I used to subscribe to the Sunday paper, and loved those lazy Sunday mornings perusing the headlines, clipping coupons, drinking coffee.
And then I started working on Sundays and began to develop a huge stack of papers that I didn’t have time to get through. Before becoming eligible for an episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive, I cut off the subscription and these days I typically try to catch the news on the radio.
I must not be the only one, because the papers are sinking big time. Publications have had to get creative in order to survive the newspaper apocalypse. Enter PressReader: a massive database of 2,300+ full-text publications all available for download on your mobile device. The occasional paper peruser can purchase individual issues for $0.99 each, or the full-on news junkie can have any of the database, any time, for a monthly subscription fee.
This seems really great for a person who, say, commutes by train and owns an ipad, or a person who travels frequently for work. The idea of reading The Irish Times on a layover in Tulsa in the middle of the night is amazing to me. I would assume that flight attendants sometimes just want to know what’s going on in their hometowns, and this way the local paper is always at your fingertips.
The problem is: I’m not any of those people… and I don’t have an ipad.
I have that bookshelf app and a few other reader-type apps and despite my optimism to read all of these things while on public transportation, I mostly end up staring out the window. The thing is: reading newspapers on your phone is sometimes awkward. In order to get the words big enough to actually read I have to scroll over every three words. Maybe I’m dense, but then I get lost in the article and give up. Plus, reading on the bus makes me a little woozy.
If I consider where I really like to read, PressReader doesn’t really do it for me. Call me a romantic, but there’s something about a tangible newspaper that is so wonderful; online versions don’t give you that leisurely feeling you get from flipping the oversized pages, black smudges of ink on your fingertips, sipping a cup of joe will the sun shines in on your dining room table. That’s a feeling I just can’t get from scrunching over my little rectangular box.
But, it’s not personal…
I can see how this app would be totally amazing for the right user. It’s also a great model for, say, an obscure publication that might not otherwise be able to recruit readers to a mobile format (like, for example, the Albanian Gazeta Panorama or Cambodian Business). And, you can bet when Dance Magazine jumps on board I will most definitely be downloading it on a monthly basis, no matter how tiny the text.