Alternate Ways to Read: Zinio

We read a lot for Treehugger, and often the online content lags the paper version, so we buy hard copies that are piling up. There is something about the flow of magazines, where experienced art directors put them together to look good and give you the information in a logical order. Then there are the ads, which in print can be as interesting, informative and beautiful as the editorial content. As an experiment we subscribed to Architectural Record using a magazine service called Zinio and now get all of the content, layout and ads, without cutting trees. It is a digital reproduction of the magazine with some extra bells and whistles.

One would think that this would be a step backwards- The magazine format is dictated by the technology of paper, printing, binding and distribution- why should one use that form on a computer? But in fact, those art directors of have been at it a long time and if it looks good on paper, it can look great on screen. On our widescreen 21 inch monitor it lays out perfectly, and much of the copy can be read without zooming. On one of the new 24" monitors it would be spectacular with no zooming required at all.

I find I learn more as well- instead of focusing on my interests, I turn every page and my eye catches things that I might have passed over.

Add in hyperlinks for every firm or product and you get a real merger of the magazine format with the ease of use of the internet. I am now looking at what magazines I can subscribe to here instead of print editions. I can't read them in the tub or on the bus, but I am also not cutting trees or filling the recycling bin. I don't think it would make much sense for newsmagazines where where the internet delivers it as it happens, but for design and graphics heavy magazines it won me over. You can test a free back issue of Architectural Record at ::Zinio.

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