Accessing Digital Magazine Content: Coverleaf and Zinio

Reading digital content on the iPad is, of course, an extremely easy and enjoyable experience.  However, while iBooks and the Amazon Kindle app have been broadly touted, magazine content has not been so widely promoted.  The Zinio app provides digital subscriptions to some of the most popular magazines, as well as the ability to purchase single issues including present and back issues.  The Coverleaf website does the same but offers a welcome twist: free digital downloads for current subscribers and serious discounts even on current issues.

Download vs. Live Feed

One distinct advantage Zinio has over Coverleaf is it actually downloads the content to your iDevice.  Turning pages is fast and smooth.  Accessing your library is quick and simple.  However, such graphic intense content eats up disk space.

Because Coverleaf is a live feed, the content is displayed in a proprietary viewer that can be slow and clunky.  Users create an account and their subscriptions are saved under a tab labeled “my stuff.”  The website sends the user an email when new digital issues become available.  Coverleaf content cannot be saved using GoodReader or Instapaper.  However, Coverleaf does have the option of emailing links to articles to yourself and friends.


Both Zinio and Coverleaf offer the option of clicking on links within articles to access further information.  Coverleaf adds a nice touch by providing the reader a composite list of all the links offered in the magazine for quick and easy access to websites and authors emails.


The Zinio app is a free download from the app store.   Content varies depending on the titles.  Prices tend to be cheaper the same as cover prices.  Coverleaf on the other hand offers current issues of magazines for as little as $.99.  As the services offer completely separate content, a direct comparison is not possible.

Free Downloads on Coverleaf

If you currently subscribe to the print edition of a magazine, you can enter your subscription information at Coverleaf and receive free digital copies.  You can even read back issues not covered by your current subscription.


Zinio has a current rating of 2 1/2 stars from nearly 14,000 users on iTunes.  Since Coverleaf is a website and not an app, no iTunes ratings are available.

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