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Sewickley Public Library patrons have digital access to magazines

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Library patrons now can access virtually hundreds of magazines with the help of a new magazine-based app.

Through a subscription from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County cardholders — including those at Sewickley Public Library — can use digital magazine app Zinio to electronically browse pages of magazines such as Bon Appetit, Maxim, Men's Health, Food Network, Esquire, Oprah, Men's Journal, Scrapbooks Etc. and Star.

The service is free for Allegheny County library cardholders.

The ability to download hundreds of magazines appeals to those such as Sewickley librarian Meghan Snatchko, who uses e-devices far more regularly than printed material to read news and browse stories, she said.

“As a person who doesn't really read magazines that much, I am more likely to read them now because they're right there on my iPad,” Snatchko said.

But she's not sure if all magazine readers are ready to dump print, she said.

”Somebody who already has subscriptions, I don't know if they would make that change,” Snatchko said. “Some people might.”

Zinio offers more than 5,000 magazine titles, according to its website. Founded in 2001, Zinio last month was named one of the top 10 apps of 2012 by technology-focused website TechCrunch.

Non-library cardholders can subscribe to Zinio, but having the ability to use the app at no cost with a library card is a plus, Snatchko said.

“I don't buy magazines, but I'm more likely to read a magazine now that I can get it for free at my fingertips and I don't have to worry about returning it,” she said. “That's one of those things I always forget to return. They're small. It's just like any other piece of paper. My husband has thrown them out before. He'll see it on the table and just throw it out.”

Some magazines such as Cosmopolitan offer clickable links for readers to make purchases through the app, Snatchko said.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh began offering the program Dec. 3.

Since then, Snatchko said she has received some questions from patrons about the service.

“Not as many as you might think,” she said. “Magazine readers don't really think of the library.”

Like the library's Overdrive program, which allows patrons to view e-books, Snatchko said she expects interest in the app to increase.

“Once people realize what it can do, I think we'll have more patrons who are interested in downloading it,” she said.

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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