It looks like Next Issue Media, the newspaper and magazine publishing JV, is finally ready to open its digital newsstand for business. The company says it has hired Vindicia to set up its CashBox billing service so it can start selling digital magazine and newspapers early next year. Next Issue will offer digital subscriptions and single copy sales. Print subscribers will also have the option of combining their existing magazine and newspaper subscriptions with digital bundles, something publishers have been demanding from Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and its iPad for months.
Earlier this month, Next Issue said it would launch its online store for magazines and newspapers on Google’s Android Marketplace. Google (NSDQ: GOOG), looking to one-up Apple, has been much more amenable to publishers’ pleas for greater flexibility.
Next Issue and its publisher backers — Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith (NYSE: MDP), News Corporation (NSDQ: NWS) and Time Inc. (NYSE: TWX) — have been hoping that tablets powered by Android, such as Samsung’s Galaxy, would compel Apple to give them more free rein when selling single copies or subscriptions either separately or part of a print bundle. Apple has not shown any signs thus far of giving publishers the user data they crave, but it is expected to give in certain areas when it comes to allowing subscriptions to be sold — though it’s not clear to publishers when that will be.