March 17, 2015 Last Updated 8:14 am

Zinio updates app, continues library push; freelancers find common cause in nonpayments

With digital edition subscription sales falling, magazine publishers struggle to find alternatives to the Apple Newsstand

The digital newsstand Zinio, once the leading digital newsstand for magazine publishers, is still very much around, with over 5,000 titles offered inside its service. Last night its latest update hit the Apple App Store.

Zinio-libraryVersion 3.1 of the app, now called <strong>Zinio – 5,000+ Digital Magazines, updates the app to add support of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Early written reviews have some complaints about bug issues, but I did not encounter any issues on my own device

Founded in 2001, like other early digital newsstands, Zinio was once all about the desktop. But readers, when surveyed, say they are not thrilled with reading their periodicals on the desktop, as this is usually the device used during working hours. Zinio realized this early on and launched their app for the iPad and iPhone.

I used to hear from Zinio all the time, but with management and marketing changes, and the rise of Next Issue Media and Magzter, the company has gone silent (though I was able to convince them to be included in the Guide).

Now, the only time I hear of Zinio (never from Zinio) is when another library system adopts its solution. The latest is Kilgore Memorial Library in Nebraska, which added Zinio for its patrons this month.

“We see more patrons than ever with mobile devices who enjoy our eBooks, so adding a magazine service like Zinio made sense,” library director Deb Robertson told The Grand Island Independent.

Many library systems have determined that moving their magazine section to digital makes tremendous sense. By offering Zinio, or another digital service, they are able to dramatically increase the number of titles they can offer their patrons. Additionally, those digital issues never have the pages torn out of them, as is often the case with print magazines found in libraries.

But, unlike Next Issue Media, none of the other digital newsstands seem to be having any positive impact on the publisher’s statements. With the Apple Newsstand decaying, and magazines seeing their digital subscription numbers falling, only single copy digital appears to be seeing any progress – and AAM reports are attributing nearly all the gains to NIM.

If this is a false impression, I’d love to hear sales data from the other newsstands that presents a different picture.

New Jersey luxury magazine HudsonMOD is discovering that hell has no fury like a freelancer scorned. In January Jim Romenesko reported on the plight of a freelancer trying to get paid by the magazine’s publisher. On Friday the magazine was featured again when another freelancer complained that she was owed (the first freelancer eventually got a check for her work).

“Today I received another email about HudsonMOD not paying a freelancer; this time it was Terry Ward trying collect $3,460 for her articles,” Romenesko wrote. “She was sent a cease-and-desist email after tweeting about her collection troubles.”

Although at least one commenter on the story says they believe these “luxury” titles are especially bad at paying their contributors, the fact remains that many magazines – print and digital – have difficulties paying contributors. When The Magazine folded recently, its publisher specifically pointed to the poor economics of paying for content while trying to make a go at digital publishing. Glenn Fleishman should be applauded for even trying, as he decided it would be better to shutter the digital magazine rather than fall behind in payments and start ripping off his writers.

Comments are closed.