Sunday, July 25, 2010

PressReader: the Holy Grail of newspaper apps

How do you do it, PressReader?

What would you say if I told you that you could subscribe to the full daily content from over 1,500 newspapers from 90 countries in 47 languages for just $30 a month?

Yes way! I have found the unicorn.

Believe it, Ripley, it's true.

How PressReader enables your addiction

PressReader lets you download a good chunk of the world's newspapers onto your iPad or iPhone in their original form - ads, classifieds, and all - for a monthly subscription fee that's less than what I was paying for the Globe and Mail and Sunday New York Times by themselves.

Like a drug dealer, the app gets you addicted by offering you seven free newspaper downloads. Just try to stop at seven, newspaper addict!

The newspapers are organized by country. Pick a country, any country, and prepare to be amazed by the selection. I tried "UK" first and found a newspaper for every man, woman, child, fish and chips order, and dead parrot in Britain.

This is just the first page of choices - if you want more, just keep on scrolling, Shakespeare.

With reckless abandon, I raced to view the US and Canada sections; again, most big-city newspapers are present and accounted for, including EVERY edition of the Globe and Mail (though Canadians know that every edition is the Toronto edition - snap!).

I downloaded my first three free papers - the Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg Sun, and Washington Post - two shout-outs to my local peeps and one to Tom Shales, my favorite TV critic and newspaper writer.

The newspapers downloaded into the "My Library" section of the iPad app in about 30 seconds:

But the real revelation is seeing what these newspapers look like in digitized format: sparkling, crisp, and robust - like all of my favorite beers and precious few of my ex-girlfriends. Huh-huh, huh-huh.

Here's the Mad Men article from yesterday's Entertainment section. Who cares about the article - Don Draper, blah, blah - how about that Cirque du Soleil ad reaching out and grabbing you by the throat?

Once you go extra crispy, it's hard to go back.

Subscribing to PressReader

The app is free to download on your iPad or iPhone, though the iPad's larger screen is far superior for newspaper reading than the iPhone's.

After your seven, free newspaper downloads, you just go to the PressDisplay website and click on "sign in" at the top of the screen to subscribe.
  • A free subscription gets you access to the front page and two articles from every issue, which you can read and store for up to 14 days.
  • A $30/month subscription gives you unlimited access to every newspaper and 14 days of back issues.
  • An unlimited corporate subscription for $99.95/month gets you all of that and a free iPad.
The only downside

The only complaint I can lodge at this kick-ass app is that it's missing the New York Times and the Boston Globe (same owner, both) and the Times of London.

The New York Times' Editor's Choice app, free on the iPad, kind of makes up for it, and the sad truth about the Boston Globe is that it will likely get rolled into the New York Times at some point in the near future.

The Times of London has its own iPad app, but it charges $17 a month for it; it never gets updated during the day and then rips you off of the Sunday Times for your pleasure. Booo.

I have no idea how the financial model works for the newspapers involved in PressReader - maybe Winnipeg Free Press Deputy Editor John White will tell me!

But from a newspaper addict's perspective - with a rebel yell - I say, "Mo! Mo! Mo!"


  1. UK Times is paywalled - Murdoch's big experiment to see if people will pay for a run-of-the-mill paper online.

  2. Right - seems unlikely. It only works for the Wall Street Journal because "work" pays for it.

  3. Wow! That app sounds amazing! I think this app is the way to go for newspapers. If they let developers have access to their content for a percentage of the profits, then maybe they'll start making money again. I've found that in the last few months I've been reading "print" newspapers less often than ever.

  4. a) interesting post Kenton... but you never answered if newspapers get a cut of that $30/month charge? i would imagine the papers are in the loop if there electronic editions are available, or else how would the app get them?

    b) Jennifer... a lot of newspapers are still making profits, don't kid yourself.

  5. I have no idea if they get a cut of the profit.

    I'm hoping John White will weigh in, so we all find out!

    There may be newspapers that are still profitable, but that's cold comfort to the Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the hundreds of others that have declared bankruptcy.

    7-Eleven, I noticed, cut their magazine racks in half last week - the march away from print continues...


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