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Life & Style

Good Reads, Life & Style

Readly Review

Readly review 2017

Readly review 2017

Are you a big magazine reader?  Me, not so much.  With some spare time on my hands I could happily flick through a magazine on food or music or interiors, but I’d never go out of my way to buy a magazine.  I have a blog reader set up (Feedly) so that I can catch up with all of my favourite blogs in one place when I get the chance, and that satiates my magazine reading itch.

Also, I don’t find WH Smith a fun place to shop.  I hate being hassled at the checkout to buy their special offer chocolate or bottled water, when I just came in to buy a magazine.  Just me?

My partner, on the other hand, has varied specialist interests.  Some of these include graphic design, photography, drumming, making music, gardening…  I could go on!  Anyway, he would buy a couple of magazines a month, and would have easily bought more but at £5+ a pop, it’s a pricey habit, so always limited himself.

A few months ago we saw an advert on TV for an online magazine service called Readly, a magazine subscription app that sounded too good to be true.  With Readly, you can access thousands of big name (and smaller) magazines from around the world, through your mobile, tablet or computer for a flat monthly fee, allowing you to read as much or as little as you want.  Too good to be true, right?

It sounded like there should be a catch, but we read a bit about Readly, and couldn’t see anything about a catch, so signed up for a free month long trial to try it out.  Here’s my Readly Review:

readly review

Readly Review

After the month long trial, we found we loved Readly so much that we signed up for a subscription.  And a good six or so months on of using Readly we still haven’t found the catch.  We’ve been paying the fixed monthly price of £7.99 a month for unlimited access to over 1900 new magazines (and up to 12 months of their back issues) from all over the world.  I’ve been enjoying flicking through whatever magazine takes my fancy, whenever the mood strikes, and I don’t feel guilty if I’m not paying my full attention to the magazine, or idly skimming through articles.  You can cancel a Readly subscription at any time, so you aren’t locked into any fixed term contracts either.

My partner and I have each set up our own profiles on Readly, which saves all of your favourites and offers recommendations based on what you’ve been reading.  You can save up to five profiles, which is handy for families.   Most magazines are available for reading on the day of publication, and you get a notification from Readly when one of your favourites has published a new issue.  My favourites on Readly include Delicious, Mollie Makes, Olive Magazine, and Veggie magazine, but there are so many different titles and types of magazines on offer (even kids titles) that it’s difficult to list them all here.

You can access Readly through a variety of platforms – from tablets, phones, laptops and desktop computers.  I’ve tried it on a laptop and tablet, but I think it works best on a tablet.  Flicking through a magazine is easy – if you have a tablet it’s simply a case of swiping the page over with your finger, whilst on a laptop it’s a case of clicking through to the next  page.

The magazine streams to your device, rather than being downloaded meaning you can read within seconds of opening up the app.  However you can also download magazines for when you are going to be somewhere without internet access – e.g. a bus or a train, so you can still access magazines on the go.

What I’m not 100% sure of is what the impact on the magazine publishing industry is.  From what I can understand Readly pay publishers based on the number of pages read and the time spent on each page.  So publishers get more money per magazine that is read rather than quickly flicked through.   This data also provides publishers with deep insights into how their content is being consumed, which is useful for deciding which features work and don’t work.

Whether this is a good or a bad thing, all in, I don’t know.  Perhaps for people like me that don’t buy magazines particularly often, then these magazines are gaining readers (and therefore eyes on the advertisements they run) that they wouldn’t normally have then Readly is a good thing for publishers.  What I don’t know is if you replace a magazine subscription for a Readly subscription, what the difference that has for the magazine publishing industry.

What I do is that all in all we’ve really been enjoying using Readly.  It’s saving us a little bit of money a month, has expanded our reading options massively, and means that we’re not using so much paper/resources, which is always a plus point.  And if you have Readly in lieu of a magazine subscription then it saves the magazine being posted in one of those annoying plastic magazine wrappers.

Have you used Readly?  What do you think of it?  And do you understand the magazine publishing industry better than I do?  Is Readly a good or bad thing for the publishing industry?

 

It goes without saying that I have no affiliation with Readly, I just wanted to share a find that I’ve been enjoying using.  Sponsored posts are always disclosed at the top of each post as such :)  

Good Reads, Life & Style

Why giving up Amazon should be your New Year’s resolution

Whilst we’re on the subject of New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve got a thought provoking guest post from Georgina Rawes from Ethical Consumer, on Amazon and why finding alternatives to Amazon should be a priority in 2017:

Lose weight.  Stop smoking.  Worry less.  Most of us will be making New Year’s resolutions in January and many of them involve giving up bad habits.

