When I was a kid, getting a new magazine in the mail was a great experience. I’d come home from school and there it would be, waiting for me to read. The Internet has changed that. I hardly ever have time to read magazines anymore, I simply spend too much time sitting in front of the computer reading the 21st century equivalent to magazines (and newspapers), blogs.

Today, the world’s largest bookseller, Barnes & Noble, is attempting to bring the magazine back — in the digital world. BN.com (Barnes & Noble’s website) has teamed up with electronic publisher Zinio to sell subscriptions for more than 1,000 magazine titles. Subscriptions will be available both in digital and regular formats at prices up to ninety percent off the newsstand price. The digital version will be available to start reading just minutes after purchase.

Zinio is currently the provider of BN.com’s “See Inside” feature, which allows potential book purchasers to get a glimpse of a book’s contents before they buy it.

The real question here is if people will want to read magazines online? The market this would seem to cater to, people like myself, who already spend so much time in front of a computer screen during the day that spending an hour or so more to read a magazine might seem like too much. However, transferring a digital magazine copy to an e-book reader like the Kindle might make sense, but seeing as Amazon.com, a chief BN.com competitor, makes the Kindle, that probably won’t happen.

Another interesting aspect of this partnership is that over 12,000 back catalog issues of various magazines will be available for purchase digitally. While it may not seem obvious why you would want to read an old copy of a magazine, for something like a research paper, this could be very useful — provided of course, that the catalog is searchable. Several publications have back issues of their magazines online on their own sites already, but most are rather limited.

M2 Media Group will handle the subscriptions for those who choose to go the more traditional, paper route.

We previously covered Zinio in early 2007 when it was in the process of being dismantled.

[photo: flickr/PinkMoose]