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Mobile App Review: Magazine Apps
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Mobile App Review: Magazine Apps - Executive Leadership Articles

Mobile App Review: Magazine Apps

Executive Leadership Articles

Mobile App Review: Magazine Apps

Magazines Are Great

They are audience-specific, topic-specific, and periodical, which means they have their finger right on the pulse of whatever’s important to their readers, they use all the good insider language, they understand all the relevant cultural references and in-jokes, and they come to you with whatever’s currently a hot topic. Whether your thing is aquarium fish, skateboarding, economic theory, network security, military technology, or scrapbooking, there’s a magazine out there for you.

In this day of mobile content, we can carry multiple current magazines and even multiple past issues right in our pockets, a huge blessing for those of us who need our reading on the go and on demand. Yet like other forms of mass media content delivery, the dominant model has yet to emerge, so there are still several different ways to receive and consume your magazines. Here’s a look at the leaders in the space, with some explanation of what sets each apart from the others.

For the purpose of this review, we won’t comment on the pricing of individual subscriptions, since prices fluctuates very frequently. If a subscription is more than you’re willing to pay, a little bit of research can often get you a better deal, either on a different platform or from a different retailer.

Google Play Newsstand (Android and iOS)

Google Play Newsstand is a shelf containing your digital magazine content. It has the benefit of being the primary portal for magazine purchases (many of them by the issue or as subscriptions) on the Android platform. We like the by-the-issue option, as it feels like the digital version of picking up a few current issues of several publications to read on the plane or over a long holiday weekend without taking up all that space in your bag. The app also presents a lot of the free, aggregated topical content you see in the web version of Google News, which can be useful for keeping up with those online-only content providers like Vox, the HuffPost, and Deadline. GPN also has a web interface for those who like to read from their laptops or desktops.

Magzter (Android and iOS)

Like Google Play Newsstand, Magzter sells subscriptions for digital magazines, one issue at a time or as subscriptions. It has a web interface and it aggregates interesting free content from around the web in a “trending articles section.” Where the app differs is in its Magzter Gold subscription, which is regularly $99.99 per year but as of this writing is available for $49.99. The Gold subscription gives you unlimited access to 4000 of the service’s magazines. It will also aggregate articles from within the paid content about subjects of interest to you, kind of like Google News, but with aggregated content behind paywalls too. Gold subscriptions are also available in one-month, three-month, and six-month increments and are shareable with four family members. A discounted ($4.99 per month) Lite subscription gives you unlimited reading of up to five magazines. However, Magzter big drawback is that many of the higher-profile titles aren’t covered by the Gold membership. To read Entertainment Weekly, People Weekly, Time, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated, or Wired, for example, you still have to purchase subscriptions for each.

Texture (Android and iOS)

Formerly Next Issue, Texture is similar to Magzter, but with a much smaller catalog of more than 200 titles. While the offerings make it unlikely you’ll be able to take a really deep dive into any topic or about some little-known, esoteric topic, its paid subscription ($9.99 per month) offers unlimited reading for all its titles, which include those mainstream publications mentioned above. Surprisingly, we discovered recently that if you cancel your paid subscription, the magazines you starred as favorites during the time of your membership are still downloadable and readable, which means if you let them pile up for a very long time, you can read all those back issues you missed even while no longer paying for an account. One of the greatest drawbacks of the software-as-service and content-as-service models is that you don’t actually own anything after you’ve paid for it, but Texture seems to be a rare exception. The interface is great, especially with those magazines who optimize content for mobile reading, enhancing the reading experience and taking advantage of things print magazines can’t offer. You don’t get nearly as wide a selection as with Magzter, but you do get more of the stuff you see in the magazine section at the drugstore, high-profile, mainstream titles.

Try Them for Free

A free trial for Google Play Newsstand wouldn’t make sense, since it does what it does for free anyway, but both Magzter and Texture offer free trials (at the time of this writing, a month free for Magzter Gold and a week free for Texture) with one-month autorenewing subscriptions kicking in upon the trials’ completion ($9.99 for the monthly rate for both), so it’s completely worth it to explore both, perhaps at the same time. Magzter’s breadth is impressive, and the truth is that much of the good content from premium titles is avaiable for free on the web anyway, so if your tastes lean toward the edges, it will likely be a better choice. Texture’s wants you if you seek to be up on what everyone else is reading and discussing. It’s counting on the hefty reputations of its big-name titles to keep you locked in, and that’s tough to resist.


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Mobile App Review: Magazine Apps - Executive Leadership Articles

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