Toronto Public Library Digital Magazines

Toronto Public Library now offers free digital magazines

The Toronto Public Library has just given another reason to love having a library card, and to enjoy this benefit you won't even need to leave your house. TPL has partnered with leading digital newsstand provider Zinio to give members access to digital magazines for free.

Libraries are increasingly becoming digital hubs due to the mass adoption of e-readers and tablets so this program is right on trend for Toronto. With just a library card and internet access, Toronto card holders will can digitally borrow over 300 magazine titles from both US and Canadian Publishers - anything from Canadian staples like Maclean's and Canadian Living to popular US mags like Cosmo, Men's Health, The Economist and even O Magazine.

The great thing about this service is that there is no limit to the number of magazines you can borrow. There is nothing to return. No late fees. And you can keep the magazine for as long as you want. The use of the term "borrow" is really misleading because really TPL is letting you download the magazine for free - but either way this is just semantics, and who cares when you get to read trashy mags like US Weekly for free, right?

To get started, you'll need a library card of course and then will have to register in two spots. The first step is to use your library card to create an account on the TPL RBdigital site. Then when you have selected the magazine title you are interested in and go to check-out, you will be sent to the Zinio site where you can either use your existing Zinio account (if you used the same email for RBdigital) or create a new one. The process is clunky but totally worth it to get access to a pretty amazing magazine catalogue.

Zinio can be accessed online or through apps that you can download for your PC, Mac, or smartphone and tablets (Android, Apple and Windows).

I guess if there was a downside to this program it is that there is no access to back catalogues. You are only able to borrow titles which are found available at the time that you visit the TPL magazine site. The catalogue is wholly dependent on the magazine publishers decisions on what magazines they wish to offer through the Zinio Library services.

If you are interested in this program, TPL staff will be giving live demos at Word on The Street on Sunday September 22 at Queen's Park. This fall, district libraries will also have digital kiosks installed to demonstrate e-magazines. Or you can head on over to www.tpl.ca/zinio and check out some digital mags today.


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