Inspirational PDF Magazines

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PDF magazines are a great promotional tool used by companies and collectives. They are quick to put together, can be attached to emails, or made available as free downloads. Numerous visual arts publications from around the world are available for you to draw inspiration from. These magazines serve as excellent sources of both conceptual and visual design. Furthermore, it’s both interesting and important to know what other artists do — to explore new artistic style, learn new techniques and make new contacts.

View great illustration, photography, graphic design, painting, typography, and various other visual and communication arts. Dig into ideas with artist interviews and articles. Or flip through these pages to discover new visual solutions and styles. Below you’ll find both well-established and new PDF magazines for you to download and to draw inspiration from.

You may also want to consider visiting

PDF Magazines

  • Adobe Magazine
    Adobe sets a high standard of professionalism with this visual communication publication. It’s a quarterly magazine filled with practical information and design inspiration. “You’ll see work that’s breaking new ground, get an insider’s perspective on how it was created, and find new ideas and tools to enhance your own projects.”

    Adobe Magazine 1

    Adobe Magazine 2

  • Font Magazine
    While this magazine promotes fonts, it also provides inspiration and commentary on design and visual communication. This magazine brings us interesting articles from a global perspective. In Issue 006 the magazine has the theme of “Think globally. Design locally.” It focuses on design that makes a difference in various places around the world in order to broaden our perspective on design.

    Font Magazine 1

    Font Magazine 2

  • Candy
    Candy Collective puts out an engaging visual arts and design magazine. Over the course of two years, the magazine has grown into a large publication with a polished feel. It showcases photographers, designers, illustrator, painters and other forms of visual arts. It does this by, both interviewing the artists and displaying their work.

    Candy 1

    Candy 2

  • Blanket
    This is an interesting magazine. It’s well designed. There is a good mix of excellent writing, colorful layouts, and good content. The magazine promotes authors form around the world. It also has a varied editorial staff. They write about their individual interests.

    Blanket 1

    Blanket 2

  • VVM
    This magazine is about Vector and Vexel art. A large part of the Mags format is made up of half page spreads of artist’s work. Each piece has a brief explanation of the design and a link to the artist’s portfolio.

    VVM 1

    VVM 2

  • Vektorika
    This magazine is all about Vector Graphics. It is predominately an artist promotional magazine. The quality of their interviews are really good. Each issue has a theme. Issue 10 was based on Character design. For a review of this Mag see the article Inspiration: Vektorika Magazine.

    Vektorika 1

    Vektorika 2

  • Etel Magazine
    This is a young mag that presents numerous artist interviews. It covers art, design, literature, architecture, and fashion. A small sample from each genre is on display in the magazine. It will be interesting to see how this magazine grows.

    Etel 1

    Etel 2

  • Revolutionart
    This is a large artist promotion magazine. Artists have full wide page spreads and often get more than one page to display their work on. There is work from artists, designers, musicians, photographers, and models. Revolutionart magazine publishes work from accomplished and untrained artists indiscriminately. There appears to be little editorial limitations on the scope or quality of work displayed. There is an interesting mix of great work and mediocrity.

    Revolutionart 1

    Revolutionart 2

  • FF3300
    Numerous types of art and design are on display in this magazine. An interesting aspect of this magazine is that most of the art is discussed conceptually as it is presented. It is also a dual language publication.

    FF3300 1

    FF3300 2

  • Royal
    The Keystone Design Union creates this publication that covers design, illustration, and photography. It is available via PDF or online via Flash.

    FreshCut 1

    FreshCut 2

  • Woosta
    This magazine is interview driven. It promotes each artist’s work alongside interviews with them.

    Woosta 1

    Woosta 2

  • Grafikal
    This magazine has a wide layout that uses plenty of white space. It promotes the visual arts. Numerous artist’s work is on display with ample explanations of the work running along the side. This Mag recently got started.

    Grafikal 1

    Grafikal 2

  • JPG Magazine
    While the PDF version of the magazine is just a sample, it still gives a good preview into this community of Photographers. You can also view the photos and stories online, as well.

    JPG 1

    JPG 2

  • Naked Wales
    This Mag covers the design scene in Wales. While this magazine has a local flavor, it also covers design issues we can all relate to, like speculative work. This magazine has only released one issue at the time of this writing.

    Naked Wales 1

    Naked Wales 2

  • FreshCut Magazine
    Although this magazine is not in English, it doesn’t really matter. This is because over 95% of the magazine is artist’s work on display with no commentary. You can quickly move through the pages for pure visual inspiration.

