Save money or save trees?
December 10, 2011 6:13 PM   Subscribe

Magazine subscriptions on Kindle: Save money or save trees?

Growing up, my parents had a subscription to Reader's Digest and I loved to read it. I was at the hospital the other day and picked up an issue, read it cover to cover, and realized that I missed reading it.

It's available on Amazon at $10 for 10 issues/year. ($5 if I let the subscription auto-renew, but I'm not inclined to do that.) Or, I can get the Kindle version for $1.50 per issue, also 10 issues/year.

I can fit the Reader's Digest in my purse the same as my Kindle, so it's really a moot point on saving weight/room. Is it worth the extra $0.50 an issue to save the paper it's printed on? (i.e. am I actually saving paper? Do they just throw away print issues that don't sell before the next issue comes out?)

Also, does the Kindle version come with all the ads of the print version? I know I can get a 14-day free trial of the Kindle version, I'm just wondering if anyone knows.
posted by IndigoRain to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I subscribed to Reader's Digest on Kindle for awhile (stopped it when I realized I was getting too far behind with other things). There weren't any ads and all of the issues I received during my subscription--trial and paid time--are still available under "Archive" and on my device.
posted by fireoyster at 6:28 PM on December 10, 2011

I don't get Reader's Digest, but I do get the New Yorker on my kindle. The pros for me are that I don't have to worry about the magazine getting crinkled up or dirty from hanging out in my bag and I don't have them piling up in my apartment until I read them (or after I've read most of the issue but there's still that one article that I didn't read --and if I was more honest with myself I'm never going to read --that makes me feel too guilty to throw it in recycling).

The cons on my Kindle 3 is that there's no color photographs and it only archives the last 6 or 9 issues (although there is an option to "save this issue", which I believe will allow you to keep the issue indefinitely if you remember to use that function).
posted by kaybdc at 6:39 PM on December 10, 2011

My mom gifts us with a Reader's Digest subscription every year and its our classic bathroom reading material. That's the pro of a paper copy for me - always sitting next to the potty when necessary.
posted by stefnet at 7:01 PM on December 10, 2011

I don't believe any of the Kindle versions of magazines come with ads in them - I subscribe to 5 different publications, and none of them have any advertisements. All I get are articles and photographs. At less than $10/month for the whole collection, I consider that a bargain, especially since no trees are involved.
posted by Telpethoron at 7:42 PM on December 10, 2011

Don't have a Kindle, but I do have an iPad that I use almost every day.

I get the New Yorker, and I prefer the paper version, for the following reasons:
1. I *like* looking at the ads, because they're so out of my realm of experience. I didn't know I was the target market for an authentic European Beret, but I apparently am. Huh.
2. If you're clumsy like me and spill an entire Americano on your New Yorker (possibly while dreaming of at beret), you only trash that issue, and not potentially your Kindle or IPad. And said issue is drying out as we speak.
3. I commute home, at night, into a dangerousish neighborhood, on the train. Using said device just screams 'mug me!'. Unwilling to take that risk.
4. When done reading an issue, sometimes I give them to baristas at coffee shops. Or leave them out at bus stops for other commuters/travellers to read. I very rarely just trash or recycle an old issue.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:19 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was just browsing the Kindle Store, and was reading consumer reviews for the Kindle magazines, and one complaint many people had for many of them was that they seemed to be "abridged". Many articles that appeared in the paper form did not appear in the Kindle form. I didn't read reviews for Readers Digest though, so you may wish to look into that.
posted by hollyanderbody at 7:17 AM on December 11, 2011

Many articles that appeared in the paper form did not appear in the Kindle form. I didn't read reviews for Readers Digest though, so you may wish to look into that.

If this is true it is dishonest of them, since no abridgement is mentioned on the magazine's entry in the Kindle store.
posted by JHarris at 1:34 PM on December 11, 2011

Went and looked at the reviews in question. From my experience with the magazine, I have not noticed any missing content. The main complaints from the top two reviews on the site were: lack of cartoons (unlike what the reviews say they are there, they're just moved to the end of the issue), difficulty in navigating (that's been fixed somewhat since 2009 when the top review was written, thanks to a Kindle software update), and a single missing article that may well have been a one-time error.

If print edition articles are missing then that is indeed a big problem, but I don't think that one review is enough to go by.
posted by JHarris at 1:43 PM on December 11, 2011

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