Top 5 Best Android Apps For Reading Magazines

Bertel King 01-01-2015

Android tablets may feel like big phones, but there are some tasks that they are simply better suited for. Reading magazines is one of them, and things have changed quite a bit from when we last looked at magazine apps for Android How To Read Magazines On Your Android Phone Or Tablet I love reading. Given the amount of research I find myself doing here at MakeUseOf that’s not a bad thing, but recently I’ve found my office space becoming encroached with more and more magazines. The... Read More two years ago.


What is the best way to get access to your favorite subscriptions? Here are five Android apps that fit the bill.

Google Play Newsstand


Google Play Newsstand (the successor to Google Currents) ships on many Android phones, so it’s the first option most folks will see out of the box. Since the app ties into Google Play, purchasing magazines is as easy as installing games. You can buy issues one at a time or sign up for a subscription, with the option to pay monthly or annually depending on how long you’re ready to commit.


But how does the experience compare to reading a physical magazine? The content is the same, and you can scroll through each issue as you would a PDF without missing out on any of the material.


Alternatively, you can switch to text-only mode and strip away all of the distractions from an article. You can actually browse through the entire magazine in this way, with Newsstand listing everything as a list of stories. Unfortunately, there’s no consistent way to differentiate between full-length work and short little blurbs at a glance.


Newsstand doesn’t just manage magazines. Google wants it to be the one place you need to turn to for most of your news. That means it can pull in information from other sources as well.

You can read the magazines you purchase from Google Play in a web browser, although this is a feature that all four of the apps below also tout.



Since consolidating magazines, newspapers, and blogs within a single app may not be ideal for everyone, it’s a good thing that there are alternatives available in the Play Store. If you want an app dedicated exclusively to magazines, Zinio is the one for you Read Magazines On Your Android Device With Zinio [2.2+] I really enjoy reading books. I have a Kindle and I use it all the time. But sometimes a book isn’t always what I need. There are times when I have just a couple of... Read More .


Zinio has a clean interface that shouldn’t feel unfamiliar to anyone who has read magazines digitally before. Issues are displayed in grids, and there are categories to help you find your way around.

When you open a magazine, the panel at the bottom helps you quickly hop around. You can read visual or textual versions of articles, with Zinio’s distraction-free view coming off as sleeker than Google’s own.



You have the choice to buy single issues or get subscriptions, though it’s worth noting that Zinio pushes you towards making an annual commitment. To compensate, the app is available across platforms. You can get it for Android or iOS, and there is a desktop version for Mac and PC.



Let’s say you’re interested in small, local publications that aren’t available in any of the above apps. Maybe you just don’t want to pay for magazines. Either way, Issuu can help you out.



Issuu is a web platform that helps magazine publishers get their work into a digital format Publish Your Own Free Digital Magazine This digital magazine publishing guide outlines everything you need to put together your own gorgeous online publication, from logos to layout to online publication at Issuu. Read More without having to do the heavy lifting. Over a million have turned to the site to make nearly 20 million magazines available to readers.


The Android app doesn’t feel drastically different from the other options here, but it does change things up a bit. There’s more of a social focus here, with buttons available encouraging you to share content through social networks and other apps. It also highlights related publications, so you can quickly find what to read next.

Amazon Kindle

When it comes to digital publishing, Amazon is the 400-pound gorilla in the room. There’s a good chance you’re already turning to the company to supply your ebooks, so why not consider getting magazines through it as well?


The Kindle app can provide access to magazines right next to your books. Obviously everything works seamlessly if you have an Amazon Fire tablet, but the Play Store app is also a good way to get to your Kindle library on a traditional Android device The Kindle App for Android and iPhone: As Good as a Real Kindle? You don't actually need a Kindle ereader to read ebooks. The Kindle app on your phone does the job. Here's how to use it. Read More . Like Zinio, it’s cross-platform, and there are desktop clients available.

Barnes & Noble Nook

Barnes & Noble’s Nook offerings have never managed to snatch nearly as much of the market as Amazon, but that hasn’t stopped scores of people from picking up one of the company’s tablets Kindle Fire vs. Nook Tablet – Which Tablet Should You Buy? For a time, it seemed that Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablet would be launched without opposition from the company’s e-reader rival, Barnes and Noble. Not to be outdone, however, the retailer recently unveiled the Nook... Read More .

If you’re immersed in Barnes & Noble’s ecosystem, the Nook app lets you access that content from an Android device. You can get monthly or yearly subscriptions and read them in the same place as your books.

Like Kindle, the Nook ecosystem is cross-platform and comes with desktop companion software.

Now That We’re On The Same Page…

Which app is right for you? Google Play Newsstand wants to be your one-stop-shop for news. Amazon and Barnes & Noble both offer magazines to complement their books. Zinio approaches issues with a singular focus, and Issuu is around to hand out many of them for free.