    FreshCut 1

    FreshCut 2

  • ANTI Magazine
    ANTI Magazine aims to showcase outstanding visual content as an online magazine and also through future exhibitions all around the world.

    ANTI Magazine

    ANTI Magazine

Further Magazines

  • Artzmania
    Artzmania is an independent venture showcasing outstanding international creativity and culture. According to the authors, it is supposed to be the “platform for Designer’s Territory to inspire, express and share with fellow art enthusiast profiling diversified design”. What makes Artzmania different is its touch for graphics works from different cultures. For instance, the latest issue covers Asia’s finest artists and designers, a representation of the arts crowds that are existing in the Asia region. If you are looking for fresh and creative inspiration, that’s a nice place to start. Only executables can be downloaded, but not the .pdf-files.

    Artzmania

    Artzmania

  • BAK Magazine
    This Flash-magazine is being edited by Turkish graphic designers. The magazines contains interviews, graphic design-related articles as well as numerous showcases of designers’ works. You can also submit their work to the magazine and thus can get featured in one of the upcoming issues.

    Bak 2

    Bak 1

  • Encore Magazine
    This Flash-magazine comes from Germany and focuses on graphic design as well as on photography. Written in German and English.

    Encore

    Encore

The selection presented above is, of course, not complete. You may want to browse through Pdf-mags.com, a growing repository of free PDF magazines which presents recent issues of nearly 175 PDF magazines from all over the world with main focus on art, design, illustration and culture.

You have further suggestions? Please comment on this article!

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Sean Hodge is the creative mind behind AiBURN, a weblog about design, creativity, inspiration and graphics.

  1. 1

    i like pdf magazines especially artzmania! great list, thnks guys

    keep em coming!

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  2. 2

    Your first entry evokes some kind of nostalgia in me. I have learned a lot from Adobe Magazine in late 90′s.

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  3. 3

    Great list, however I am kind of sad to see Artzmania included in a list of PDF magazines when the developers of such a great magazine do not provide a PDF for download. That one is wrapped around spotbits executable, that makes it unavailable to us Mac or Linux users.

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  4. 4

    Nice list indeed! …I missed Before and After Magazine however. Though its commercially available, it’s greatly done with inspirational articles and all the used resources listed per article including links to them. Eeach PDF contains a set of pages ment for screen and a print layout section.

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  5. 5

    Hi, nice list. Maybe you should have mentionned Issuu, another mags source (even if it’s not downloadable).

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  6. 6

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    April 22, 2008 5:49 am

    @jesusOmar: thank you, fixed.

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  7. 7
  8. 8

    I agree with jesusOmar about Artzmania. anyway, great list !

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  9. 9

    Minor typo: “Wales” not “Whales”.

    Nice article, it’s always good to get inspiration.
    So, when is the PDF version of Smashing magazine coming out?

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  10. 10

    Just in case it was missed: http://www.pdf-mags.com/

    I only scrolled through the article, since I like looking at the pictures :)

    Cheers

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  11. 11

    No mention of Phirebrush?? http://www.phirebrush.com

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  12. 12

    hmmmmm…aother new issue form pdf magazine (i like tha)!!!! it seem to be a alectric magz like a…webpick in hongkong and many more

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  13. 13

    @Thibaut – I agree, Issuu is awesome. I didn’t mention it because it’s flash and not a pdf, but it’s great for online flash mags. It loads quick and I like the zoom in feature.

    Also, thanks to the other that are adding more mag links. Thx.

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  14. 14

    I’m like… O_o

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  15. 15

    A nice collection as ever :)

    “Whales” should be “Wales” though, in the blurb about Naked Wales.

    This Mag covers the design scene in Whales.

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  16. 16

    so great list.
    just discovered your siteweb one week ago.
    it’s amazing !

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  17. 17

    I don’t know guys. I’ve never been a big fan of PDF magazines. Although they of course serve a purpose, they’re by no means ideal and are no substitute for flicking through the pages of a printed mag. There must be a better way to enjoy the delights of print in an online format, without having to put up with the constraints of PDFs?

    Nice list though…

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  18. 18

    Great collection. Please also check out

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  19. 19

    hey, i think the best inspirational digital magazine (not PDF) , is NEWWEBPICK.com, same flash based technology used by issuu but you can download…. keep the great work. Always Smashing !

    by the way…. WE ALL WANT NEW FREE FONTS….can’t wait to “Free fonts of the month” post.

