“Zinio makes money through three different sources, and really only two of them matter,” explains Bruce. “Primarily our money comes from deliveries. Every time we send a copy of BusinessWeek or whatever, we get a fee for that. That’s our primary business. Our secondary business, which will become much more important over time, is revenue from sourcing new subscriptions. We bring a new subscriber, and we get some remit on a percentage of the subscription.”
Bruce adds that the company also has production services, wherein it charges a basic price to convert the magazine to the digital format. “We add all the enhancements such as links and rich media,” he says. “We just charge to cover our cost for that, though, and the fees are very low.”
Because of the two main ways Zinio makes money, its four-person marketing department (out of a total staff of 45) has a dual role. “We’re pretty neutral on how strong our brand is or isn’t with the consumer, because they’re buying the publisher’s brand,” Bruce explains. “It only becomes important for them to know the Zinio brand when they’re using the software or getting customer service. On the other hand, making Zinio a known place to get digital magazines is important. Ultimately, our brand is an agent, and whatever helps more people read more digital magazines is the right answer.”
I rediscovered Zinio right before getting my new computer and think it really is a great way to read many magazines if you already like reading on your computer screen.