01 August 2015


Just in from seeing Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi's Festival documentary The 50 Year Argument detailing the history of the New York Review of Books, I was reminded that even at the far-flung orbits of colonial existence we New Zealanders can soak up the writing of intellectuals from the centre of global intellectual empires. Many people may not be aware of the Zinio magazine-reading service available through public libraries, but more should take advantage of the free and fairly easy to use service. It's a particularly good use for all those tablets that spend most of their time playing Youtube and tinkering on Facebook, and when you're flicking through a magazine on a hand-held computer it feels properly like you're living in the shiny techno-future we all envisaged growing up in the 70s and 80s. And yes, you can use it to read the NYRB.

Individual magazine titles are downloaded to the tablet via the free app, using your library login. The site will be keen to sell you magazines to read too, although I've been perfectly satisfied with what's on offer for free through my library membership. The selection of free titles is determined by your local library's subscriptions, which will vary depending on local interests, the whims of the librarian tasked with determining the mix, and how much the library can spend. But there's plenty on offer. For example, Auckland offer 'over 500' titles, Wellington offers a range from '.Net' to Yoga Journal, and Hamilton seems to offer dozens of titles too. Once you download a title you can read it as long as you like, and it's the full electronic version of the print edition rather than a cut-down version.

Amongst the Wellington collection my favourites include the recently-added New Yorker, which is a huge treat for any fan of the city, film magazines like Empire and Total Film, and the wonderfully packed BBC History title. It's nice to see breezy UK tech title T3 in there too. I'm sure most readers could find something of interest. Even Wood magazine ('the world's most popular woodworking publication') or perhaps Cross Stitch Crazy ('the magazine for stitchers who just can’t get enough!')?

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