Print magazines have been hit hard over the past few years by the rise of mobile devices. What has been bad news for paper manufacturers has been good news for magazine addicts with tablets and smartphones, however, thanks to the development of apps like Next Issue.
The developers of Next Issue describe it as the “Netflix of magazines.” That’s because—like the ubiquitous streaming service—it's based around a subscription package. Instead of delivering video to subscribers, though, Next Issue gives access to digital versions of popular print publications.
Next Issue is currently only available in the United States and Canada and offers two levels of subscription: Basic at $9.99 per month and Premium at $14.99. At press time the former includes unlimited access to at least 130 monthly titles ranging from Allrecipes to Yoga Journal and including such well-known publications as National Geographic, The Oprah Magazine, Popular Science and Wired. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a high-end mainstream North American monthly magazine that isn’t among Next Issue’s offerings.
The Premium subscription supplements Next Issue’s monthly selection with several weekly magazines such as Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, HELLO! and Entertainment Weekly. If you are a regular reader of several of these titles and you don’t already have a print subscription, the Premium plan can result in substantial savings over the cost of buying paper versions on a regular basis.
What might also make Next Issue appealing is the convenience of being able to carry around every title you own on a mobile device. Unlike Readr, a similar app that offers access on an iPad to numerous magazines, including titles out of the UK, Next Issue is cross-platform: there is a version of the mobile app for the iPad, iPhone and Windows and Android devices.
Once you have the app downloaded, it is easy to search for titles using a dropdown menu that gives a list of categories. Tapping on a title takes you to a page that shows the current issue and available back issues. Then it is just a matter of tapping on the familiar cloud symbol to download the issues you want available offline or tapping on an issue’s cover to read it directly from the cloud.
Once you have opened an issue, there are two ways to peruse its content. At the bottom of the Next Issue screen is a horizontal list of the magazine’s section headings. Tapping on any one of these takes you to your chosen article. Alternatively you can tap on a slider and bring up a coverflow representation of the magazine’s pages.
Next Issue normally offers a free 30-day trial to new subscribers but is advertising a special deal running from Black Friday to Cyber Monday that also includes 50% off the Unlimited Premium subscription for two additional months.
Gift subscriptions are also available, making Next Issue something you might want to consider adding to your holiday shopping list if you know an avid reader of top periodicals. If you are in Canada, you can purchase a 3, 6 or 12 month gift subscription at a discounted rate online. Gift subscriptions are also available in the U.S. but oddly the rates for the same periods are not shown as reduced on Next Issue’s American website.
Whether or not you prefer the printed page over a swipeable digital representation, there is no escaping the fact that mobile devices are changing the way we read magazines. Part of that can be put down to apps like Next Issue, which are making the move to mobile more appealing.