Newsstand Sucks – A Few Suggestions to Improve It

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Newsstand sucks. Ever since it launched I’ve hardly ever heard a nice thing said about it. The vast majority of users seem to want nothing more than to hide the icon for it and forget it exists.

The thing is, I think the concept of Newsstand is a good one – it has just been very poorly executed by Apple so far. The idea of having a special area for all your favorite iPad newspaper and magazine titles, and a single easy place to find all those titles, is a good one. Here are my quick suggestions for how to improve it:

— Make it part of iBooks. We already have an Apple eBook reader and eBook store app – why not use it to house iPad newspapers and magazines as well, just like many brick and mortar bookstores do? Create a dedicated section of iBooks for newspaper and magazine titles. We already have an area for our PDF collections – it seems easy enough to add an area for Newsstand.

— Make a dedicated area for iPad newspapers and magazines in the iBookstore too – to make it much easier to find these titles. Have a clear indication to show whether titles support Newsstand (and automatic background content refreshing) or not.

— Don’t allow titles that do not properly support the automatic, background updating with new issues to be in Newsstand at all. Allowing titles like The Daily and others that fail to get their shit together on this into Newsstand just tarnishes the image of the whole concept. These titles wouldn’t be banned from the App Store, just banned from Newsstand until they prove they can do what is promised. Right now there are far too many titles allowed in that don’t come close to doing the automatic background updating that they’re supposed to.

That’s my quick Monday morning .02 on how Apple could get Newsstand to not suck. What do you all think? Love Newsstand? Hate it? Think any of these suggestions would help?

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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8 thoughts on “Newsstand Sucks – A Few Suggestions to Improve It”

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. Newsstand was a solution to a non-existent problem. If people want all their news/magazine apps in one place they could easily make a folder of their own.

    It wouldn’t bother me at all if it weren’t forced on us. They should at least make it optional like iBooks.

  2. Maybe it’s me, but I don’t get all the controversy regarding Newsstand. You have a dedicated spot to have your magazines and newspapers kept. I don’t think I’d want them in my iBooks app because it would get too cluttered. So I really understand what the problem is.

  3. Still loathe Newsstand. I have not found a single subscription that downloads in the background automatically. Conde Nast titles are the worst – you have to open the app, check to see if there’s a new issue, and then not do anything else during the long download. If you leave Newsstand for another app, the download stops completely and you have to restart it manually. Awful execution.

    I know people dislike iTunes, but that seems a pretty logical interface for magazines and newspapers. Wish they could incorporate that into Newsstand.

  4. I disagree. Newstand is easy to use, navigate, download mags, and is easy to get to. I don’t see how sticking it in another app has any improvement at all. Hiding it away in ibooks or itunes would mean more key strokes and potentially being “out of sight, out of mind”. Leave it alone!

  5. I wish Newsstand should be able to display Magazines that you subscribe to on paper. Publishers should let you create an account through Newsstand so you can read on iPad.

  6. Leave the newsstand alone! I love recieving my magazines through the platform, especially magazines that are specifically formatted for the iPad, not PDF scanned copies. The iPad is a completely different experience, built by designers from the ground up just for the iPad, so print and iPad subscriptions should be separated… If publishers offer you free access because you have a print subscription, that that’s a wonderful gift, and shouldn’t be automatically expected for every single publication. What the newsstand Really needs is more publishers creating magazines with the iPad format in mind, redesigned, re organized, to take full advantage of the the amazing platform.

    Placing the newsstand in iBooks, or the iBookstore or within iTunes is not a great idea in my opinion. Not everything is Barnes and Noble, everything doesn’t have to be smashed into one place. A newsstand and a bookstore is a completely different experience housing completely different aspects of journalism and fiction/nonfiction.

  7. I don’t like it. I really only read the Economist and since they moved to the newsstand, I don’t read that anymore. It is just too much of a bother for my lazy fingers. I miss having the mag on my main screen.

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