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Toronto Public Library Now Lets Users Download Free Magazines

Digital versions of popular magazines are free for the taking on TPL's website.

A screenshot of Toronto Public Library’s Zinio portal, as it appeared earlier today.

Here’s a little good news to start your Friday: there’s no longer any need to pay for The Economist. (Unless, that is, you want a paper copy.)

That’s because Toronto Public Library is giving users a new way of downloading current issues of more than 300 different magazines.

The service is being offered through a third-party provider called Zinio, which runs an online magazine portal. A user goes to TPL’s website, enters a library card number along with a login and password, and then it’s just a matter of finding the right magazine.

The selection is limited, but it includes some solid titles. Along with the previously mentioned Economist, users can check out The Walrus, Bloomberg Businessweek, Maclean’s, and a bunch of other magazines, both great and obscure—though mostly obscure.

The magazines display as scanned replicas of the print versions. They can be viewed on both computers and mobile devices.

Only current issues are available, but once you download a magazine you can keep it for as long as you want.

Users looking for back issues of magazines will have to get them the traditional way: by searching the library’s text-only databases.

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