thumbs up or thumbs down? Read on to find out.

These days you can’t subscribe to a magazine—the old-fashioned printed version—without being subjected to some incarnation of its digital form.

There’s the previously innovative website, of course, with the evolutionary reminders on social media to follow or like or +1 or pin articles, tips, recipes and more from your favorite title.

And now that there’s a tablet version—and/or a mobile version (sometimes for an extra charge)—of most, there’s more ways than ever to get up-to-the-minute content, or in some cases repackaged or behind-the-scenes versions of printed content, than ever before.

Sometimes digital has its perks, and for the purposes of this post, we’ll focus only on tablet or mobile versions since they’re the closest incarnation of the traditional printed magazine copies. Here’s what we love—and what we don’t—when it comes to magazines and their digital offerings.

Thumbs Up: Magazines that offer free tablet access with a paid print subscription. This is perfect for those of us still straddling the part print, part digital world. You can still get the security of flipping through the printed copy, while also experimenting with the convenience of the digital one (especially if traveling)—if you so choose to see what all the fuss is about—and at no extra cost.

Thumbs Up: Magazines that offer the option of a tablet subscription only. If you’ve been able to tear yourself away—even if ever so slightly—from the printed word, this option allows you to stockpile magazines on your handy dandy tablet without creating a mountain of printed copies to recycle, give away or make clippings from. That is, as long as you have room on your device or SD card.

Thumbs Down: Magazines that charge for the tablet access even if you’re a print subscriber. We all know the magazine biz is getting tougher thanks to our increasing dependence on technology, but there should be some perks to being one of the traditionalists among the subscription base. Besides, save for some behind-the-scenes videos or how-to clips, it’s often pretty much the same content.

Thumbs Down: Magazines that use clunky apps to hook you in to digital content. Digimarc is an app that allows you to scan images in the magazine with your phone or tablet that take you right to the accompanying video or recipe online. But, aside from the novelty, it can seem like a clumsy link that requires unnecessary steps that could be avoided by visiting the magazine’s website in the first place.