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Rogers removes digital magazines from libraries

In October, the Toronto Public Library launched a public-transit advertising campaign for “free ebooks and e-magazines.” According to a TPL press release, borrowing rates have doubled since September, when the library began actively promoting its digital magazine service.

Like many libraries across Canada, TPL partners with Zinio, touted as “the world’s largest newsstand,” to deliver e-magazines to readers, but the service’s future in Canada is uncertain. Last week, The Globe and Mail reported that Rogers Media has removed all its titles from Zinio, including Maclean’s, Canadian Business, Chatelaine, Flare, Flare Trend Report, L’actualité, Loulou, Maclean’s University Guide, MoneySense, and Today’s Parent. A note on the TPL website says, “We were disappointed to learn about Rogers Publishing Group’s decision, and regret that we cannot offer access to these Canadian digital publications.”

According to the Globe, Rogers’ decision came on the advice of the trade association Magazines Canada, which warned about technical problems with Zinio. Magazines Canada CEO Mark Jamison told the newspaper: “The association recommended that its members withdraw from the program due to software technical issues that meant digital magazines were not being delivered in a way that is consistent with content delivery expectations and restrictions.”

On his industry blog Canadian Magazines, D.B. Scott says “it can’t be a complete coincidence” that Rogers is preparing to launch its own digital media service. In January, Magazines Canada is also rolling out Canada’s Magazine Store, promoted on its website as a “one-stop shop for all member titles.”  The association states that its “relationship with digital circulation suppliers is changing, including our Zinio-based program.”

Although the absent Rogers Media titles leave a gap in the TPL’s offerings, the library’s top downloaded titles so far this year are The Economist, House & Home, Us Weekly, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone.