Everywhere we read about old school print publishers trying to figure out ways to get readers to pay for the digital (and often awful) versions of their magazines. Here are ways to beat that trap with the best of the new publishing paradigm while paying absolutely nothing — free is good.
• Flipboard — Far and away the best magazine for the iPad isn’t a magazine. A clever mix of curated tech and business news vis RSS, as well as a professional photostream, your Facebook and Twitter feeds, and any other sources you choose to ad, Flipboard is the first and perhaps only real digital magazine — it will change how you get and consume news.
• Discover — When I was a kid, I spent hours and hours poring over our family’s two encyclopedia sets. Wikipedia is the 21st Century encyclopedia and Discover puts this exceptional resource in your hands in an engaging digital magazine format — you’ve gotta get this simply great app from Cooliris.
• Website Magazine — Chances are, one way or another, you’re in the business, too. In the second decade of the new millennium, pageviews, SEO, reputation management and design matter to everyone. Get free access to the blogs and one edition just for asking.
• Net-a-porter Magazine — Called the future of digital fashion publishing by fans and pundits alike, this title provides a seamless blend of editorial and shopping resources. Style has never looked this good.
• Slate — This one costs $1.99 on the iPhone but it is free on Apple’s magical tablet — go figure. A slick, nicely done interface well-stocked with the “slatest” mix of textual, video, podcast content and, yeah, news.
Is Flipboard the future of news periodicals?
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• BMW Magazine — Ya gotta have goals and this free publication points to a future with you behind the wheel of the world’s finest driving machine. You’ve the iPad. What’s stopping you from getting the beamer (magazine)?
>> See also: Mini TV: Videos featuring the ever popular Mini Cooper.
• Entrepreneur Magazine — Not free per se, but there are five free editions — May through September — for the taking, making this one of the most enticing offerings from a mainstream, old-line publication. And, your new economy business chops could use a little (just a little) polish, right?
• Time, Inc. — If you’re already a People, Life, Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated or Entertainment Weekly print subscriber, then you can get the digital editions for “free” on your iPad. Digital only single editions and subs, however, aren’t as cheap as they should be.
• Zinio Magazine Newsstand & Reader — When you download this free app, you do get a few freebies for your trouble. However, the purpose of Zinio is to get you to buy subscriptions and you’ll find hundreds of the most popular periodical titles in this glorified .pdf store + reader.
Know of a great (free or otherwise) iPad magazine? Share the name and a link in the comments below…