PressReader: Newspaper Innovation

So its Sunday, you’re snuggled up on the couch reading the weekend paper with a cup of coffee. Oh the crisp paper, the smell of ink, and the convenience of having the news delivered to your door. What if your tradition was flipped upside down? What if you could care less about the smell of ink? Well, PressReader might just be the app for you!

PressReader is a way to view newspapers from all over the world right in the palm of your hand, on your iPad. There are thousands of publications and you don’t end up with stacks of papers lying around waiting to thrown away (recycled, we hope!). So read on as I answer all of your most pressing questions…


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Getting Started

Getting started with PressReader requires a little knowledge. First, you have two options for the acquisition of content in the app.

Newspaper Direct Inc, the company behind PressReader, has a pay as you go method for the newspapers at 99 cents a pop; or you can do the subscription base model. The subscription model is all you can eat at $29.95 a month. Choosing which plan is for you is solely based on your consumption, download the free app from the App Store and see whether it suits you.

I recommend that you download a 99 cent newspaper to try out the app before signing up for the subscription plan.

Features

The best, or should I really say my favorite, feature is offline reading. Once you download an edition of a newspaper, it is downloaded in full onto your device. This means that no internet connection is needed when you want to read on the subway, bus, plane, or wherever. Of course the flipside of this is that once you are done with an edition, you will want to delete it in order to keep as much free space as possible.

You have the choice to have new newspaper editions automatically delivered to your iPad.

While reading a paper, you will see these little blue highlights on the article title. These are great, just click them and voila, that article pops up in its entirety. You did not have to flip to the page or section. However, if you want to see related images that the article may contain, you must go to the article in the appropriate section in the digital paper.

Article Highlight

Article highlight.

If you are the social type, you will be happy to know that there are some cool sharing options alive and well in PressReader. You can share via Twitter, Facebook, and Email – plus you can save to Instapaper.

If you do not want to take the time to read an article, you can have the app’s comforting computer voice read it to you.

Article Options

Some article options.

Performance

Let’s just say that I was pleasantly surprised at how speedy PressReader actually was. In everyday use, PressReader did not show too many signs of slowdown when loading with multiple papers downloaded. However, turning pages inside the newspaper can be a mixed experience.

At some points it’s very smooth, while at others it’s kind of jerky and sticky. If you have the 2 page view pulled up, it can get really slow and jerky. If you try entering SmartFlow mode and you think it will be smoother, you may be disappointed. The worst thing about SmartFlow is how long it takes for the rest of the page to load.

Design & Interface

While PressReader may have a great variety of sources from all over the world, you may be surprised to see its rather dated design. There are a great number of apps that use skeuomorphic bookshelves, it’s starting to get pretty old and boring. However, something is different with PressReader. Its bookshelf is actually worse than I have seen in a very long time. It has a faux metal pattern that will put many design oriented consumers off.

As far as the page view goes, it’s pretty straightforward. The design is just like holding a newspaper in your hand, nothing particularly special.

PressReader Bookshelf

The PressReader bookshelf.

If you are a little bored of the standard newspaper page view, the developers behind PressReader added a special view. This view is called SmartFlow. SmartFlow is a special view that puts articles and pages in this continuous horizontal scrolling view. It puts the articles in an easier to read, more web-like, format. Other than the previously mentioned slow loading quirks, I really like the SmartFlow view and it might just become your favorite as well.

SmartFlow

The SmartFlow view.

PressReader vs Apple Newsstand

If you are looking at an app like PressReader, you may also have considered purchasing newspaper subscriptions via the Newssstand store. Here I’ll compare the two for you, starting with price.

For PressReader you can download a single newspaper for 99 cents or get the all you can eat $29.95 a month plan. As an example, we will use the New York Post. In PressReader, you can download the New York Post for either the 99 cent per issue or $29.95 per month for all newspapers around the world. In Newsstand for the New York Post the app will cost $1.99 and entitles you to 30 days of access, afterwards it’s $9.99 per month.

The New York Post comes out daily and at 99 cent per issue would cost around $30 if you buy it every day in PressReader, or you could pay $30 for the subscription plan. To further complicate this, in Newsstand the New York Post is $9.99 monthly. So for the New York Post it would be better to go with Newsstand.

However, the pricing all depends on which and how many newspapers you consume. Another big win for PressReader is the variety of newspapers from all over the world you would get access to for $30 a month. You would get all of the major publications and more! So if you read more than one newspaper, PressReader is the best option.

Newsstand Store

The Newsstand Store.

PressReader

The PressReader interface.

Conclusion

PressReader is definitely a mixed bag. It can be slow with page downloading and scrolling, but I do love the variety of newspapers from around the world.

If you consume more than one newspaper, it would be a wise decision to check PressReader out. While Newsstand can offer competition on some titles, it does not have nearly enough content to be taken as seriously.

Do you love PressReader? Have another app that you use? Feel free to let use know below, we love to hear from you!


Summary

PressReader is a great way to get full iPad access to your favorite newspapers and magazines!

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