Amazon Publishing for Periodicals is going to be closing in September 2023. Print and digital editions for magazines and newspapers is going to be shuttered and everything is going to be gravitated to Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited. What sucks about this move, is you will no longer be able to buy print editions of magazines anymore through Amazon and everything is going to be digital.
In an email to publishers, Amazon stated. “As part of our annual operating planning review process, we always look at each of our businesses and what we believe we should change. Following an assessment of our magazine and newspaper subscription offerings via Newsstand, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue the individual subscription programs for both print and Kindle, which also includes Kindle single issues. We don’t take these decisions lightly. We are winding down this program in a phased manner and will work with you throughout the wind down process to help ensure the best experience possible for our mutual customers.”
The imminent shutdown of magazines will be a blow to their earnings. Earnings from Amazon subscriptions provide a varying and sometimes significant portion of the revenue that publications require to stay in business. If you don’t already know, genre magazines are subscription-driven, meaning that subscriptions make up the bulk of their income. Some people think advertising is a major source, but it actually represents a tiny fraction. Advertising tends to be a leading source of revenue for glossy magazines, so it’s easy to see where they could get that impression.
It turns out that some (not all) publishers are being offered an opportunity to offer subscriptions in Kindle Unlimited Magazines. If you are already familiar with Kindle Unlimited from the author side, this version is a little different. Unlike books in Kindle Unimitated, magazines will not be required to be exclusive to Amazon and instead of being paid by pages read, you are paid based on calculations around “qualified borrows” or basically, active subscribers. Readers with a Kindle Unlimited subscription can subscribe to magazines in the program. Publishers who have been invited will be provided an estimate for their annual income and a contract.
I subscribe to a few magazines on Amazon, such as the Economist and the New York Times Kindle Edition. The main reason is cost, its actually more affordable to buy the print or digital edition on Amazon, but there is also the ability to do so much more. I like the dashboard that breaks down my subscriptions, tells me how many issues are remaining and gives the ability to cancel or add another payment method. I also like when reading magazines on the Kindle, is that it is optimized for the Kindle. It will strip away all of the CSS and all of the pictures and break it down to pure text, which makes reading all of the content easier.
Will all the magazines and newspapers I subscribe to make the transition to Kindle Unlimited or Prime Reading, it is doubtful. I might have to bypass Amazon altogether and subscribe directly on their websites, however I will have to go with the print editions, since their digital editions only work on their app, which is OK, but nothing beats reading them on an E INK screen.
What I don’t like about Amazon sunsetting magazines and newspapers is that Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited are not available in all countries. Someone who subscribes to a print or digital edition of a magazine right now, might not live in a supported country where KU is even an option.
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.