Many Canadians were delighted to discover that in addition to new device launches, Android users can now purchase magazines and movies through the Play Store.
But initial enthusiasm led to disappointment as it was revealed existing print subscribers have no way of obtaining current issues without paying a second time.
When Apple introduced its Newstand service in iOS 5, it allowed publishers to link up their print subscriber databases; if you already received Wired or the New Yorker in the mail, for example, you’d be able to download the current issue without charge.
It doesn’t seem like Google is planning to add the feature to Magazines; the issue has been present since the service launched in June at Google I/O. Canadians are just discovering it now, but Google is clearly aware of it. The company even point out the limitation on its support page:
Existing print subscribers. If you are already own a print subscription, you are currently not eligible for a free or discounted digital magazine subscription through Google Play.
Existing digital subscribers. If you own a digital subscription that was purchased outside of Google Play, you will not be able to access the digital subscription from the Google Play Magazines app.
At this point, it’s unclear how this oversight will affect initial sales of Google Play Magazines in Canada. Would you put off buying a magazine you already have a print subscription to, or would you rather cancel it in exchange for a Google Play subscription?