Kindle, Nook now offering periodicals on iOS; where will you buy?


Amazon (s amzn) and Barnes & Noble (s bks) both introduced new features to their respective iOS (s aapl) applications on Monday, even as they were required to remove links in their apps to outside storefronts. Kindle now supports viewing of over 100 of its newspaper and magazine titles, and Barnes & Noble has announced that Nook for iPad will soon offer access to over 175 digital periodicals. Because of the timing of this feature introduction, I’d say it was possibly a negotiated concession by the e-booksellers, won in exchange for the removal of the outside store links.

I’ve been able to try out Amazon’s implementation of magazine and newspaper viewing, which went live yesterday. It does add a nice splash of color to otherwise text-heavy content, but if you’re looking for interactivity, you should probably look elsewhere. The periodicals offer more in terms of user interface advantages on the iPad then they do on the Kindle, owing mostly to touchscreen navigation, but special features like rich media and the kind of visual flair that made magazines like Wired on the iPad such a joy to read are lacking.

The Nook software appears to have more lofty aspirations. Its titles are billed by the company as “interactive, full-color” editions that also feature something called “exclusive ArticleView” with allows for user customization of how articles are displayed. The update isn’t yet live in the store, however, so we can’t say for sure how it will compare to either Amazon editions or native iPad apps.

Whether you choose to subscribe through native apps, or through either the Kindle or Nook stores may depend on your device usage habits. Amazon and Nook subscriptions both work well across multiple platforms, meaning that you can subscribe once and access them on your iPad, dedicated e-reader, and possibly your Android device or iPhone, too. iPad periodical subscriptions for dedicated apps typically only work on the iPad itself (although some offer print subscriptions that carry over to the iPad, so you have two possible formats for reading).

In some cases Amazon or Nook editions may also be cheaper, but that wasn’t so in many of the examples I checked. National Geographic, for example, which benefits greatly from the iPad’s beautiful display, is $19.99 for an annual subscription through the App Store, and $1.99 per month on the Kindle store. The Kindle version is a lot less visually impressive, and costs more money, since it lacks a flat yearly subscription.

So I put it to you: Where will you buy your iOS magazines and newspapers now that new options are available?


Mike Perry

You write: “Because of the timing of this feature introduction, I’d say it was possibly a negotiated concession by the e-booksellers, won in exchange for the removal of the outside store links.”

Why was it a “concession” on Apple’s part? As far as I know, there’s no rule against subscriptions made outside an app being displayed inside it. If anything, the opposite is true.

More likely, the moves were corporate get-even time. Amazon and B&N on-upped Apple by adding features that make their apps more appealing and in an area, periodical subscriptions, that Apple is targeting.

Corporate executives don’t like being pushed around. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple’s now-failed 30% scheme has both Amazon and B&N putting more staff and money into their iOS apps.They’ll make up for the Apple-created hassle by offering other benefits to tilt things in their favor. It’s called competition.

Rohan Bhade

With iOS 5, we’ll have an option integrated right into the system (Newsstand) so all that’s needed is patience.


I wonder how these will compare to Zinio, which is my current choice.

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