No one has really figured out the magic formula for publishing traditionally print magazines on tablets. There are two current methods publishers are trying, simple PDF versions wrapped in an app, and content re-formatted and laid out specifically for tablet screens. Neither method is really selling amazingly well and each have their positives and negatives.
While Next Issue is trying to make the best of the tablet formatted versions and releasing them in a new, more consumer-friendly way. Next Issue has combined multiple publications like Time, Sports Illustrated, New Yorker, and Wired and put them all into one single app. Next Issue says that their app will be able to keep most of the interactive features from the standalone apps. And the really nice part, it's available in one subscription price, all you can read pricing. They even include a big chunk of back issues.
Available in two different subscription models, you can subscribe to just the monthly magazines for $9.99/month for the Basic plan or include the weekly magazines for $14.99/month total, the Premium plan. If you subscribe to multiple of the 40 magazines they offer in the app, the subscription to Next Issue might even save you money.
We got a chance to take a pre-release version of the Next Issue app through it's paces. What we've seen so far, we can highly recommend it for magazine junkies. The current release of Next Issue doesn't support Apple's In-App Purchase program. It's more of an Amazon Kindle model -- meaning you have to go to the Next Issue web site to subscribe and manage your subscription, you can't do it through the app. An inconvenience, yes. Deal-breaker, probably not for most people.
As mentioned earlier, the magazines in Next Issue are basically the same as the stand alone apps, but wrapped in standard navigation and all in one app. Next Issue adds that standard navigation to let you do things like jump to a section and navigate the pages. It's quick and fairly intuitive.
One of the big plusses to the Next Issue system is that as long as you subscribe you will have access to back issues as well as the current ones. At launch, Next Issue will have the back catalog for all 39 magazines back to the beginning of the year. With the hope that they will be able to continue to add to the back catalog over time.
As you'd expect, you can download issues for offline use. Good for reading while on a flight, or just someplace without a connection. With some good caching options, you can set how many issues you want to keep and Next Issue will automatically remove old issues. Automatic download is also available but will only work when the application is running.
The following monthly magazines are included in the basic plan ($9.99/month): All You, Allure, Better Homes and Gardens, Bon Appetit, Brides, Car and Driver, Coastal Living, Conde Nast Traveler, Cooking Light, Elle, Esquire, Essence, Fitness, Fortune, Glamour, Golf, Golf Digest, GQ, Health, InStyle, Money, Parents, People En Espanol, People Style Watch, Popular Mechanics, Real Simple, Self, Southern Living, Sports Illustrated Kids, Sunset, This Old House, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Wired
The Premier subscription adds the following weekly magazines: Entertainment Weekly, People, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, and Time for an additional $5.00 per month.
The Next Issue app launches on iOS today. You can get a 30 day free trial subscription at the Next Issue web site.