May 17, 2011
Some say that the internet is killing newspapers, but I disagree â€“ it’s changing them. Adaptation is essential for survival and the PressReader app is a great step towards just that, turning your Android-powered device into a perfect digital recreation of more than 1700 newspapers from around the world.
PressReader is a paper shop in your pocket, giving you instant access to huge swathes of papers from around the world. You start off with a 7 issue free trial, and after that each issue will cost you around 99 cents. Or, if you’re a more avid reader, you can set up a monthly fee subscription at pressdisplay.com.
The app itself is well designed and easy to use, with a tab for your library, a tab for the store and a tab for settings. The newspapers are presented in exactly the same format as they are on the news stand. You flip through the pages with a sideways swipe and zoom with pinches and double taps. Pushing your phone’s menu button brings up a table of contents, with quick links to the different sections of the paper.
If you tap on the headline of a story, the app brings it up in a full page format, allowing you to read at your leisure. It’s a wonderfully well executed piece of kit and makes browsing through the paper a pleasant and simple task.
You can set up subscriptions that deliver new editions of the selected paper directly to your phone, and because the papers are downloads, you’re free to browse them offline at your leisure. There’s even an option to have the app read a story back to you, which isn’t perfect, but it’s good that it’s there.
There are a few niggles, as there are with any app. Clickable adverts would be nice â€“ at the moment, because these are reproductions of the actual, physical paper, the ads are just text. Also, the pricing of subscriptions might be a little too steep for some, although in comparison with the real papers, it’s not really that expensive at all.
PressReader is a great idea, well implemented and with plenty of scope for growth. Whilst the pricing mat put some off, for avid newspaper readers, this is a great step towards an enjoyable, usable, digital alternative.