Thursday, July 25, 2024


Slick, searchable and good value, the first ‘Netflix for magazines’ puts 2,000 digital magazines on your tablet or smartphone

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It had to happen. A ‘Netflix for magazines’ was inevitable, and the first stab at it from Readly impresses. Offering all-you-can-read access to over 2,000 digital magazines, it’s £7.99 per month for unlimited reading, including 12 months of back issues for each title. The pricing officially goes as follows, but it’s pointlessly complicated: 1 month for £7.99, 3 months for £23.97, 6 months for £47.94, 9 months for £71.91, and 12 months for £95.98. They all work out at £.799 per month, so why would the five options?

Good value

However, options elsewhere do help it seem good value; Readly can be used by five different people across five different devices, so we’re in a family sign-up situation. And all magazines can be downloaded and read off-line. So, all in all, it’s a bit like the Netflix model.

Cover stories

The user interface is, not surprisingly, the front covers of magazines laid-out in a grid. First, you sign-up online, then download the app, then select your gender and age to allow Readly to recommend you books more suited to you. That does seem a little odd, but maybe they really are the biggest factors in what people decide to read.

Slick user interface

Without being asked what your interests actually are, a long list of front covers is then presented. It turns out that people my age like cars, fitness and, err steam railways. I like none of these things. Still, the mother lode of magazines I sporadically buy soon looms into view; BBC Wildlife, BBC Sky At Night, and Lonely Planet. The page-flipping is easy, it’s fast and it’s slick.

Free-text search

You can download pages to your phone and search free-text within, though if you do that from the newsstand view you do get the same adverts popping-up, giving a false result. Maybe adverts should be culled from this particular option. But it’s a handy research tool nonetheless.

Great for travel

The Readly app is available on iOS, Android and Kindle Fire, the latter inciting an important question; why are Amazon not already doing this? Given its Kindle Unlimited scheme, it seems like a no-brainer. However, we’re happy someone else is getting a look-in – and Readly is well worth investigating if you want the latest issue without having to carry all that paper around airports and vacations.
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