- By: NewspaperDirectInc © 2009-2010
- Version: 2.02
- Platform: Universal (but the display is optimized for iPad or iPhone)
- Genre: News; News Reader
- Price: Free to Download; You get 7 free issues then you can pay as you go or subscribe in-app
- Recommended Age: 12+
- Rating: 4.75 stars!
Today instead of picking an educational book, game or children’s app I have, instead a treat for News-Junkies of any age.
When I first got my iPad in early December I downloaded the apps for every newspaper I could find. While many of them had fantastic GUIs, slick presentation, lots of interactive bells and whistles, I quickly realized some major drawbackss:
- Only the bigger newspapers can afford to create high-quality apps.
- These app editions are not complete. They have extra features like videos, but I could not see every section of my local papers, features I need like suburb-specific news, inserts, and the classifieds.
- Most of the apps are subsciption-based. To access all the content you need to pay each paper a monthly or annual fee.
But soon I stumbled onto an app, PressReader, that changed the way I interact with digital newspapers entirely.
This app gives you access to literally 1000’s of local and international complete PRINT newspapers, all available for offline reading.
I mean a grand total of 1780 papers from 94 countries in 48 languages! Most available in the iOS app for you to access at a tap.
I discovered this app before I started this blog, and was a bit put off by some of the user-comments (which have improved consideraly as the app has grown.) But having spent two months now with this app and having worked closely with their customer support, I can tell you this is a first rate, but I suspect somewhat misunderstood, product.
I want to clear some things up for you.
What You Need To Know before Using PressReader:
PressReader is a companion app. It is the (multi-OS) mobile service of the website pressdisplay.com. The subscription you buy in-app is a subscription to the actual website. That is a big bonus as many more papers are available on the site than in the app.
(This is not PressDispaly’s decision, the individual newspapers opt in or out of all the distribution services the parent company, NewspaperDirect Inc offers.)
PressReader is free to doanload and you get 7 free issues of your favorite newspapers in order to give it a test-drive.
After that you can opt for a pay-as-you-go plan, or buy a monthly or annual subscription that gives you unlimited access to all papers in their extensive database and includesa “deliver to your device’ service which prepares the papers of your choice in-app daily so you don’t have to waste time browsing through the intuitive-but-copious menus every day to find your faves.
Here is a Video Demo of the App on the iPad from PressDiaplay.com. By the way the video is out of date. It says the sharing feature (Twitter and Facebook plus Email and Print) are upcoming, but they are already live in the current version of PressReaader for iOS and they work perfectly for me so far.UPDATE 2/18: The link to the video I had up broke, I had to replace it with this somewhat older video, but it still shows you the best features of the appp, just note sharing is availble.
]If you already have a PressDisplay account all you have to do is open the PressReader App and log in to authorize your device (follow the prompts) and all your existing subscriptions and papers will be available to read on PressReader
PressReader has a ton of features and keeps adding more, but since it is a companion app, there is an assumption that you will be accessing your papers from your computer, not just your mobile device. Some features and papers are only available online, you need to know that before you sign-up.
Also iOS Apps are only one of many ways to access your PressDisplay subscriptions. They can send your content to every e-reader I have heard of from Kindle to BookNook and everything in between, and they have apps for just about every mobile device out there too including Blackberry and their latest app for Android.
The ads you see in the app are not PressDisplay ads. The app is commercial-free. Those ads you see while reading are from the newspapers proper. They are not hyperlinked to anything i.e. not bringing in any revenue for PressDiaplay.com if you read them.
PressReader delivers complete issues of newspapers, but does not have anything to do with the actual content, the paper’s layout, or how many of the advanced services that PresssReader interface allows for will be actually used by individual papers.
So if you find typos, poor grammar, or bad information you need to contact the newspaper itself.
You have to be able to separate the content provider from the app in order to fully appreciate it.
What PressReader Does:
While the papers are scanned copies, (well actually have no idea what technology they use, but they are identical to the print papers, I have done a side-by-side comparison.) PressDiaplay’s editors do have a host of functions that most of the English and French newspapers I have tried out use to their advantage.
And some features apply to all papers in any language, like the ability to pinch-to-zoom, tap to access thumbnails for easy navigation through the paper, and the best one, all newspapers are downloaded to your device and are quickly avaible for offline reading with no limitations except in the sharing functions.
To find which articles do utilize the many special features look for a headline or topic highlighted in blue.
If you see the blue it means the article can open in a nice neat text box. This textbox contains the complete article with pictures so you don’t have to skip around searching for part two on page 18 and has several great features. You can:
- Resize the text
- Export/Post the article to Twitter, Facebook, email and your printer (either text only or text plus graphics)
- Read-Aloud feature
You know the SAHGeekMom always look for an educational angle and this app has a great one.
Growing up in French Canada it was legally mandated and a logical priority of English schools to produce bilingual graduates. As early as 5th grade we started using the best tool to learn how a language is really spoken and written, we read local newspapers and periodicals.
Now today, after spending years in the US, my French is rusty, but I download France’s Le Monde and Montreal’s La Presse as often as time permits and read along with the audio. In 2 months my comprehension (which was pretty good) plus both my reading and writing (my weaknesses) have improved ten-fold.
