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3 tools to publish a free magazine online

Luca Filigheddu


Magazine publishing is so easy nowadays that it’s a wonder why there aren’t more content creators are getting into the magazine game.

Believe it or not, starting a magazine today is so easy that you can even start for free! Albeit, it may have a few limitations, but it’s definitely enough to get started. And from there, you can just scale up once you find your success.

Compare that to how it was during the heyday of print magazines! Think about the starting investment needed just to publish your first issue. Printing and logistical costs alone would be enough to discourage new magazine publishers.


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So, to help you get started, here are three tools that will help you to publish a free magazine online: 


ISSUU is quite versatile as they’re not only focused on publishing digital magazines. They also feature newspapers, portfolios, catalogs, corporate literature, DIY guides, or practically any publication.

It’s very easy to upload and publish publications in ISSUU and they claim that it can even be done within minutes. Once you publish, your publication becomes immediately available to their active readers who view publications on a digital reader.

When you sign-up for ISSUU’s free Basic package, you’ll have access to their HTML5 Reader and you will be able to embed the reader to your website or app. You can share the magazine on social media and increase the reach of your digital magazine.

There’s also no limit to the number of upload times but it does have a 500 page or 100MB limit per publication. There’s also a print-on-demand service, but it comes at an additional fee. Also, expect banner ads from ISSUU when taking the Basic package.

ISSUU isn’t just a publishing software. It also allows readers to discover new publications that are published using ISSUU so it’s an opportunity for publishers to increase their readership through ISSUU as well. 

2. Paperlit

As one of the most professional tools for digital magazine publications, Paperlit holds a special place among digital publishing tools.

Paperlit’s specialty is replicating static PDF magazines into digital magazines or newsstand apps, as well as a content management system (CMS) to optimize digital content publication and distribution.

Just like ISSUU, Paperlit also allows digital magazine publishers to publish their magazines on state-of-the-art web reader for free. The web reader can also be embedded on the publisher’s website. With Paperlit, you can publish up to 12 issues per year, but with the free package, the issues will contain ads.

More than a digital flipbook, Paperlit allows you to embed links in the digital magazine which gives you additional revenue-generating opportunities.

3. Joomag

Joomag is an interesting choice for digital magazine publishing as it also allows you to cover subscriber management even from its free package.

Joomag has Awesome CRM which allows you to manage a subscriber list of up to 100 contacts (more contacts for paid version), design and send out email campaigns to your subscribers.

It allows you to display your magazine on a reader for desktop, mobile and even Facebook which you can embed as a mini reader on your Facebook page. Standalone apps come at a hefty price through but the magazine can be distributed in Joomag’s digital newsstand network.

Your magazine can be embedded to your websites or you can also assemble a digital bookshelf and embed that instead.

Joomag also has an online magazine editor to help you design your magazine. They have templates available, and you can incorporate video, audio, links and even stock photos from Getty Images.

However, there are limitations. As a free Basic user, you are allowed only up to 500MB of storage space and up to 1 user only. If you’re a serious digital publisher, you might quickly outgrow the 100 subscriber limit.


Digital magazine publishing has fewer barriers to start. As you’ve seen, there are plenty of options to publish a free magazine online and grow from there. If you’re merely a hobbyist then choosing any of these three options above will suffice. However, if you are a serious digital publisher, you’ll have to consider your future needs as well.

Free tools are well and good if you’re just starting out. But if you’re envisioning growth in your future, you’ll need more than what free tools can give you. Take a look at each of these platforms’ paid capabilities and see which fits best with your future goals.