It's been a busy month in the world of e-publishing. First, Time Inc. inked a deal to bring magazine subscriptions to the iPad, with both Hearst and Conde Nast following suit. And now, a consortium of publishing powerhouses known as Next Issue Media is looking to expand its tablet-based readership to Android users, as well. Beginning tomorrow, people who bought a wireless-enabled Samsung Galaxy Tab from Verizon will be able to purchase single copies of, or monthly subscriptions to seven magazines from the so-called "Hulu of Magazines," which includes Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, Time Inc., and News Corp. Users already subscribing to print editions will receive free digital subscriptions, though they won't be able to purchase both print and digital combo packages (that's on the way). Publishers, meanwhile, will be able to set their own prices and, according to Next Issue CEO Morgan Guenther, will receive "at least" 70-percent of all transactions -- the same percentage that Apple offers. Under this new Android deal, however, all of Next Issue's members will be able to freely access their subscribers' credit card information and other personal data -- something that Apple has steadfastly denied them. Obviously, it's far too early to tell whether or not this deal will give publishers more leverage in their negotiations with Cupertino, as the service will only be available to a small slice of Android tablet users. But Guenther says his organization is planning on releasing more titles for more devices this fall, with at least 40 magazines due out by year's end, along with an app for HP's WebOS.
*Verizon has acquired AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.