PressReader: Newpapers in really, really, tiny print

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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.

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Lauren

Lauren Warnecke is a freelance writer and editor, focused on dance and cultural criticism in Chicago and across the Midwest. Lauren is the dance critic for the Chicago Tribune, editor of See Chicago Dance, and founder/editor of Art Intercepts, with bylines in Chicago Magazine, Milwaukee Magazine, St. Louis Magazine and Dance Media publications, among others. Holding degrees in dance and kinesiology, Lauren is an instructor of dance and exercise science at Loyola University Chicago.

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