Apple recently launched their News+ service, which is a subscription service in the News app that allows you to subscribe to and read over 300 digital magazines and get access to select premium newspapers. Since they offer a free 30-day trial, many of us have already tried out the service, only to discover that it doesn't fit all of our needs. If you want to read digital magazines on your iPhone or iPad, but don't want to subscribe to Apple News+, here are some alternatives to consider.
Did you know that libraries offer a ton of reading content for free, including magazines? If you have a library card account and your local library supports it, you can use RBDigital.
With RBDigital, you'll get access to digital copies of eBooks, videos, magazines, comics, educational offerings, audiobooks, and much more, all from your local library. With the magazine selection, you'll get access to popular and well-known titles such as The Economist and US Weekly, along with hundreds more. Of course, the content that you'll be able to access in RBDigital depends on your library, but chances are high that you'll still be able to access a ton of publications for free.
While Apple News+ gives subscribers access to over 300 digital magazines, Readly is even better with access to over 3400 publications, including UK and international titles. The subscription fee for Readly is the same as Apple News+ at $10 a month, but you can get the first month for just $1.
So what do you get with Readly over Apple News+, aside from way more reading options? Everything is optimized for a touch screen interface, including page turns and interactive crosswords, whereas News+ is just a static interface with digital PDFs. You also get access to all back issues of every publication, offline downloads, bookmark and share individual articles, and you can share your Readly subscription on up to five devices.
Zinio Magazine Newsstand
Zinio has been around for quite some time, with access to over 6000 of the best magazines from around the world, across a huge variety of topics. You can subscribe to your favorite magazines right from the app, and then gain offline access to current and future issues of your digital subscriptions. Zinio will even notify you when new issues become available.
The best thing about Zinio is the fact that you can toggle seamlessly between the traditional digital magazine layout or the more innovative text mode that is perfectly optimized for iOS. You can also bookmark and share your favorite articles, and Zinio even gives you exclusive deals on your favorite magazines, so you can save even more.
The only negative about Zinio is that you won't be able to access back issues, just whatever is current and in the future, if you choose to subscribe. There are also free articles that you can read without subscribing to anything.
Issuu is one of the most comprehensive apps you can get when it comes to reading material. With Issuu, you'll have access to over 30 million magazines, catalogs, and newspapers. And the best part? It's all completely free.
With Issuu, you can like your favorite publishers or create curated stacks of publications that you enjoy reading in order to stay up-to-date and get the latest content. Issues of magazines and publications can be downloaded to get read while you're offline, and you can easily share any portion of a publication with the simple drag-and-clip interface.
The content that you can find in Issuu varies from excerpts to full documents, but you're bound to find something interesting across all topics and categories. It's even possible to share something directly to your Instagram stories so that others can be aware of something cool that you found.
Flipster is a free digital magazine service that is provided to you courtesy of your local library. If your local library works with Flipster, then you can simply log in with your existing library account and access all of their available publications digitally in Flipster. Needless to say, the content available in Flipster depends on the library.
If you're not sure what libraries around you support Flipster, that's alright! There is a feature in the app that lets you find libraries that support the service, so you can go over there and create an account if you need one. You can then browse or even search for the magazines that you're looking for, and download them for offline reading.
Magazines in Flipster will have a digital table of contents, articles are in an optimized text view, and you can even tap on highlighted areas to jump to specified articles and related sources. Flipster also keeps track of your reading progress with a percentage bar.
If you need some help getting started with Flipster, make sure to check out our Flipster beginner's guide.
If you're looking for a personalized digital magazine rather than subscribing to a bunch of magazines that you don't really read, then Flipboard is still the top contender in that area. Plus, it pulls in plenty of reading material from well known and reputable sources, such as The New York Times, Wired, Fast Company, Bloomberg, Fortune, Rolling Stone, People, and much more.
Flipboard allows you to choose the topics and sources that matter the most to you, and then it will create a custom, tailor-made digital magazine for you based on your choices. Every smart magazine in Flipboard uses a combination of editors and algorithms to give you up-to-the-minute stories and developments for the topics that you care about. You can then share the best stories with others seamlessly.
While Flipboard does not offer in-app magazine subscriptions, you still get a beautiful digital magazine that you can call your own.
What are your favorite digital magazine apps?
If you aren't a fan of Apple News+ but still want to read some magazines on your iOS device, these are some of the best alternatives that we've found. What are your favorite digital magazine subscription apps for your iPhone or iPad? Let us know in the comments!
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