Amazon has announced that they will be discontinuing all existing Newsstand subscriptions in September. The company has just stopped new subscriptions for print and digital editions of magazines earlier this week. There is no way for customers to take out new subscriptions anymore on any of their favourite publications. Amazon has told publishers that they should gravitate towards Kindle Unlimited, but so far, there are hardly any magazines on that platform.
Kindle Unlimited is the avenue that Amazon wants digital editions of magazines to take. This might be an easy sell for independent magazines that only have one magazine product, but with major publishers, that oversee dozens or even hundreds of magazines, this might be a hard sell. Right now, publishers generate their lion’s share of Newsstand revenue whenever a subscription is taken out after Amazon takes its cut. Kindle Unlimited is a different beast, publishers do not make money right away, but they get money from a pool of money that fluctuates every month, so publishers will generate less revenue.
I think most publishers that have at least 5-100 magazines will bypass Kindle Unlimited and continue to sell subscriptions directly from their websites and their apps for Android and iOS. This is will be a serious blow to Kindle users. When you take out a subscription on the Newsstand it is automatically sent to your Kindle in a Kindle-friendly format. All of the CSS is stripped away and magazines read like ebooks, which are easier to read than a replica PDF file. Since Newsstand is being discontinued, existing Kindle users won’t be able to read magazines anymore in an easy-to-read format. Instead, you will have to stare at your smartphone or tablet for hours every single day, unless you invest in an E INK Android tablet like Onyx Boox, where you can download publishers’ apps from Google Play.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.