Review | Readly – the app for magazine lovers

Readers, I have a confession to make. I am a magazine addict. As a teenager I’d spend my pocket money on the likes of  Sugar, Bliss, Just 17 and Mizz. I loved devouring the problem pages, photo stories and features on topics such as make up tips and relationship advice it was like having a cool, older sister who was sharing their experience. 

As my interests turned more towards listening to Britpop and other Indie music my tastes in publications changed and I began buying Melody Maker, NME and my favourite magazine Select to read about all about my cherished bands.

These days my tastes in publications tend to lean towards ones that cover slow living, wellbeing and supporting independent illustrators and small businesses such as Flow, 91 and Frankie although I do get tempted when browsing in WH Smiths or in the supermarket to treat myself to something different.

Although I am pretty select about the magazines I purchase, I’ll happily read the glossies and gossip magazines at hairdressers or in a waiting room prior to appointments. If ever you were stuck with gift ideas for me you couldn’t go wrong with a Stack subscription.

My love for magazines isn’t limited to reading them, in the past I produced my own zine and have also written for the likes of Fused. My degree was even in Media & Film Studies 

Over the past couple of years even though I do occasionally binge when in places like Ideas on Paper I have been  cutting down on my subscriptions to save money, reduce waste/ not have a huge backlog of publications and being conscious of the content I’m consuming.

I do still love having a magazine fix so when I recently saw on Alison Perry’s site Not Another Mummy Blog a post about the Readly app and stories by Allison Sadler on Instagram I knew I had to download it and give it a go myself.

Please note that this is not an ad as I have purchased this app myself and I wanted to share my thoughts on it with you.


What is the Readly app?

Readly is a digital subscription service which lets you read magazines on your smartphone or tablet. You pay one monthly subscription for access to their entire catalogue, and can download your favourites to read offline.

With over 4000 titles and more than 99,000 back issues covering topics from Health & Fitness, Home & Garden and Hobbies there’s something for everyone to read.


Things I love about the app

This self proclaimed Spotify for magazines allows you read magazines on your smartphone or tablet. You can share it with up to 5 devices and set up different profiles so you can share the account with family members, partners, BFFs etc.

Readly provides unlimited reading and you can find both current and older editions of all the titles on the app. It also has the option to download issues so  that you can read them offline.

By favouriting magazines you’ll receive notifications when new issues are out. It’s great for trying new magazines i.e. if you’ve taken on a new hobby or are renovating your home as you can either read whole issues or use the search feature for a topic or keyword which is particularly useful.

It’s easy just to swipe the pages to read in the same manner you would on an E-Reader, with the option to switch to landscape mode to get two page spread layout for an experience closer to reading an actual magazine. There’s the facility to zoom in on pages and screenshot pages you like and save them onto your device. You can even highlight pages in the app too.

It has the advantage over print magazines of saving your progress so you can pick up where you left off if you get distracted whilst reading.

I prefer to use Readly on my phone for casual browsing i.e. whilst I’m waiting and on my iPad for when I’ve got more time to sit down and relax for a longer reading session.

What magazines are on  Readly?

You can find big name titles such as Grazia, Cosmopolitan, Vogue and even The Big Issue on Readly.

When I first downloaded the app I started reading my usual favourites including:

• Idler

• Little White Lies

• Red

• Happiful – I already get the free email version from them but it’s handy to have all my magazines in one place.

• Psychologies – my subscription for this magazine had just ended so it was perfect timing downloading this app.

If you’re a magazine lover like me and enjoy trying out different magazines this is where the app really shines because it gives you the opportunity to read magazines you might not normally buy. You can even filter by country to view publications from outside of the UK. The more you click favourite on magazines the better the recommendations are tailored to your tastes.

I’ve since added these titles to try out:

• Positive News

• Art Review

• Living Quietly

• Liz Earle Wellbeing

• Apollo


How much does it cost?

At the time of writing this (August 2019) I paid 99p per month for a two month trial which will then increase to £7.99 a month. There’s also the option of purchasing gift cards if you wanted to buy this as a present for a loved one.

Unlike some traditional magazines there is the option to cancel your subscription at any time.

For the cost of 1-2 monthly magazines in the shops you get access to a huge variety of publications.


My final thoughts about Readly

I do rate Readly for giving me the chance to try out lots of magazines, I certainly couldn’t afford the cost of buying all these titles individually. It also offers convenience as it saves you from carrying round magazines in your bag.  I also find with certain magazines I’ll throw them away after one read which seems a waste. With others that I keep there is the issue of where to store them and the amount of space they take up.

I am enjoying using this app however I don’t think I’ll go completely digital as there’s no independent magazines such as Kinfolk and Uppercase so I will have to still shop at places like Papersmiths. The app is catered more for mainstream publications but I’d be keen to see titles such as In the Moment, Simple Things, Oh Comely, Breathe and Project Calm on it.

Another reason I won’t go completely digital is that I do love the simple pleasure of holding actual magazines in my hands and flicking through them with a nice cup of tea. There’s still a part of me that loves paper based products i.e. I prefer actual books over my Kindle app, I’ll gravitate towards notebooks, paper calendars and planners more than apps.


Are you a fan of switching off and reading magazines?  Have you tried Readly or any other magazine apps? Do you prefer print magazines still? Which are your favourites? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.



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