Exact Editions

There was a time when I was a self-confessed magazine junkie, but in a effort to reduce my paper waste, I’ve let most of my subscriptions expire over the past few years. Fortunately, two of the best magazines covering utility cycling, A to B and Velo Vision, are both available online through a service called Exact Editions. Exact Editions “brings magazines to the digital age” by offering online subscriptions to popular magazines across a wide range of subjects.

So how does it work? Once you pay for a subscription, electronic issues are loaded into a secure account area where you can read full versions of the current issue and back issues (depending upon the magazine, back issues may go as far back as 7-8 years). As new issues go to “print”, they’re automatically added to your account area, and you continue to have access to all back issues as new issues are added. The electronic editions are usually available before the print editions, a selling point for those who anxiously await each issue.

The Exact Editions interface is one of the best online magazine interfaces I’ve seen, providing the ability to zoom each page and navigate through the document using embedded hyperlinks, spread thumbnails, and navigation buttons on the interface. In my opinion, the EE interface is even better than a high quality, fully bookmarked and linked PDF document. The page scans are high resolution, and if you have a high quality monitor, the reading experience is arguably as good as reading traditional paper magazines.

Electronic subscriptions are a great way to reduce paper waste and the pollution associated with printing and shipping. And as an added bonus, Exact Editions subscriptions are less expensive than comparable paper subscriptions offered through magazine publishers. Highly recommended.

Trial issue of A to B magazine at Exact Editions
Trial issue of Velo Vision magazine at Exact Editions

10 Responses to “Exact Editions”

  • Hercule says:

    Seconded… with reservations

    I get A to B on EE and also got Velovision. A to B’s digital edition comes with all print subscriptions, Velovision’s is extra.

    Whilst I agree that the rendition of the magazines online was excellent, there waas just something missing – I much preferred the permanency of the paper editions which I frequently refer back to. The digital word just doesn’t match the printed one for versatility and pleasure of experience.

    Plus most importantly, the portablity of the paper edition wins hands down when I am reading in my, um, study in the smallest room…

  • Alan says:


    When it comes to reading longer pieces, particularly fiction, I still prefer the printed word. But for periodicals and technical manuals, I definitely prefer electronic media. The ability to zoom in, bookmark specific pages and views, and print single pages to be compiled for reference are a real advantage. And as I mentioned, I had a awful lot of paper and ink piling up.. :-)

  • Gordon Inkeles says:

    I found the text less than crisp–OK for short sessions but increasingly frustrating the more time I spend reading it. Is there a way to download these to a dedicated ebook reader like The Kindle or the (new model) Sony Reader?

    The personal computer isn’t ideal for extended reading sessions that fairly dense magazines like these require.

  • Alan says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t believe it’s possible to download an EE file to a Kindle.

    The quality and resolution of a particular screen, as well as the font rendering system used (Windows/IE vs. Mac/Safari), greatly affect on-screen readability and the amount of eye strain one experiences.

  • Gordon Inkeles says:

    Actually I’m on a Mac too, Alan, but the contrast and backlighting issues make it hard on the eyes after a while. I simply don’t welcome computer technology if it gets between me and a book or magazine.

    Most Sundays I’m out on a 40+ mile ride, after which I splurge by collapsing in an easy chair with the Sunday New York Times. Like so many transplanted New Yorkers I can do this for hours without rereading anything and every minute is illuminating. Every now and then Humboldt County, where I live, gets cut off from the rest of the state by a landslide or storm. On such weekends I do try to read the NYT online and I’m afraid I’m not much good at it. The backlighting and flicker–even on a Mac– get to me after a while and I find myself reaching for a good book. Say what you will about paper, it doesn’t flicker or glare and the text is always crystal clear.

    But I’m with you on the need to save the environment. Maybe the next generation of Sony Readers (due in two weeks) will provide the breakhrough.

  • Alan says:

    I’m curious about the Sony readers, though I’m pretty happy with the readability I’m getting from my Mac displays. My wife is with you on this one – she prefers paper and ink as well. I think this is one of those “to each his own” questions. :-)

    PS – Sorry I edited my above comment while you were typing your response..

  • Gordon Inkeles says:

    Here’s a loving appreciation of The Kindle from last Sunday’s NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/magazine/02wwln-medium-t.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=kindle&st=cse&oref=slogin

    Mind you, I don’t own one yet, but I’m seriously tempted. The Sony Reader is definitely a more elegant machine, with perhaps a less rewarding download process. Unlike the Kindle, the SR requires a separate computer–and may not be Mac friendly. You can see brand new SR on the Sony site.

  • Gordon Inkeles says:

    I should point out too, for anyone who’s interested, that Sony Readers are carried–and availble for testing– in most Borders stores. The Kindle appears to be an Amazon.com exclusive.

  • Alan says:

    Thanks for the info Gordon!

  • Magazines Online says:

    […] I learned about a service that digitizes a couple of my favorite magazines browsing the EcoVelo blog. […]

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