Over the past few years, the rise of electronic publishing has meant a significant decline in print media. Newspapers as well as magazines have felt the pinch as readers have looked to online options, including the online editions of many print titles themselves.
A number of publishers are fighting back with a unique strategy – make the full print edition including all illustrations, editorial content and even display ads available in electronic form. The problem for consumers is that purchasing a subscription to these online editions often cost more than a subscription to the original print version. And then there is the difficulty of managing several different electronic subscriptions.
But what if you could pay one subscription price and receive a whole stable of popular publications – with all of them available through one easy interface? Sounds like a winning proposition.
Texture is a unique service that provides access to scores of popular magazines all through one convenient application. You can have many of your favorite magazines at your fingertips any time of day and anywhere you go.
(UPDATE: This article has been updated to reflect the name change of Texture from Next Issue and the current 200+ titles updated from 140. You can currently use your Amazon Prime membership to lock in the Texture 200+ titles at $10/month)
Texture is available for use on many devices with touch-screens, including iPads, iPhones, Android tablets, and Windows 8 PCs. Your subscription also allows you to share the program with up to five devices. For a single monthly subscription fee you have access to over 200 magazines from a wide range of topics – including women’s fashion, sports, lifestyle, outdoor activities, cooking, travel and news. There are two tiers of service: for a monthly fee of $9.99 you receive monthly magazines such as Sports Illustrated, Cosmopolitan or Men’s Fitness, while for $14.99 the service includes weekly publications (People, Time, Bloomberg, etc.) as well.
When you first open the application, you’ll see the covers of all 200+ titles. You can then select as many as you wish as “favorites,” which makes it easier to find the magazines you are most interested in reading. Of course, you can at any time go back to the main list and add back those you’ve passed over, or add new titles as they become available.
From the main gallery you can tap on the cover illustration of the magazine you want to read, which opens a gallery of covers of not only the current issue, but previous issues dating back over one year. Tap on the download icon below the cover, and the download starts. Download times vary depending on the size of the magazine and the internet connection speed, but generally take only a couple minutes to complete. When a download is completed, the cover displays a small “x” in place of the download icon.
You can keep the issue(s) you’ve downloaded on your device for as long as you want. If you need storage space, you can also easily delete any downloaded issue from the device. Of course, you can always re-upload an issue at any time.
Most of the magazines on Texture also have features that are not available in the print versions. Full-screen video clips, interactive illustrations, and animated captions add quality content that the reader can’t find elsewhere. Viewing National Geographic on Next Issue is amazing – many articles open with animated photos, there are lots of videos with special content, and animated diagrams allow interaction via easy touch-screen controls. It’s a rich reading experience that makes an already well-designed magazine really come to life in a way that a print version simply cannot accomplish.
For those of us whose eyesight has seen better days, electronic versions of magazines offer another advantage – you can zoom in on the content on any touch-screen device. We asked several seniors to give Texture a try, and they were all pleased with the clarity of the graphics and the ability to zoom in on areas of a page when necessary.
We tested Texture on both an iPhone 6 as well as an iPad Air. Both displayed the graphics beautifully, but the experience on a tablet is much more immersive and easier to read. Some magazines do not display the full page all at once on a phone’s smaller screen – especially in horizontal orientation. However, the iPad’s larger screen allows for full-page viewing and a greater ability to zoom-in , allowing better readability for smaller text and details on complex illustrations.