And if you’re interested in additional apps, check out these tools that help you do more with the physical buttons on your Android device 7 Android Apps to Get More From Your Phone's Physical Buttons Your Android phone's physical buttons aren't used to their full potential. Here are powerful apps that let your buttons do more. Read More .

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  2. mgmue
    September 28, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    Is there any apps which allow reading of magazines purchased through newsstand? I have money already sunk into subs but hate the app.

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      September 28, 2016 at 5:46 pm

      As far as I know, your only options are using the Android app or Chrome on a PC.

  3. Magdalena Becerra
    May 1, 2016 at 6:39 am

    Invaluable article , I was fascinated by the specifics ! Does anyone know where I can grab a sample IRS 1040 form to fill out ?

  4. Anonymous
    July 23, 2015 at 11:13 am

    I'm sick and tired of not finding a workaround so that I can keep my Zinio magazines on the external SD card.
    And of course pretty pissed at Zinio for not letting me store the mags on external SD as an option.
    Will Google Newsstand let me do this?

    Has anyone succeeded in using their external SD card as magazine storage in Zinio?

  5. DW
    April 7, 2015 at 4:08 am

    How can you include Zinio here? The app hasn not worked well on Andoid for months if not a year. It simply will not download subscriptions in a reasonable time with very good bandwidth available? Just look at the Android app reviews.

  6. Jay
    April 6, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    What about Readly? Surprised it's not on the list - leagues ahead of the rest.

  7. Doug
    March 26, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    I managed to find Keyboard Magazine through the Barnes & Noble Nook app after reading this web page :)

  8. Anirudh
    January 16, 2015 at 5:43 pm


  9. Lionel Barrow
    January 4, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    The app Next Issue was one that I thought for sure would be included on this list. It offers one of two low monthly prices to read a large selection of magazines that should cover anyone's tastes. Due to sentiments of one of the above commentaters, I will check out their version of the wired magazine to see if it has in the digital content mentioned.

  10. Andy
    January 3, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    You forget Readly.

  11. Carol
    January 2, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    The best app to read a magazine may depend on which magazine you're reading. I am a print and digital subscriber to Wired magazine. Wired formats their digital edition expressly for the Amazon Kindle, and it is a delightful reading experience. Every page is formatted to display perfectly on the Kindle without any user fiddling. linked online snippets, click-to-view-more buttons all enhance and expand an article's context. The same magazine read via Google Newstand isn't much fun. It involves flat content that requires scrolling and pinching/zooming. Because of my experience with Wired, I am very reluctant to pay for other digital subscriptions until I know, in advance, what the reading experience is like. It seems to me that Issuu would be a good place for publishers to post free no-obligation issues of the more popular magazines to allow customers a try-before-you-buy experience.

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      January 2, 2015 at 7:07 pm

      This is a very good point. Thanks for sharing.

  12. BowDowntoZod
    January 2, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    This article gives little useful information. It reads more like an advertisement than a knowledge piece. One major question I have is how these applications handle off-line reading of magazines. Most readers I've seen will always require some kind of network connectivity. Unfortunately when the majority of your commute is in an underground subway, network coverage is mostly no -existent. Plus, I find it very frustrating when a magazine publishes an article but includes additional content online. That's why I'm purchasing a magazine. I don't want to be online. I want to read it in one piece instwas of splitting the content between several different sources!

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      January 2, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      Google Play Newsstand, Zinio, Kindle, and Nook all require an internet connection to initially download magazines, but after that you can read them offline. Issuu is the exception where an option to read offline is not yet available.

  13. Balamurugan R
    January 2, 2015 at 6:24 am

    what happened to "Flipboard"..? its a great app to follow most of the mags,articles and most from your social feed too. I actually opened this link to check flipboard was there. It seems you are really missing a great experience.

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      January 2, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      Flipboard is a great app, but it places the emphasis on creating your own magazine, so to speak, rather than letting you read digital versions of print subscriptions. You can still read much of the same content, but it has always felt more to me like a visually attractive RSS reader than something comparable to Zinio and Kindle.

  14. Rich
    January 2, 2015 at 12:44 am

    I use Google Play Newsstand to subscribe to Esquire. The most recent issue will not display on my tablet. There seems to be no way to contact anyone at Google who can help with the problem. I used the Amazon Kindle app to view the issue on a 30 day free trial. Does anyone know how to communicate with Google?

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      January 2, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      The best way that I know of to communicate an issue to Google is to go to Google Play, hit the gear icon, and open the "My orders" page. There you will see your purchase history. Scroll down to your subscription, click on it, and select "Report a problem." You will get a list of potential problems to choose from. In your case, it sounds like you want "Subscription doesn't work on my device." Then you can provide additional information and submit.

  15. Hildy J
    January 1, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    With all of these, check your local library's web site.

    With Zinio I can download magazines (e.g. Consumer Reports) from my county library for free.