Magazines have embraced the iPad but generally dissed the Google Android OS. Google wants to change that will the opening of Magazines on Google Play. With scores of titles across many of the major publishing houses on tap for this launch, the section lets the user buy a magazine on the Web and view it on any Android device. The cloud-based approach gives this newsstand certain advantages over the Apple Newsstand, in that users should be able to pick up a magazine where they left off across devices.
The downside of course is that there aren’t many credible Android tablets on the market to appreciate the facsimile books at scale. From what we could tell in the early going, most of the titles are unenhanced facsimile editions of print that offer tap and pinch zooming and a reading mode that extracts texts. The design appears optimized for smartphones, which constitute almost all of the Android OS’s massive base. The catalog does include an “Interactive” icon on many titles that appears to designate editions that offer more than straight ports of print content.
Publishers were ready to participate. Bonnier is leveraging the new digital store’s pricing flexibility to offer 99-cent trials on some titles for a library of 35 they say will be available. Rodale too will be offering select recent issues of its books in Google Play for 99-cents. Hearst announced all 20 titles for the platform and Meredith says most of its portfolio will be here. Conde Nast’s Wired is here as is Newsweek, Entrepreneur, Game Informer, Forbes, Atlantic and Maxim. A number of titles were leveraging the 99-issue offer.