Over the last few years, digital books have taken off — with publishers hoping the next big thing will be digital newspaper and magazine sales.You can already grab subscriptions to some content using an eBook app like the Kobo Reader and Kindle apps for iOS or Android, and Apple offers subscriptions to iPad-specific magazine apps such as WIRED and Project.
But according to the Wall Street Journal, Google is hoping to create a more consistent experience for users — and take a cut of the revenue, by working with publishers to create a “digital newsstand” where you could purchase or subscribe to newspapers and magazines on an Android device.
Google has reportedly been in talks with a number of major publishers including Time Inc, Condé Nast, and Hearst. Google may offer publishers better terms than Apple currently does.
It’s not entirely clear at the moment if Google plans to offer a single app for reading newspapers and magazines, or just a marketplace for publishers to sell their goods. While many periodicals offer much of the good stuff for free on web sites which you can access from any computer or mobile device, it’s a lot easier to view content on a phone or tablet if it’s properly formatted for the page. But I’m still not 100% convinced that consumers will be willing to pay for digital periodicals the way they have for books, music, and movies when there’s so much information available for free online.