The Digital Magazine Revolution


I adore magazines, I get so much inspiration from the images and the beautifully written and often thought-provoking articles – fashion, beauty, accessories, travel, delicious recipes, world issues, local issues – the list is endless.

The problem I have with magazines is that they are expensive and they tend to accumulate and multiply, how does that happen!? ..before you know it you have a pile the size of a small coffee table and they are everywhere (or is that just me?).

I buy weekly and monthly editions and have some real favourites. They are costly, some magazines are up to £4.00 each and on average I can easily spend around £25.00 each month on my little obsession for ‘input’ and inspiration.

I recently subscribed to the Readly app after hearing about it through a friend and so far so good, I really like it.

I had a trial initially and paid £1.00 for one month of access before committing to a full subscription that I can cancel any-time as there is no Contract.

I can read every magazine I love each week and month, zoom into the details on-screen to the minutiae if I would like to (I read on my iPad but the app is compatible with a number of devices) and there are quite a few pros for me:-

1) The cost. After your trial expires a subscription is currently £7.99 a month in the UK. When compared with the £25.00 on average I was spending each month then win, win! Now I am aware that not all people will ‘consume’ magazines in the volume that I do but even if you only purchased a couple of weeklies then the cost still works out and there are savings to be had reading your favourites and so much more through Readly.

2) I no longer accumulate huge piles of paper and huge volumes of recycling and my home is more orderly. I won’t get into the arguments about whether going digital is better for the environment or not –  paper manufacturing can be sustainable and the manufacture of electronic products leaves a carbon footprint. I don’t see it as an ‘either OR situation’ more so a choice.

3) The back catalogue is extensive and I can access so much more than I would ever dream possible as there are over 1,500 magazines available which is significantly more than even I would ever purchase on an individual basis 😉 I have enjoyed reading different titles and looking at the past three months worth of my favourite monthlies for seasonal inspiration (or more if you would like to go even further into the extensive back catalogue). I have created a library of twenty magazines I enjoy reading regularly including Red, InStyle, Elle, Porter, Grazia, Look and Harper’s Bazaar to name a few. I get notifications when a new ‘favourite’ hits my library.

4) You can have up to five separate profiles for one subscription payment meaning in a household you can potentially cater for your whole family or friends.

5) The sheer portability factor – perfect for travel, holidays, the daily commute and so on.

As with anything there are some cons for me personally.

I really do feel like there is nothing like holding a physical magazine in your hand, turning the pages, the way a magazine smells and a physical magazine reading session is more fulfilling overall as you tend to cherish the moment, take time out away from computers/laptops and other electronic devices and take a moment for yourself to relax and escape.

Using the app on a mobile telephone would result in difficulty in reading the text in my opinion as it would just be too small and frustrating having to zoom in all the time.

Additionally, a lot of magazines offer some great freebies and as with any subscription service you will miss out on those. Now as an avid consumer of all things beauty related the opportunity to try new products on a monthly basis is a real plus when you can do that through a magazine purchase and it is often amazing value.

For my global Instagram and website friends then the coverage of the application is not worldwide yet as far as I can tell – please check the global Readly page to see if your country is included. I hope they will extend coverage in time.

In terms of my conclusions I think I feel the same way about Readly as I do about my Kindle –  it is convenient, great for travel and such very good value for money but I think for my favourite magazine I may still purchase the odd one from time to time. Similarly if there is a particular beauty freebie I want to try I will also indulge,  just like for certain special books I would buy a hardback to keep and treasure rather than do a Kindle download. I think there is so much potential in the future for the Readly content to be more than just a ‘picture on a screen’/PDF and for interaction, accessing links, downloading recipes and so on like a lot of the e-magazine options already available on the market. How this may impact on the subscription price is an unknown at this stage.

I think the subscription is a great idea and it suits me and my lifestyle so I thought I would share it with you all just in case you hadn’t heard of it and so you can explore it for yourself through the trial and see if it suits your needs and has the publications you like to read too. Who knows, if you are a magazine fiend like me you may save some money (only to spend it elsewhere on some beauty products for sure….) –  enjoy.

  • Prices correct at the time of publishing this article.