Reader’s Digest signs on with iPad in-app subscriptions

Apple’s (s aapl) stable of periodicals available for in-app subscription got a little bigger with an updated release for Reader’s Digest magazine on Thursday. Reader’s Digest is now offering annual subscriptions for $14.99, or monthly subscriptions at $1.99 through in-app purchase.

The update also extends digital subscriptions to existing print subscribers, so that people don’t have to pay twice to enjoy the same content, regardless of where they choose to read. Hearst (which publishes Esquire and Popular Mechanics, among other titles) is the only major publisher so far that hasn’t extended digital subscriptions to existing print customers, but Reader’s Digest did note in an email to GigaOM that free access for print subscribers will only extend for six months. This could indicate a desire to get print subscribers away from paper and on to digital, which should prove a more cost-effective medium in the long run.

According to Dan Lagani, president of Reader’s Digest North America, the move to introduce digital subscriptions springs out of customer demand. “Readers who had purchased single issues of the Reader’s Digest iPad edition told us they wanted the ability to sign up for a subscription using their existing iTunes account,” Lagani said. He also anticipates that more Reader’s Digest titles will become available via in-app subscription in the future.

From a user perspective, I’m very glad that publishers have decided to go along with Apple’s revenue model for in-app subscriptions, which sees the Mac maker take a 30 percent cut of every transaction made through its iOS apps. I subscribe to four periodicals on the iPad, which is four more than I ever subscribed to in print. The upcoming Newsstand feature in iOS 5, which will collect all your subscriptions in one place and allow you to easily shop for more, should make the system even more convenient and appealing.

Anyone else like what Apple’s doing with subscriptions, or, conversely, have a problem with how they’re being handled?