If you are one of the millions of people who purchased books online through Amazon in 2016, we at Ethical Consumer suggest that you give up something a little different this year: the retail Goliath that is Amazon.

boycott amazon

You might think that shopping is a bit of a strange focus for a New Year’s resolution, but the way in which we choose to spend our money has far reaching consequences.  Breaking a bad buying habit could do more than you realise.

In December 2016, we carried out a review of booksellers in the UK ranking them according to their ethical practice across 23 different categories.

Amazon scored 0/20.  Across every single category, they showed a sweeping disregard for ethical practice, including:

Using suppliers with appalling records of human rights violations.

Having no company-wide targets to reduce their environmental impact and energy use.

Selling products that have been tested on animals and selling controversial whale meat products in Japan.

Using tax avoidance tactics and tax havens.

Amazon and tax avoidance

Of all the problems associated with Amazon perhaps the most pernicious is their tax avoidance.

Unless you been living in a cave for the last year, you’ll have heard about some of the unethical tax avoidance tactics of companies such as Amazon, Google and Apple.  Multi-billion pound organisations that hire teams of accountants to ensure that they pay as little tax as possible.  And you might have brushed it off as little more than media hype since, after all, it’s not illegal ‘just’ unethical.

We don’t always like it, but we do it.  We all have to pay our taxes and most of us handover at least 20% of our hard-earned wages.  Seeing that deduction on our wage slip isn’t always pleasant, but we know that it’s necessary.  Taxes make democracy work and provide the services that we rely on every day, from road repairs to the emergency services.

So, whilst you might be paying upwards of 20% on earnings, Amazon paid around 0.16% in corporation tax on UK sales in 2015.  On earnings of £6.3bn, they handed over just £9.8m to HMRC.

Tax avoidance destroys markets

In relation to bookshops, their tax avoidance really does cause some big problems in the market.  How many times have you discovered a book in a shop but used the phrase ‘It might be cheaper on Amazon’?  The sad fact is that it probably will be.

And there’s a reason for this.  When businesses don’t pay their fair share of taxes, they are able to offer the cheapest prices.  Sound familiar?

The result: a sweeping and uncontrolled domination of the market.  Mintel reports that there were only 894 independent bookshops left in 2016, a decrease of 42% since 2005.  And it isn’t just small businesses that are ruined, Waterstones is the only remaining national high street bookseller left (holding 30% of the non-Amazon market).  Tax avoidance, which helps Amazon to cut prices, is the main reason behind this decimation of our bookselling industry.

How do we give up our Amazon addiction?

Amazon is already making huge tracks into other retail categories through their online sales platforms, as well as growing their monopoly in audible and electronic books and new television offering with Amazon Prime.

So, how do we give up this bad habit that started with the purchase of a humble book?

We boycott.  We tell Amazon that until they start to contribute properly to the UK economy and treat their workers and the environment fairly then they are not welcome here.

There are alternatives and they don’t cost the earth.

Our booksellers report, available on the Ethical Consumer website, highlights several recommended ethical booksellers:

amazon ethics

Buy second-hand.

It’s cheaper and better for the environment than buying new.  Our report highlights Oxfam as the recommended best buy in the second-hand category with its high performance across all scoring criteria and with all profits being fed into their charity work.

Other recommended booksellers include:

Ebooks.com – coming a close second to Oxfam and offering a wide range of ebooks for tablets and computers.

Better World Books – an online bookseller who sell second-hand and new books and donate a portion of their profit to charity.

Hive.co.uk  – selling books and ebooks online and donating a percentage of each sale to local independent booksellers.

Books etc. and Guardian Books are also recommended for new books.

If you’re based in London, then Near St.  is definitely worth a look.  The site lists stock in hundreds of independent bookshops helping you to find the book you need quickly and support the smaller shop that stocks it.

Make the Amazon boycott part of your New Year’s resolution.

Together we can make a difference, we can bring back our once thriving independent bookshops and level the playing field for everyone.

To learn more about how you can take action visit the Ethical Consumer Amazon boycott page.

At Ethical Consumer, we’ve produced reports on over 40,000 companies, brands and products, using calculations to assess and rank companies in all aspects of ethical behaviour.  To view the full range visit ethicalconsumer.org.

Title image Creative Commons “The New York Trilogy”, Paul Auster, by pistocasero is licensed under CC BY 2.0, all other images used courtesy of Ethical Consumer.