Why can't I put all my newspapers and magazines in iOS 5's Newsstand? (reader mail)

The iOS 5 Newsstand in action. So, what's wrong with this picture?

Steven writes: Okay, so I can’t get rid of Newsstand. I’ll accept that. How come I can’t put my other newspapers in it? The L.A. Times, Huffington Post, etc. sit in their own folder, yet my New York Times app was automatically moved to Newsstand. Don’t get it. Makes for more steps, rather than fewer. Please explain.

Hi Steven! You’re not the first reader to complain about how Newsstand (the new iOS 5 feature that manages your news apps and downloads) and its seemingly willy-nilly attitude toward magazines and newspapers.

As you say, some iOS news apps—like, say, those of the New York Times, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Wired, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair—now live in the permanent Newsstand folder, and there’s no way to drag them out and put them elsewhere.

Other newspapers and magazines, though—including the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and TIME magazine—don’t place nice with Newsstand, and they’ll refuse to install themselves in the Newsstand icon even if you try dragging and dropping them.

That means that Newsstand isn’t quite the one-stop shop for digital publications that we’d been promised—or not yet, anyway.

Related: Why can’t I move Newsstand into a folder?

So, what’s the deal? Well, newspaper and magazine publishers must agree to Apple’s Newsstand terms (which include a healthy 30-percent share of their revenue), as well as modify their apps to support Newsstand itself.

Now, in some cases, it may simply be a matter of time before a given publication gets its act together and enables Newsstand support for its app. (For example, I can’t imagine it’ll be long before TIME, which was one of the first publications to serve up an iOS app, adds its app to the Newsstand.)

But as the editors at Poynter point out, publishers that are leery of Apple’s terms may decide to take a wait-and-see approach to Newsstand—and indeed, according to TechCrunch, The Economist has already passed on the Newsstand idea.

In other words, we may never see a time when all newspaper and magazine apps live in Newsstand—meaning our favorite news apps might always be scattered here and there on our iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches.

Now, there’s another scenario: perhaps Apple will relent and either a) allow users to pull news apps out of the Newsstand, or b) let us put non-Newsstand apps into the Newsstand.

Don’t hold your breath, though.