Another Magazine Reader Who Won’t Use Newsstand

[responsive]newsstand[/responsive]Despite significant cost savings over print versions, one industry insider just won’t use the Newsstand app to read his magazines. And he’s not alone in his criticism of the platform.

“First, it’s too easy to forget about,” writes Kirk McElhearn in MacWorld. “With print magazines, I get them in the mail, then toss them on a coffee table or on a pile in my office. When I want something to read, I just grab an issue from one of those piles and read it. The fact is that I simply forget about magazines when they don’t come through my mail slot.”

McElhearn notes there is no comparable mail slot in the Newsstand, which he describes as “an app-that’s-really-a-folder, which houses multiple individual magazine apps.”

Add to that downloading issues, portability and frustrating digital navigation, and you have the perfect formula for reader discontent.

“I remember when Newsstand first became available, and I eagerly subscribed to Wired. But I found the navigation so confusing I eventually gave up: Sometimes you swipe, sometimes you scroll, sometimes there are bits of text hidden behind not-very-obvious buttons, and a lot of the time I had trouble telling the ads from the content,” McElhearn continues.

And he’s not alone. While our own reader survey showed a significant preference to reading magazines in print, other industry research backs up our findings.

“As Jon Lund has noted, only 12 percent of Wired’s subscriptions, and only 5 percent of The New Yorker’s, were digital in 2013. Many popular magazines—including People, Vanity Fair, and Popular Science—report similarly paltry numbers,” McElhearn writes, while conceding that those numbers may be slightly off due to readers who subscribe to both print and digital.

The bottom line for him is that, despite originally being solidly bullish on the iPad as a magazine platform, he’s just not feeling the love.

“The result of all these problems is that I’ve decided to turn off auto-renew for all of my digital-magazine subscriptions,” McElhearn notes. “I won’t be going back to digital until the publishers work out some of these kinks.”