French Offer All-you-can-read Magazine Downloads

A French magazine distributor has introduced an all-you-can-read subscription offer, touting it as a greener way to buy glossy magazines.

For a monthly fee of ¿17.90 (US$28.20) readers can download the latest issues of around 400 French magazines, including top sellers such as Glamour, Public and Playboy, and technology titles such as Digital World. There are also more obscure titles, including magazines for stamp collectors, bonsai growers and clockmakers.

There's no limit on how many different magazines subscribers can download, although they can only download two copies of any given issue. To download the magazines, subscribers must install an application called Delivery Reader, which is only available for PCs running Windows.

Newstand chain Relay runs the service, which is also offered through the sites of Alapage.com, an online book and music store owned by France T¿l¿com; mail-order catalog Les 3 Suisses; and music store VirginMega.fr.

Relay has offered downloadable subscriptions to individual magazines for some time, but this is its first experiment with a flat-rate, all-you-can-read payment model. Zinio, a U.S. company selling magazine downloads, offers only individual magazine subscriptions.

Encouraging magazine subscribers to switch to downloads will reduce the consumption of wood, water and energy, generating less waste and pollution than paper magazines, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which is helping promote the service.

For each subscription sold, WWF receives a donation ¿1 a month. WWF says it will use the money to protect forests in New Caledonia, a French island territory in the southwest Pacific. Those forests are not at risk of transformation into newsprint: the greatest threats there are urbanization and cattle farming, according to WWF.

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