US News & World Report For Kindle

US News & World Report is available for Kindle and Kindle DX for $1.99 a month.  In the last few years this magazine has transitioned from weekly to biweekly to monthly publication.

The US News was founded in 1933 by David Lawrence, former student of Woodrow Wilson at Princeton University.  Lawrence founded a separate magazine, World Report, in 1946, but later merged it with US News in 1948. The magazine covers topics such as: health, politics, technology, international affairs, education, business and more.  The latest articles focus on the BP oil spill and the issues surrounding it.  There are also articles about healthy behaviors and criticism of Obama’s policies.

The US News & World Report is considered more conservative than its counterparts, Time and Newsweek, and does not include entertainment, celebrity or sports news. This is a good cut and dry resource on current issues.

The magazine is well known for its rankings for colleges, hospitals, careers and most recently, high schools.  This is a great starting resource for checking the rankings when choosing graduate school programs as well.  However, students and parents shouldn’t rely solely on this list for a choosing a school if it isn’t right for the individual.  There is a lot of debate about the superficial nature of the data used to make the ranking decisions.

The US News & World Report also ranks the top hospitals in the nation.  In 2009, John Hopkins was at the top, followed by the Mayo Clinic and UCLA.  These choices shouldn’t be too surprising considering the top notch reputation of these hospitals.

One reviewer had an interesting comment about using backdoor conversions to include pictures on the Kindle edition of the magazine.  They currently subscribe to US News Online in PDF form.  They send it to Kindle’s PDF conversion tool that converts it with the pictures from the magazine included.  The question is, why can’t Amazon do this for the original Kindle version of the magazine?  Overall, the reviews were very mixed and I think if the graphics issue was corrected, a lot more people would subscribe to the Kindle edition of US News & World Report and other Kindle magazines.

Time Magazine for Kindle

TimeTIME Magazine is available on the Kindle for $2.99.  All magazine subscriptions include a 14 day trial so basically it gives you the option to try before you buy.  TIME is delivered wirelessly to your Kindle the same day the print version hits the newsstands.

TIME was founded on March 3, 1923 by Briton Hadden and Henry Luce, and is considered America’s first weekly news periodical. It was founded as a news magazine that formatted and summarized informative articles so that they can be read quickly by busy men.

“TIME was founded on the notion that a surplus of news existed which had to be licked into usable shape, felt no need to gather its own news until the 1930’s.” – The Story of an Experiment

“The double-jointed adjectives and inverted sentences of the early days of TIME were tricks that Hadden and Luce, both Greek scholars, learned from Homer, who was the author of The Illiad and The Odyssey.  The double-distilled result was hailed as a “new” style, and became TIME’S prose pattern.” – Posthumous Portrait

Also known as the International Magazine of Events, TIME covers a wide variety of subjects in each issue.  A couple of these subjects include politics and entertainment.  Each year, TIME prints a “Person of the Year” issue that has included controversial figures such as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.  The “Person of the Year” issue debuted in 1927 and was responsible for showcasing personalities that had momentous effects on major events in history.

The Kindle version includes most of the articles available in the print version of TIME, but does not include all of the images.  After reading the reviews, I concluded that the images were a drawback for the Kindle version.  As one of the reviewers mentioned, there are cases where the article text might refer to an image.  However, another reviewer liked not having the graphics distracting them away from what TIME is known for, their articles. So its all a matter of preference. As Kindle technology progresses, assuming the device will continue to thrive in sales, there will most likely be more image friendly versions of the magazine available.

Currently the TIME Magazine is owned by Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX)

Time Inc. Creating Their Own eReader?

According to a leaked internal document, Time Inc. may release their own eReader device.  Consumers would be able to buy subscriptions to Time publications (such as Time, Sports Illustrated, and People) in bundles that would be delivered to the device together.  Time’s plans also mention the strategy of forming a joint venture with other companies to share the new platform.

Besides the bundling of subscriptions, and a desire to create a “consumer-facing brand” for the gadget, it’s not really clear what the marketing strategy will be.  If Time tries to sell the device for super cheap, or even give it a way for free, they will need to rely on a surge of subscriptions due to the ease of “bundling.”  If the device is too expensive, people either won’t be convinced to switch to eInk or they will choose a more general device like the Kindle.

Speaking of which, Time magazine is already available on the Kindle.  Since eReaders are already available that offer magazine subscriptions, anything produced by Time will need to find a way to compete against Amazon.  A full color reader that completely mimicked a real magazine could be successful, but I’m not sure how they could keep the price of the device low enough.  Nobody will shell big bucks for something that is limited to only a handful of magazines.