News Corp is reportedly joining with Time, Conde Nast, Hearst and Meredith in a publishers’ consortium.

The consortium intends to build digital newsstands with a view to publishing on e-readers and tablet computers. It is speculated the publishers are considering development of their own platform. Amazon’s popular Kindle platform takes 70% of revenues and holds most of the reader data from publishers.

The news follows Conde Nast developing an iPhone edition of GQ and a digital Wired, as well as Time demonstrating a digital edition of Sports Illustrated.

 It is expected the consortium will be led by Time Inc vice president John Squires while it looks for a permanent CEO. Industry commentators are expecting an announcement from the group of five tomorrow.

The reports come as Sir Rupert Murdoch hit out against publishers accepting bailouts.

The prospect of the US government becoming directly involved in commercial journalism ought to be chilling for anyone who cares about freedom of speech, said Murdoch. The most damning problem with government help is… it props up those who are producing things that customers do not want. In other words, it subsidises the failures and penalises the successes.