When I was younger, I used to enjoy getting things by post; as an adult, I quickly realised that the letter box is more often filled with bills, useless advertisements, or urgent notices rather than actual letters (or at least the ones that are pleasant and joyful). Perhaps that’s why many people subscribe to magazines or newspapers. It’s like having a dear old friend visiting you on a regular basis. But I found magazine and newspaper subscriptions to be quite expensive here. That is, until I found out that you can get them for free (digitally) through the NLB.
Everyone who has a Singapore library card immediately has access to popular local and regional magazines like Cosmo, Men’s Health, Shape Her World, Female, NuYou, Cleo, Simply Her, and Torque. There’s Seventeen Magazine for teens; family magazines, such as Young Parents; and an entire range of tech and gaming magazines, such as HWM, Total Film, Digital Camera, PC Gamer, Computer Arts, Windows, and PlayStation. But that’s not all. With your library card, you also get access to thousands of international magazines such as Adventure (from New Zealand), WFM (Hong Kong), Readers Digest Asia Pacific, Women’s Weekly (Malaysia), Women’s Fitness (UK), and Popular Science (US), which is one of my favourite magazines. There are also magazines in other languages. Similarly, you can browse popular local and international newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, and China Daily.
The best part is that none of these require you to pay a subscription, as they are all available free through the NLB library online portal. But there are other advantages. Because all these are in their digital form, you can take them and read them anywhere. They also have additional features such as active links and even embedded videos. They’re also easy to archive as you can take a screenshot of the pages, or “clip them” to Evernote. The only problem I’ve encountered is that for some reason, I’m unable to view them properly using the Mozilla web browser, and I have to use Chrome instead. Here’s what it looks like.
There are plenty of digital magazine resellers, such as Magzter, Zinio, PocketMags, Newsstand, and even Amazon has gotten into the game. These resellers do offer great deals, as compared to the cost of a print subscription. This might be a good option if you’re unable to find your favourite magazine through NLB’s portal. But chances are, NLB will have what you want or something comparable, and you won’t have to wait for the postal serviceman to deliver it.
There is one other big reason to use your library card to read digital magazine and newspapers, and we are reminded of that every day when we step outside. We can all do with using less paper products. Magazines and newspapers have long been one of the biggest consumers of paper, often overproducing publications which are, sadly, expected to have a lifecycle of no more than one month, after which many are discarded rather than recycled. Let’s do our part to save on paper, and maybe instead of a 100-page magazine in our letter box, we can instead send an actual letter to an old dear friend…. or rather, maybe just get together and spend time together.