April 4, 2012 at 1:40 PM ET
In a push for consumers to embrace digital reading, an online venture of big-name print publishers now gives readers the option of perusing dozens of magazines a month on their tablets.
Fashioned much like a 'Netflix for magazines' -- or Hulu -- as christened by AllThingsD, the Next Issue App now has unlimited subscription plans from 32 magazines published by Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp and Time Inc. for consumers who have Android tablets (and soon, for those who have the dominant tablet in the market, the iPad).
The $10 Unlimited Basic plan gives subscribers about 27 magazines, including Better Homes & Gardens, Popular Mechanics and Vanity Fair -- all hefty in print, but not as much of a brick as InStyle, which is also in the package. So it is limited in its selection, but given the range, there's probably something you'll like in this mix.
But you have to upgrade to the $15 Unlimited Premium plan to get all those in the basic plan PLUS Entertainment Weekly, People, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker (7-inch version only) and Time.
In contrast, if you were to subscribe just to one digital magazine, such as Entertainment Weekly, the cost would be $3 a month, or $5 for a single issue. (Better Homes & Garden is slightly less, at $2 a month and $4 for a single issue.)
The site does offer free 30-day trials.
There are also other limits. Next Issue has upgraded to support tablets with Android versions 3.0 (Honeycomb) and 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), that are 7 inches and larger. With features and functionality only supported by Android 3.0 and above, it will no longer support those who have tablets running on Android 2.2 and 2.3.
For them, Next Issue recommends this in their Next Issue Upgrade FAQ:
If you had an active subscription as of April 1st, 2012 and our records indicate you were using a device with Android 2.2 or 2.3, Next Issue will notify you that it has canceled your recurring payments to avoid any further charges. If you do not receive an email notification stating that Next Issue has canceled your account, please proceed to cancel your account directly.
So, you're out of luck until you have a device that runs the newer versions of Android. (I tried looking for it in the Amazon store for the Kindle Fire, but nothing came up. No mention either of Barnes & Noble for the Nooks.) You can download the Next Issue app from Google Play after you've signed up for it.