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  20. 20

    While not updated often, this flash magazine and its previous issues are all really good too: http://www.rootmagazine.org/

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  21. 21

    Superb list Keep it Up………………………

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  22. 22

    Although it’s more a commercial catalog than a magazine, Veer’s monthly catalog is very interesting, full of great design solutions, imaginative layouts, a feast of typography… their Activity books are incredible. Everything available in PDF, of course.

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  23. 23

    Thanks you very muchhhhhh!!!!

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  24. 24

    Joefrey Mahusay

    April 22, 2008 5:45 pm

    Great collections

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  25. 25

    What a great list of magazines! But… (there is always a but) … I’m a bit disappointed to not see more online publications who really explore the abilities and features of a pdf like the Adobe Magazine does. Isn’t exactly this what makes an online publication so attractive?

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  26. 26

    @Dan – It’s a good point that they are not a substitute for printed mags. Of course they can be printed, but they are not a print only medium. Artist collectives have embraced it because it is quick to create and it’s a cheap delivery system. The ability to attach it to emails might be something worth exploring for artist collectives as well. As Marianne mentions, there is some functionality that can be utilized in PDF’s, like embedded links and other interactivity.

    @Marianne – I agree. Adobe certainly taps it’s potential well. I would like to see more mags doing that. Adobe’s Magazine makes me want to play with the PDF technology. I have Acrobat Professional and have never used it.

    Good to see people submitting links to more mags. If anyone know of any that are using the PDF technology well, like Adobe is then please let us know.

    Thx.

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  27. 27

    I find Ikea Online brochure a good source of insipiration, though it doesn’t come to the line of Adobe magazine. Good use of typo, color, info diagrams. Thx Haobam

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  28. 28

    Really outstanding, thanks for the effort.. Keep posting such winderful stuff..

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  29. 29

    Killer list. Thanks

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  30. 30

    Hmmm – the ideas are endless. Thanks for this. This got the ticker jumping into motivational mode.

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  31. 31

    sandie sørensen

    April 22, 2008 11:13 pm

    Oh my Lordy!
    I will have no time to do my payed work now!

    Very inspiriring Magz you have found here! Thank you very much for sharing!

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  32. 32

    Also check out http://www.ths.nu/beast/ [Beast].. Oldie but nice!

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  33. 33

    Hey I agree with Andres Ayala who said bjust efore me that NEWWEBPICK is The One you should not miss…!
    It’s a flashmagazine with a free version and a bigger but not expensive one. enjoy

    http://www.newwebpick.com is a really nice site. (smashing too!)

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  34. 34

    This site is AMAZING! Guys keep up the smashing work!

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  35. 35

    Yeah! good selection! i like BAK Mag!
    And here you have another cool mag (Modern Design Magazine) link, check it out! (i would like to recieve opinions in my email)

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  36. 36

    Great collection! Here’s another one : steelcase.

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  37. 37

    Dif is a cool pdf magazine and a good source of insipiration in most of my works.

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  38. 38

    excellent…

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  39. 39

    What can i say boys n girls – another fantastic and important post – I’ve been following the hard work of the guys behind Artz Mania for a while and just felt these guys didn’t get the credit due – you guys have highlighted even more pdf magazines!!!

    Bring on the new found source of inspiration – to all – well done and keep on keepin!

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  40. 40

    kick ass list!

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  41. 41

    really incredible magazines, especially FF3300, on its 3rd issue there are some incredible experiments with typography…
    incredible.

    tnx
    cate

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  42. 42

    Awesome article…. there’s another one here too. LOAD is a bi-monthly about music, film, art, style, tv and games. Well worth a look:

    [LINK] [www.loadmagazine.co.uk]

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  43. 43

    Thanks buddy. That’s awesome.

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  44. 44

    Sean Hodge really has been a busy man recently. Everything decent that I read lately has his name on it. Well done Sean.

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  45. 45

    You gotta include Full Circle Magazine in there too.

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  46. 46

    May I also suggest the very lovely Multilink magazine – http://www.multilinkmagazine.com/

    Great post as always smashing! x

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  47. 47

    Great list! But you may add IdeaFixa (http://www.ideafixa.com/) on it.

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  48. 48

    Great to see Candy up there, those guys have done great stuff here in Ireland over the last couple of years. Watch out for their traveling Sweettalk, um, talks too.

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  49. 49

    Only the best…

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  50. 50

    simply suberb!

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  51. 51

    Damn, you folks just keep kickin’ out the “bad-ass-smash!” As always, thanks for sharing — keep it rolling — but man it’s tough to keep up with ya’ll!

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  52. 52

    you forgot to consider BATTERIE
    http://www.ladestation.net

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  53. 53

    Great List…online mags are nifty..AND green! :)

    Here’s a great flash ezine called Design Book...

