Despite the availability of multiple magazine titles on the tablet, subscribers have met the offerings with lukewarm reception at best. It's been two years since the iPad launched, yet digital represents a mere 1% of the industry's circulation; publishers know there's a problem here that needs to be solved. Now, they're finally addressing it with the launch of a new Android app by Next Issue Media -- a joint venture by the five biggest magazine publishers including Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredeth, News Corp. and Time Inc.
The service -- touted as the "Netflix for digital magazines" -- is actually a pretty good idea. Subscribers pay a fixed monthly fee and get access to all the magazines available on Next Issue Media's virtual newsstand. Dishing out $10 opens the door to monthly and bi-weekly content, while ponying up $5 more grants you admission to all the weeklies as well (titles like The New Yorker, and more). At the moment, there are 32 magazines available, including Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Vanity Fair, Esquire and many others. The company has even promised that more publications "will be available soon."
But as is usually the case with a great deal, there are a few caveats. Right now, the app only works on Honeycomb-endowed Android tablets, and there's no word thus far on availability for the Kindle Fire or Barnes & Noble's Nook. (Both of these devices run modified versions of Google's mobile OS.) For once, Apple users will have to experience delayed gratification, too -- Next Issue Media has yet to submit an iPad version to the App Store. And lastly, print issues aren't part of the package at all, so if you like owning the physical copies of the magazines you subscribe to, you'll find yourself out of luck.
Still, anyone who likes reading magazines on tablets should find the service a welcome new scheme. Not only will you be able to peruse individual articles at leisure, reading only the longform articles or special issues that interest you, never again will you succumb to that nagging guilt after seeing how high that unread pile on your nightstand is getting.
The Next Issue Media Android app is available for download now with a free 30-day trial.