In the first two parts of TeleRead’s Mobile Magazines series, I’ve written about ways to read individual magazines by subscription. But what about an “all you can read” model?
It was ironic that I learned about Next Issue on Monday, as I was starting this series. An ad for it popped up while I was reading my morning news on Flipboard. Serendipitous, eh? Being a big fan of the Netflix model, I decided to try it out.
It works like this:
For $9.99 a month or $14.99 a month, you get access to a pool of magazines. You can read as many of them as you like, including back issues. They aren’t as clear as I’d like on the difference between the two price points, but I think the lower price gets you just monthly issues while the higher price gives you access to weekly magazines, like Time or People. It’s confusing because when you look at the complete list of magazines, it doesn’t specify which are available on which plan.
There are currently 80 magazines available, and the selection is decent. There are publications from Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp. and Time Inc. This gives a cross-section of entertainment, health, fitness, home décor and lifestyle. If you regularly read the publications they offer, this could be an excellent deal for you. They offer a 30-day free trial (of either package) so you can see if you read enough to make it worthwhile.
How are the apps and the reading experience? The reviews in Google Play are pretty bad. Lots of people seem to experience crashes and slow download speeds. I haven’t had the app crash yet, but yes, the download speed is slow, on both platforms. I downloaded Wired to my iPad, and it seemed to be finished. I opened it up, turned one page and saw this:
It downloaded for about a minute, and then I was able to read. I’ve not had similar issues with either Newsstand or Google Play Magazines. Sure, they take a while to load, especially the image-heavy issues, but you always know when they’re done and ready to read.
Reviews on the iTunes Store are generally better, so I’m guessing the iOS app is more stable; 30 days should be plenty of time to evaluate.
The reading experience is comparable to the other apps I’ve written about. Page turning was smooth. Layout was similar to the other apps. Still no article view, but I’ve kind of given up on wanting that by now. Both versions of the app gives you options to limit the number of issues stored on your device. The iOS version allows you to specify a number of issues. The Android app allows you to specify a percentage of your storage. Either should work.
Speaking of limitations, you do need to know about this paragraph in their Terms of Service:
If you plan to share a subscription with a large family, this might be a problem for you. However, I don’t find their limitation unreasonable.
I like the Next Issue concept. Unfortunately for me, their selection is too limited. These aren’t my types of magazine. But if you like what they have and read four or five of their publications a month, it’s an excellent value.
* * *
Next up in the Mobile Magazines series: A quick round-up of publications on e-readers.