The iTunes environment has been a boon for many news agencies starting official applications and Apple has been courting many news companies directly to start an autonomous magazine and newspaper subscription service. Not to be outdone, Google is expanding on its Google eBooks platform and soon will be offering newspaper and magazine subscriptions for Android devices.
Google Android is quickly commingle the most popular operating system on smart phones and tablet computers. The Google Android Market is the source for Android users to get new applications, but Newspapers and Magazines are relegated to be offered through third party companies apps such as Kobo and Barnes and Noble.
According to the Wall Street Journal Google is in talks with major publication companies such as Time Warner, Hearst, and Conde Nast to create a digital based subscription service for their online content. Google is even willing take less then 30% of each subscription sold, in order to give more then the industry average back directly to the publishers.
Apple tried to woo many publishers for its own version of the newsstand and has been failing to rope in any of the super popular companies in order to attract smaller publishers. Time Warner was one target that Apple had set its eyes on, but Time had problems with Apple’s 30% demand of profits. During the later half of 2010 Time Inc magazines appeared on the iPad such as Sports Illustrated and others, it was only available for purchase through Times specific apps and not on iTunes and App Store.
Although specifics at this point are vague the main way the new e-newsstand would function is it will would be a specific area on the Android Market where dedicated apps area would contain all of the programs news agencies make. This would allow publishers to control the stream of the content and prehapes make specific applications for each magazine they offer.
Inside Google, the e-newsstand initiative is being spearheaded by Stephanie Tilenius, its vice president of e-commerce, according to two people familiar with the matter.
“We’ve consistently said we’re talking with publishers about ways we can work together, including whether we can help them with technology for subscription services. We have nothing specific to announce at this time,” Google said in a statement.
We could really see this new service shining on some Tablets we saw at CES with Google Honeycomb as the operating system. We took a hands on look at the Motorola Xoom and the 3D Cover Flow system that it uses to switch between and load books. If Google were to make a deep system like this to browse and purchase subscription, it may look really great on the next gen of tablets.
In the end, this new initiative from Google may not may not materialize, since the news companies are notoriously fickle from entering the digital world to peddle their content. So far, no service has been tailored towards the needs and revenue sharing demands the large companies have been looking for. In conjunction with the rising popularity of Google based devices saturating the market place and the tremendous popularity the brand enjoys on the internet, publishing companies may have found a sound way to give their content digitally.
We will continue to follow this story as it develops.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.