Reading magazines and newspapers for free (or low cost)

About 5 years ago I wrote a blog post about how to read magazines (like the New Scientist) for free. Rather than update the original I’ve created a new article adding how to read newspapers for free.

Using your library membership – Magazines through RBDigital

The days of the walk-in library service could well be numbered but you should be using the service that your tax contributions have paid for. Lots of local authorities buy into a service where you can check out magazines and read them inside an app – this can be on a tablet, phone or laptop (or all three!). I would suggest that you start on your county library pages where they will have instructions. New Scientist is only one of the magazines you can check out, others include BBC wildlife, National Geographic and even computer magazines.

This image shows the RBdigital app and some of the magazines available through the Derbyshire Library service. These can all be read for free. The app also lets you read in a text format rather than the magazine layout and you can copy and paste text (handy for those shared reading activities with your learners)


Using your library membership – newspapers (and magazines) through PressReader

This service isn’t quite as convenient as the one above because you have to sign in every 30 days but offers newspapers and a selection of magazines for free. I was surprised to see the TES on this app as well as many of our most popular newspapers. Again you download these to your tablet and a text view is available (and this can be read to you using the built-in text to speech facility, but I prefer to scroll through as you would do with a paper copy.

As with the RBDigital app, all you need is your library card/number to sign up for the service.



Readly – like Netflix but for magazines (not free but reasonably priced)

I discovered Readly years ago. Basically it is like Netflix for magazines where a flat fee (£7.99 a month) gives you access to dozens of different publications. You can even change the country in the app and read American magazines if this floats your boat. Titles of interest to the teacher include Teach Secondary Magazine, the Sky at Night and many others.

I’m sure that some of these magazines are available through your library service for free, but the sheer quantity of magazines and the fact you can have up to 5 devices on your subscription mean we continue to renew our subscription (watch out for promotions on their gift cards throughout the year, simply buy and apply to your own account!)

You can get a free month by using my referral link here.

All information correct as of April 2020


Published by Rob Butler

Ex-science teacher, ex-school leader and full-time geek.