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Kindle Fire Magazines Are Ugly as Sin

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If you want the Kindle Fire for reading magazines, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re in for disappointment.

The magazine experience on the Kindle Fire isn’t just bad, its possibly the worst magazine experience I have ever had. Seriously.

Update: Publishers that actually try can create decent looking Kindle Fire magazines. Check out the quick look at Maximum PC on the Kindle Fire below.

I downloaded an issue of Inc. to test out magazine reading on the Kindle Fire, and still have trouble believing how bad it looked. You can see examples of the Inc. magazine below, and compare it to the Inc. web experience which is free, and 100 times better.

Kindle Fire Magazine

As you start, the magazine experience on the Kindle Fire looks promising. You see a real cover and a clickable table of contents, but as soon as you go further things start to fall apart.

Poor formatting on Kindle Fire Magazines

Poor formatting on Kindle Fire Magazines

You’ll notice that once you get past the image, no formatting is in place at all. Remember the nice clicking available in the table of contents, you can’t click on the links in this magazine (of which there are many).

Random images on Kindle Fire Magazines.

Random images on Kindle Fire Magazines.

Next up, you get to look at a page of random images. Why? because no one took the time to format the text and make the magazine look nice when creating it. Why is this better than the website or print?

Kindle Fire Magazine Fail

Note the odd arrows and lack of a full image in landscape.

Once again things get weird while looking at this chopped up image of a police car that was obviously part of a nicer looking in magazine feature. Note the arrows to nowhere. Going into landscape mode doesn’t help things at all.

If you compare this to the website, it’s pretty sad. Going online, you can see the same story with a better picture and you get real formatting that includes bold text and alignments that make sense.

I do have hope that this will improve, and you should be able to access Zinio on the Kindle Fire, but after multiple searches I couldn’t get Zinio installed. This experience is a far cry from Magazines on the Nook Color, which actually look like magazines and switch into ArticleView for easier reading.

Amazon really needs to push publishers to offer better formats, because crap like this just doesn’t cut it.

UPDATE: If you find magazines that offer PageView and TextView, such as Maximum PC, you can get a good magazine experience on the Kindle Fire. After spending 10 minutes reading through Maximum PC, I enjoyed the layout and the looks of the magazine, though reading pageview is pretty much out of the question.

Kindle Fire Magazines don't have to suck.

Kindle Fire Magazines don't have to suck.

Thankfully, you can switch to ArticleView rather easily to get something like this, that looks good in portrait or landscape.

A good Kindle Fire magazine layout.

A good Kindle Fire magazine layout.

If you are looking at magazines on the Kindle Fire, be sure you purchase or subscribe to ones that say, “Includes Page View” below the Publisher name. This means that the magazine publisher actually wants to deliver a premium experience, instead of having an intern convert from a PDF.

 

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

7 Comments

  1. Michael Cummings

    11/16/2011 at 12:43 pm

    I tried the Nook color for magazines a few months ago at a bookstore and was less impressed – at least the text looks readable in your pictures. On the nook, it was like looking at a tiff image of a page from a magazine – you had to slide the page around to read, and do awkward iPhone like zooming to get to the text.

  2. Anonymous

    11/16/2011 at 2:00 pm

    IMHO, 1024×600 is both a bad form factor, and too low a resolution. It’s OK for video, but not good for reading. 

  3. Anonymous

    11/16/2011 at 2:15 pm

    There is some sort of a glitch on the Amazon listing for the Zinio app that shows it as incompatible with the Fire.  While that is being worked out, Zinio put up a link on their site’s “help” page that you can click in the browser to sideload the app onto the Fire.  It works pretty nicely on the Fire.

    The poorly-formatted magazines described in this article are the ones that were formatted for the e-ink Kindles.  Clearly, Amazon really needs to get all the titles offered brought up to the standard set by the Fire.  At the very least, they need to very clearly designate which magazines are optimized for the Fire and which are not.

    • nookie nook nook

      11/26/2011 at 9:18 am

      A lot of the badly formatted magazine that I have seen were from magazine apps and not magazines themselves.  When you see an icon with the magazine name on it in the carousel as opposed to the magazine cover then you know you have a magazine app and that it’s going to be poorly formatted.

  4. Henrique Silva

    01/19/2012 at 9:02 am

    what a dull.. almost stupid text. I ended up without knowing, after all, what are the real good and bad points of the whole thing. Seems like the author didn’t even take his time to actually try enough options and come up with a real experience description lol

    looks like my old paper schools when I was just too lazy to retype things and kept adding info over info…

  5. makkie

    03/13/2012 at 10:59 am

    Though I only have one magazine on my Fire, EW, it is formatted super-nicely and I love it. Reading is crisp and clear, interactivity just right. Obviously, can’t speak for other magazines. 

  6. Andy Durban

    11/07/2012 at 9:21 am

    I tried one periodical on my Kindle …. I gave up, too frustrating!

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