Magazines on the iPad are a hot commodity. When you look at featured apps in the iTunes App Store, it seems like many of them are digital versions of popular print magazines. I personally welcome this trend, since it’s a lot easier to carry and/or store several digital magazines on a tablet than their dead-tree counterparts. Beyond the perception that the iTunes App Store’s featured sections project, Zinio has come out with news that their app has surpassed Angry Birds in gross earnings, earning them the #3 spot in the top grossing apps behind Pages and Smurfs’ Village (really?). Zinio is not just popular in the U.S, however. They’ve also been the top free iOS app in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan and UK. It is this global interest in e-magazines that Zinio says has propelled them “to be the magazine newsstand of choice for readers.”
Zinio’s popularity isn’t limited to iOS. Since their launch on the Android platform, their app has been installed over 300,000 times in less than 60 days.
I like using Zinio for magazines. They constantly update their Explore section with some great articles that can be read for free, often the featured article that most people picking up the magazine would read first. In addition, some of their magazines have a special text-mode where a tap of a button shows an article optimized for reading on the iPad, similar to how Instapaper or Readability reformat webpages for uncluttered reading. Their individual issue prices are pretty reasonable, sometimes even cheaper than the individual purchase prices in standalone magazine apps. Here’s hoping that Zinio’s popularity makes more publishers realize the importance of moving their magazines to digital form.