Apple wants to "help" newspapers and magazines sell digital versions of their products on iPad, mostly by subscription, by offering a rich digital publishing environment with text plus video. 

Sounds like it could be a good deal for newspapers and magazines, but the devil is in the details.

First, Apple wants to own the subscribers info and data and not give this info to the individual newspapers and magazines for use in their management of subscription bundling, etc, based on readership demographics...This is NOT a good business ploy on the part of Apple...After all, others (such as Google) will be coming out with their own versions of "digital newsstands".

Secondly, Apple wants a 30% slice of the papers and mags earnings like it gets for music, games, etc...Way too much when you consider margin...This is also NOT a good deal offered by Apple.

Look to see Google make a better deal for a "digital newsstand" using it's own Android operating well as other software designers with their own eReaders and mobile devices.

This from Bloomberg News by 
Sarah Rabil, Adam Satariano and Peter Burrows:

Apple developing a digital newsstand for publishers that would let them sell magazines and newspapers to consumers for use on Apple devices, said two people familiar with the matter.

The newsstand, designed particularly for the iPad, would be similar to Apple’s iBook store for electronic books, said the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private. The newsstand would be separate from Apple’s App Store, where people can buy some publications now, they said.

Apple’s effort is aimed at luring more consumers to the iPad and helping publishers sell subscriptions, rather than single issues. The main hang-ups between Apple and publishers including Time Warner Inc., Conde Nast, Hearst Corp. and News Corp.are who controls data about users and how to split subscription revenue, the people said. Pricing for subscriptions also hasn’t been worked out.

The new storefront could be up and running within a couple of months, although the talks are ongoing and could fall apart. Apple may wait to unveil the initiative until they are ready to announce the next iPad, possibly in early 2011, one person said.

“These are serious discussions about subscriptions and advertising within newspaper and magazine applications,” said Roger Fidler, the program director for digital publishing at the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. “Publishers want to know who their customers are and their usage patterns while reading.”

Fidler, who has been an adviser to publishers during the negotiations, said he has no inside information about the deliberations because the publishers he works with are under non-disclosure agreements. 

Read more