If you want to read PBO on Android, iPhone, Mac or PC here’s how you do it.

PBO Digital is the best way to get the full magazine experience if you’re unable to buy your regular copy at the newsagent or supermarket. But it’s not as straightforward as browsing the shelf! There are nine different digital magazine platforms (shops) online and four types of device you can use to access the platforms.

So first choose your device, then choose your platform.

1. What device should I use?

You can get PBO Digital on a desktop computer (Mac or PC), a phone, tablet or an eReader device. The options for desktop/laptop are limited in comparison to phones and tablets, but the bigger screen area and resolution may be an attraction. See the table below for options.

Apple iPhone and iPad

PBO Digital subscriptions are currently available on iPads and iPhones (iOS devices) via our own eCommerce platform, Magazines Direct. Very soon we will be offering the opportunity to purchase PBO digital single issues too.

We have our own digital magazine platform (PBO app) on the Apple App Store. Simply search for Practical Boat Owner and download the app for free. Purchases are made through your Apple ID and linked to the credit/debit card associated with this (which you usually set-up when you first purchase your phone). You can manage your subscriptions on your devices or through the iTunes Store.

Note that ANY of the other providers (see table below) will work on Apple devices.

Android phones and tablets

All other phones and tablets use Google’s Android operating system. To buy a digital magazine on an Android device select your preferred digital magazine platform (app) from Google’s Play Store. Download the app, open it and follow the instructions.


If your eReader supports downloads from either iOS (App Store) or Android (Play Store), you will normally be able to access digital magazines. On your eReader, tap the Apps button on the device homepage, and search for your preferred app in the store. Download the app, open it and follow the instructions.

2. Which magazine platform should I buy from?

For PBO Digital there are nine different digital magazine platforms available. Magazines Direct and PBO’s own app in the Apple App Store only work on Apple devices (iPhone and iPad – not Mac Desktops). Zinio, PressReader, Readly, Magzter, Cafeyn and Pocketmags will work on Android and Apple devices. The only platforms for desktop are Zinio, Pocketmags and Cafeyn.

Some are like supermarkets that sell everything to everyone in a variety of bundles and price options, while others are like local newsagents with a limited range tailored only to a certain type of shopper.

All platforms require you to create an account before you can make a purchase. However, once you have an account, most platforms will allow you to read your magazine on five devices simultaneously, with up to five users per subscription.

We, the publisher, have no control over their distribution. Nor can we influence their prices, other than by stating our recommended cover price (which is the same as our print magazine).

Take a look at the table below (Click on the image to enlarge) to see which package suits you best. Prices are accurate as of March 2020.

3. Can I buy single issues or do I have to subscribe?

You don’t have to subscribe to get a digital copy of PBO, though if you’re a regular reader you may find some of the subscription offers more attractive, and some deals offer access to unlimited other magazines too.

Single issues

If it’s the current issue, you’re after take a look at PBO app, Zinio, or Cafeyn (formerly LeKiosk), which charge the same as the print edition of the magazine (slightly less for Cafeyn).

Cafeyn and the PBO app offer ‘one-month’ subscriptions. At £3.99, this is cheaper than buying a single issue, but renewal is automatic, so if you just want the one issue you’ll have to remember to cancel before the month is up. Note – deleting the app doesn’t automatically cancel the subscription.

For single back-issues, you’re limited to PBO app, Zinio or Cafeyn, though note that certain titles may still not have been converted for these platforms. Where they are, they appear automatically on your device.


Digital magazine platforms typically give you two options – subscribe to just one brand (eg. PBO on Zinio at £37.99 per year) OR subscribe to everything (5,000+ titles) for an annual fee. In fact, at the time of writing, Magzter is offering a 50% discount on its Gold (all-inclusive) subscription, which means it’s actually cheaper to buy everything than a year’s PBO magazines at £58.

Other platforms offer monthly, rather than annual subscriptions, such as Pocketmags (£3.99).