Monday, May 24, 2010

NewspaperDirect may find new life with iPad app

If magazine lovers have the Zinio Magazine Newsstand & Reader to bring them many of their favorite magazines, then newspaper readers may want to download PressReader to access their many of their favorite newspapers.
PressReader is the newspaper stand application from NewspaperDirect, the Canadian company that has been bringing electronic editions of newspapers to readers since 1999.

The company's online kiosk, makes newspapers available to web readers in a typical flipbook format.

The associated iPad app, PressReader, brings this same technology to the tablet, where it may find the kind of success missing from the online version. The reason for this is simple: the tablet appears to be a leisure-time reading device, whereas browsing on a typical computer is a search-and-find activity.

“At last, readers can hold a digital edition in their hands and read it from front to back, just the way the title was printed — with no compromises in quality, fidelity or content. With PressReader, the Apple iPad is truly the breakthrough product publishers and readers have been waiting for, said Alex Kroogman, CEO of NewspaperDirect in their launch announcement.

As I wrote last week, the recent ChangeWave Research study of e-reader users found that iPad owners are more likely to be requesting newspaper and magazine content -- with 50 percent of iPad owners reading newspapers with their devices. No surprise, really, since the device is much more flexible to different formats that devices like the Kindle, for instance.

Left: PressReader delivers over 1,500 newspapers from 90 countries.
Middle: Canadian newspapers; Right: making a selection.

NewspaperDirect is offering the PressReader app for free, and the first seven titles downloaded will be free, as well.  After the free trial period, newspapers and magazines (there are a few) will be available for 99 cents per issue, or can be downloaded as part of a paid subscription acquired through
The experience of reading a newspaper on the app is far inferior to the new apps coming online, so newspaper publishers developing applications for their own titles will not see PressReader as a permanent solution. The problem, of course, is that the app simply attempts to duplicate the print experience, much as a flipbook does online. As I have said before, however, the flipbook experience is not a good solution for the web -- but for tablets maybe.

An individual app, complete with multimedia and constantly updated content, is definitely the future. The Financial Times app, for instance, is for more attractive, easier to read, and provides readers with a more, dare I say, modern version of the tablet newspaper than a simple exact copy approach as employed by NewspaperDirect.

But as a newsstand, and as a way to quickly access a newspaper while on the run, about to board a plane, PressReader will prove to be a winner.