A couple of related stories came up this week, and have got me thinking about magazines. I currently read Newsweek on my Kindle, and I noticed an article at the New York Times about how Newsweek is planning a makeover to concentrate more on opinion and less on hard news, and is hoping to attract a smaller, but more affluent, audience. I’m wondering how any of the changes described in the article will affect the Kindle version. They mention that they’re looking to raise the subscription price, but I don’t know if they’d do that on the Kindle version or just the paper version. I’m currently paying $1.50 per month, which is pretty cheap, but has got to be largely profit for them (no printing or mailing costs). They mention an increasing emphasis on photography, which won’t really translate to the Kindle, nor will any changes in layout. Hopefully, the articles will continue to be worth reading. I’m a little worried about the idea that they might go too far into the realm of opinion; I’m usually not that interested in reading other people’s political opinions. Right now, for instance, I skip anything in Newsweek with George Will’s name on it, or Anna Quindlen’s. It’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing with either of them; I’m just not that interested.
There’s a passing mention in the NYT article that Newsweek will be getting a little closer in tone to magazines like The New Yorker. By a bit of coincidence, The New Yorker has just become available on the Kindle. It’s $3 a month, twice the cost of Newsweek. The description mentions that it will “usually” include all articles, fiction, and poetry from the magazine, but will only include a “selection” of cartoons, not all of them. I really think the cartoons could translate week to the Kindle, so I’m not sure why they wouldn’t include them all. They’re all just single-panel black and white illustrations, generally without any fancy grey tones or anything like that. I’m tempted to subscribe, regardless, except that I know I’ll fall behind in reading it pretty quickly. Maybe if Newsweek drops off in value for me, I’ll switch to The New Yorker.
Meanwhile, The Economist is still not available for the Kindle.