    Design Book Magazine

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  54. 54

    http://www.nmag.cn is a really nice ezine site!

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  55. 55

    Website Design

    May 1, 2008 9:35 pm

    Great works! i Hope someday i can design my own artwork too.

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  56. 56

    webpixelkonsum

    May 3, 2008 7:25 am

    amazing ideas

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  57. 57
  58. 58

    satyrico negro

    May 25, 2008 7:20 am

    hey guys see apocryphal art magazine, a journal of visual arts in pdf and flash format

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  59. 59

    satyrico negro

    May 25, 2008 7:25 am

    sorry this is the link http://apocrifa.com.mx

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  60. 60

    This is a GREAT article! I downloaded pretty much every PDF. Thanks for this treasure trove of inspiration.

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  61. 61

    Have a look at http://www.freekmagazine.com you can download the pdf of the current month or check all the contents they published… have a look at it

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  62. 62

    You should also check out Batch magazine for great illustration etc

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  63. 63

    I’ve recently stumble accross a brand new digital magazine called Chew. They have set a really high standards for this medium and are raising the stakes. If you want to take a look for yourself go to http://www.chewthemagainze.com

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  65. 65

    Hey! What about my magazine? nu-mag.com or krossmedia.net you can download the pdf every week and they’re interviews about great artists, most from Texas, but expanding to other states. Good music attached and great art with live links. The interviews are also by great freelancer writers. I appreciate the support.

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  66. 66

    There’s a great mag for illustrators here: http://www.castlemagazine.de (German and English)

    Hope you like it… :)

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  67. 67

    hi, 1st of all: congratulations to smashingmagazine – usefull hints, tips and tricks for bloggers and interactive creatives
    just one more link to a pdf-mag: http://www.bildungaktuell.at
    they write about educational topics in Austria and Germany.

    so then, keep on smashing ;-))

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  68. 68

    saying thanks to your website it just like saying thanks to ocean for one drop. i want to enjoy ocean. i m not satisfied with one drop.
    your web is ocean. how can i appreciate you.

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  69. 69

    WOOF!MAGAZINE – http://www.woofmagazine.net
    Art, culture and lifestyle

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  70. 70

    AKA MAGAZINE #1
    shows the graphic + art + design scene in my country
    AKA magazine blog

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  71. 71

    Can anyone help with designing a new magazine that will be published soon?

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  72. 72

    great info. Thanks a lot from BAIRES ARGENTINA

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  73. 73

    Look into [,DEVOU'TI:] magazine.
    PDF magazine about music, movie, culture, architecture, art, etc.

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  74. 74

    free pdf culture magazines – looking for submissions for the second issue
    http://www.jetpacmagazine.com

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  75. 75

    a good list, but there are other downloadable PDF magazines that take a little more advantage of the interactive functions available like pop-up menus, interactive contents, and embedded video. Content wise, it may not be your thing but the functionality is well worth a look.
    http://www.primomotomag.com
    http://www.ecomotomag.com

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  76. 76

    See also at this magazine: Visualizer Magazine: http://www.visualizermagazine.com

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  77. 77

    Kikked! is another, very interesting mixed-arts online magazine. Their fourth issue has just come out and is available as a PDF download.
    http://kikked.com

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  78. 78

    good
    thank you

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  79. 79

    Why there are a lot of magazines dedicated to Vector graphics and when i open the pdf all are rastered and pixeled graphics, i would like to open and infinitily zoom the graphics. Does not support SVG or another vector type format the PDFs ?. Is there any pdf magazine whit pure vector graphics? Thx.

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  80. 80
  81. 81

    Do you know Linked Magazine? http://www.linkedmagazine.es A bimonthly free e-zine edited in Canary Islands focused in culture, art and lifestyle which has this ley motive: We talk about people who do things, and about things people do. http://www.linkedmagazine.es

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  82. 82

    hi, i know a mag too: http://www.visual-streets.de
    Its a german street-art, graffiti suburban mag, nice and cool.

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  83. 83

    These magazines look amazing, but most of them have now closed, isn’t? The links deos not exist for some of them..

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  84. 84

    I found this link through a google search for the best non-PDF web magazines. I hate the PDF reading experience. Especially on mobile devices (i am writing this on my phone).

    Is Flipboard my best option for non-PDF, non-app magazines? I’d love you to do a similar article on the best web app / non-PDF magazines available for mobile devices. Thanks.

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  85. 85

    What programs can you use to make PDF magazines?

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