I tried using the Newsstand app on iOS 5 last week. I purchased one issue of a Mac centric magazine. It was a disgusting mess that quickly reminded me why I prefer Instapaper, Zite and my RSS feeds over reading on glossy paper. The Newsstand "magazine" was slow to render and was 50% ads. By slow to render, I mean that after a page turn, there are several seconds where the facing pages are too blurry to read. Eventually they pop into focus as if I had just uncrossed my eyes.
The ads. Oh the ever loving ads. It was overwhelming. Every other facing page was an ad. Ads were also interspersed with the content. Now, in a technology magazine, ads can be informative, especially in a Mac magazine. It's often the best way to keep on top of what software is up and coming in a commercial sense. But there is a limit. Did I mention that the ads repeated?
It appeared that the publisher took almost no effort to reformat their periodical for the new reading mode. It looked and felt like a PDF with hyperlinks. Text was too small and required zooming to read accurately. The images were low quality and there was no multimedia present. I spent maybe five minutes trying to read this months subscription. I'm not sure if I'll dedicate any time to the next installment. In this case, I think Apple needs to be a bit more selective about the content they want to display in their app.