Also my husband is legally blind, but he is a News junkie too. As a result I have spent hours and hours, listening to the bobble heads at CNN, HLN, CTV NewsNet, MSNBC and Fox repeate the same nonsense over and over and over all day, every day. Blech.
Now he can sit back, pull the paper as close to his face as possible, enlarge the text and have it read aloud to him.
As an accessibility-advocate (see About Me) I find this is a superlative feature and while it’s intent may have been to allow you to work or drive while hearing the news, it opens up a world of information to the visually imapred. Kudos!
PressDisplay offers multiple subscriptions options. But you cannot purchase any of them via iTunes. Instead the app redirects you to the pressdisplay.com site and requires a credit card,
If you choose the pay-as-you go option it’s pretty simple. Pick a paper from the menu and download it for a dollar.
While this is more expensive than having a local paper delivered daily, it is about the same as the newsstand price. And the truth is I don’t have time to read anything but the headlines (free online or via RSS feed) every day.
I like the idea of buying papers only on the days when I actually feel like reading them. I also like not having piles of old newspapers to recycle or having to run to the store on the days when all I want to do is enjoy a coffee and the morning edition.
I have always maintained that using only a few news-sources, especially in this age where you can find endless sites that will just reiterate what you already believe with little interest in actual journalism and facts, is an myopic way to get the big picture.
The best way to get a handle on a big story is to look at it from as many different angles as possible.
The recent uprising in Egypt (see my article on Egypt, Freedom, Peace & Social Media) for example, was something I wanted to watch closely. But I didn’t want to limit myself to news organizations whose job it is to explain how this event impacts North Americans. I wanted to know how it impacted Egyptians and the rest of the world too.
Thanks to PressReader’s extensive catalog, I was able to read European, Asian, and most importantly Middle Eastern (Arab and Israeli) news and opinions.
And of course I had access to news direct from Egypt (Egypt has a French paper: Hebdo Al-Ahram, in PressReader’s Catalog) You can sort through the catalog by country or by language:
I have never felt so fully engaged by a story as a result. I feel like I know the players personally and I have a vested interest in the outcome. I would have had to spend a lot of time and money to access that many viewpoints in the past and likely would have been far too lazy to do so.
But PressReader brings the world right to my iPad.
If you opt for a monthly or yearly plan, you can choose specific papers to have delivered to your iDevice daily. When you open the app it will automatically start to download your daily news-fix.
Here are their personal and corporate rates:
Note that if you buy more than one paper a day, or would like to, the subscription pays for itself.
A Tip for Puzzle-Lovers:
While having access to this many papers gives you tons of daily puzzles to choose from, remember this is not an interactive app. You cannot do them on you iOS device like you can with the (best) Crosswords App, or the New York Times Crossword App or the myriad Sudoku Apps. But that should be no problem.
All you need to do is go to the pressdisplay.com site and print out the puzzle pages(s). I have a stack of crosswords almost a foot high already!
A Final Disclosure and Note About Customer Service.
I read in some comments in the App Store that the folks at PressDiaplay were slow to reply to concerns. This is not what I experienced. I got the app, used the 7 free issues judiciously and then wanted to opt for the the pay as you go plan.
When I went to make my first in-app purchase, however, the system refused to sign me up. It would take my credit card info, and say I could return to the app to buy the paper, but when I did I was prompted to start the process over again.
After several failed attempts I wrote to customer service in the hopes they could take the card over the phone. Please know this was several weeks before the idea of a blog entered my mind so my request was just one of the hundreds of support requests, suggestions, complaints and concerns from their thousands of users.
It took 48 hours (which is IMO a fair time for a company of this size to respond, Apple has the same turnaround) but I did get a personal reply.
On top of an apology for a systems glitch and a fix, I was offered a FREE month subscription to make up for the inconveinice?!?
Seriously? I waited a year for my iPad, an extra two days to get one app running was not exaclty a hardship. But it spoke volumes to me about this company.
Even though their biggest clients are corporations and hotels, they care about each user on any of their platforms enough to give away a $30 subscription for a minor inconvenience. Of course I realize this doesn’t cost them much in the grand scheme of things, but have you ever tried to get a .99 refund for a defective app? This generosity and attitude stuck with me.
So yes, I do have a perk from them, but it in no way influences what I am writing here except inasmuch as it exemplifies my point that responsive developers (or distributors) make a world of difference in how I respond to an app. I’ll say it again, I like to vote with my dollars.
Once I decided to review PressDisplay I was given tons of information, honest answers about the site and app, good and bad, and can ultimately highly recommend this app because I am confident that should you encounter an issue, it wil be resolved in a timely and friendly manner.
Also please note that my contact at Pressdisplay.com insisted I disclose the free subscription, (I would have anyway) because he was concerned with veracity.
Again impressive. A company wiith integrity is one I want to do business with. I can assure you when my free ride ends, I will be taking the year subscription without hesitation.
This is no fly-by-night app company. I have every confidence the site and app will continue to provide this great compromise between Print Media and Digital Media well into the future.
See you later today with My Big News, and coming this weekend, my EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK at Chillingo’s new hit game Cooties!
Edu-App No-Brainer 2/17 Rise of Atlantis HD
Edu-App No-Brainer 2/12 : Rome – A Virtual History (best ebook I have even seen!)
Edu-App No-Brainer 2/9: Geared for iPad
Happy App Stalking