U.S. Magazine Flatrate Next Issue Launches

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 4, 2012
Updated • Dec 11, 2012

Music and movie flatrates are starting to become a common service on today's Internet. All share a system that provide access to a large database of titles for a flat monthly fee. And while they are already pretty good, especially in the music sector, there is still room for improvement, as there is not a single service available that is not missing one or the other artist.

If things work that well in those sectors, why not move on to other niches. That's probably the core reason why the Next Issue service launched in first place. Like most services of its kind, it is showing great promise and facing issues at the same time.

Next Issue

The magazine flatrate is currently offered in two flavors. First as unlimited basic, a package that is providing access to magazines for $9.99 per month that is covering the bulk of the magazines available, and then unlimited premium which costs $5 more per month, adding a handful of magazines to the subscription. Which magazines are included?

  • Unlimited Basic: All You, Allure, Better Homes and Gardens, Car and Driver, Coastal Living, Condé Nast Traveler, Cooking Light, Elle, Esquire, Essence, Fitness, Fortune, Glamour, Gold, Health, InStyle, Money, Parents, People en Español,People Style Watch, Popular Mechanics,Real Simple, SI for Kids, Southern Living,Sunset,This Old House,Vanity Fair
  • Unlimited Premium: Entertainment Weekly,People,Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, Time

A total of 32 magazines, with the promise to raise the magazine count to 75 until the end of the year.  The price is right, especially if you consider that a single issue in the Next Issue online shop can set you back as much as $4.99. If you read at least three issues per month, you could already be even expense-wise.

Even better, back issues are included in the subscription but only from 1. January 2012 on.


So far so good,  now on to the issues.

  • The magazines can only be read in an app, that is currently only available for Android tablets running at least Honeycomb. This excludes the Kindle Fire, the Nook, and Apple's Ipad, as well as e-readers running other operating systems.
  • No combination of print and digital deals available, and no custom subscription plans either.
  • Next Issue is currently only available in the U.S.
  • Magazines cannot be downloaded, which means that you will lose access the moment your subscription runs out.

By far the biggest limitation right now is the limit to Android Honeycomb+ tablets, and the exclusion of other tablets. An iOS version seems to be in the making though, but a release date at the time of writing is not known.

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Closing Words

A magazine flatrate makes sense, especially if the monthly subscription price is right. This could be a revenue model to go forward with, considering that this adds another - legal - offer to the tablet that will certainly appeal to a tech savvy crowd. Some will have issues with the way the magazines are distributed to the user, as it means less control for the user, and more for the publisher.  While it is possible to download magazines for offline access, it is not clear right now if access remains once the subscription runs out.

I personally think that this is another step that magazine publishers make to enter the digital age. The model needs some refining, but that will sort itself out in the coming years.

What's your take on this? Would you subscribe to a magazine flatrate?


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  1. Ross Presser said on April 5, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I might subscribe, if they actually included at least one magazine that looked interesting. Bleaagh. If I were trapped in a doctor’s office with 30 people ahead of me and the only magazines available were titles from the list you gave, I’d chew my own toenails instead.

    Well, I might skim through The New Yorker. But none of the others.

    1. Jim said on April 5, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      Have to agree. That is a pretty lame list. There isn’t a decent car magazine in the list. Pffft.

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