And speaking of e-magazines, CNN’s Fortune Magazine has broken the story that Zinio, the original e-newsstand app, is now seeking a buyer, to the tune of $50 to $100 million. CNN calls Zinio a competitor to Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s Newsstand apps, but Zinio has been around since long before the Kindle was even a twinkle in Jeff Bezos’s eye, let alone the Johnny-come-lately Newsstand app belying Steve Jobs’s claim that nobody reads anymore.
We first mentioned Zinio back in 2002, as “proprietary software designed for reading magazines on tablet PCs.” It popped up again in 2004 (only available for PC and Mac, contributing to headache for people who used other devices) and 2006 (not very good reading on a PC screen due to formatting issues), with a lot of mentions from 2009 onward as e-magazines finally became a going concern due to the success of the iPad and, to a lesser extent, the Kindle. It seemed to offer a reasonably good experience for reading magazines if you didn’t want to clutter up your iPad with a separate multi-megabyte application for everything you read.
But being the first mover in a market doesn’t necessarily confer victory if later movers have better ideas and execution. Is Zinio feeling the pressure from its much bigger competitors? You have to wonder.