One of the many rituals that happen with the coming of a new year is the renewal of your magazine subscriptions. Publishers make it convenient for you by sending frequent notices so you never miss an issue. Given that it costs only about $20 for a year’s worth of reading pleasure, you don’t even give the cost a second thought. You fill in your credit card details or dash off a check and send the notice on its way.
But have you stopped to think how much all those subscriptions cost in total? If you have five or six magazine subscriptions, you could easily be spending $100 or more a year on them. That’s money you could be saving, since you can get all, if not most, of those periodicals for free.
Loving the L.A. Library
The Los Angeles Public Library lets you “borrow” over 400 periodicals digitally over the Internet from the convenience of your own home. Among the titles: Better Homes and Gardens, Car and Driver, Conde Nast Traveler, Cosmopolitan, HGTV Magazine, Macworld, Men’s Health, National Geographic, PC Magazine, Popular Mechanics, Shape.
You’ll need to get a free library card and you don’t even need to be a resident of Los Angeles. As long as you live in California and have photo ID, you qualify.
You also need to fill out an application either online, if you live in the City of L.A., or in person at any Los Angeles Public Library location. To save time, you can pre-fill the form by downloading the PDF, but you still have to turn it in to a library branch in person.
Checking Out Magazines
After you receive your card, you can use your favorite browser to start looking at the available magazines on the library’s Zinio page. You can browse by genre or language (English or Spanish), or enter a title in the Search box.
When you find a magazine that you want, click its icon to go to its page, which will also contain back issues. To check out a magazine, click the Checkout button. A window appears asking you to either sign in to your library account, or, if you’ve already done that, to confirm that you’ve checked out the periodical.
Download the Zinio Reader app to read the magazine. Versions are available for Macs or PC desktop, IOS devices like an iPad or iPhone, or Android devices. An app is also available for the Kindle Fire but you have to download it through the Kindle Fire reader itself.
After you’ve installed the app, you’re ready to read.
• If you have a fast and reliable Internet connection, read your magazine online by tapping the app open and then tapping the icon of the magazine you want to open.
• If you’re connection is less than reliable or you want to read your magazine on the go, download the issue to your device. A small download button appears under the magazine. The number of magazines you can download is limited only by the free storage on your device.
Once you download a magazine, it’s yours to keep forever. You do not have to return it. But you can always clear it from your device.