July 24, 2015 Last Updated 12:07 pm

UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s launches its own digital newsstand for magazines

Grocer, founded in 1869, now offers PDF replica editions of ‘over 1,000 magazines’ from the UK, as well as from the US, Canada, Australia and Asia

The UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has launched its own digital newsstand, with iOS and Android apps available, as well as the ability to buy on its Sainsbury’s Entertainment on Demand website.

SainsburysMagazines“Reading magazines is something of a national pastime, which is why Sainsbury’s Entertainment on Demand has launched a new digital magazine service – giving customers access to a library of around 1,000 titles online,” the company said in a statement.

Sainsbury’s own branded magazine is available in an app inside the App Store, Sainsbury’s Magazine, available under the Exact Editions developer account. It might be that Sainsbury’s new digital newsstand is powered by Exact Editions, as well. It turns out that this is not the case, the digital newsstand is being powered by MagazineCloner/Pocketmags.

Sainsbury’s is the third largest chain of supermarkets in the UK, founded in 1869 by John James Sainsbury. Sainsbury’s entertainment website features movies, music and eBooks, before now adding magazines. (A US visitor to with website trying to enter the movie portion will bump up against a warning stating that the store is not available for them.)

Sainsburymags-iPhoneThe company has put a huge emphasis on digital technology, recently announcing that the company would create “480 specialist jobs in London and Coventry, strengthening its in-house digital and technology capabilities as customers seek more convenient and intuitive ways to shop using new technology.”

“These new digital experts will run and improve Sainsbury’s existing digital platforms for customers, such as the website and mobile shopping apps. They will also develop test and launch new products in a new ‘Digital Lab’ opening in the summer – giving developers, digital designers, product owners, engineers and testers a modern space to work and test new ways of shopping,” the company said.

“We’re now firmly on the map as a career destination for digital and technology specialists,” Director of Digital and Technology at Sainsbury’s, Jon Rudoe, said. “Retail is a vibrant sector for innovation and this team is key to keeping our fast-paced business running. We’re structuring and equipping entrepreneurial teams to improve the digital experience and develop products that will help make our customers’ lives easier.”

The commitment to digital is great to see from a legacy retailer, though like many other digital newsstands, Sainsbury’s new effort appears to be just a storeroom for PDFs and therefore no different from dozens of other PDF stores. The new newsstand offers previews of issues which appear to be lo-res**, so it will be interesting to see if even those readers satisfied with replica editions find they like the service, and Sainsbury’s finds they can drive any meaningful sales from their new digital magazine effort.

** A representative from MagazineCloner tells TNm these lo-res previews will be replaced in the future.

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