PressReader: What's it All About?
Earlier this year, Listening Books partnered with PressReader, who provide virtual access to newspapers and magazines in audio form. PressReader feature UK newspaper publications from The Guardian to The Telegraph, and magazines such as Forbes, Variety and Vogue. Thanks to PressReader, members of Listening Books can access thousands of newspapers and magazines publications in their original languages, all available to listen to online!
To find out a bit more about the service, we recently caught up with Senior Area Manager James Fairbotham, who oversees PressReader’s Libraries division in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Can you tell us more about PressReader?
PressReader Limited is a group of technology companies on a mission to transform the way people read and learn in the digital age.
We work with the publishers of over 14,000 newspapers, magazines, and educational publications, and collaborate with global business partners from 150 countries to connect people from every corner of the world with quality content. PressReader‘s online reading platform is the world’s largest digital newsstand, and it offers more than 7,000 newspapers and magazines in 64 languages from over 125 countries.
Our team is quite international, with team members in Dublin, Lisbon, Johannesburg, Vancouver, and Montreal, helping to manage our business across the region.
How does PressReader work and who is it for? What do people have access to with PressReader?
PressReader brings together thousands of full-content newspapers and magazines worldwide, so naturally its applications are endless! We provide access to millions of users across the globe, through both individual subscriptions and our vast network of global business partners. As part of its sponsored access program, PressReader has partnerships with a large network of travel and hospitality brands, and libraries. The organizations, including libraries, hospitality, marine, aviation, healthcare, and banking, pay for access to the platform and, in turn, offer it to their patrons — thus extending the reach of quality, trusted content.
Our content covers everything from business news to sports, kids and tweens content, to fitness, fashion and finance, so there is something for everyone.
Why did you want to introduce more inclusive reading options like listening to titles?
At PressReader, we believe reading should be accessible to everyone. We appreciate that readers rely on tools or assistive technology to access content at learning centers, institutions, and businesses. That’s why we created PressReader Accessibility that meets government-mandated accessibility criteria, as set out in the WCAG 2.1 guidelines. With navigation, audio, tab navigation, colour contrast, large named buttons, and user font size control - it’s here to serve readers who need it most. It’s an inclusive product for users worldwide.
What do you think the benefits are of reading and listening to newspapers and magazines online?
Whether you’re a busy professional traveling to-and-from meetings, someone looking to learn a new language, or someone that simply finds reading newspapers challenging due to visual impairments, the audio features are for you. They allow readers to sit back, and take in the latest news from top publishers across the globe.
Do you think the future of libraries is online reading and listening?
It’s clear that events like Covid-19 have accelerated the move to digital, as well as to contactless resources which, of course, includes news. There are many benefits to digital: our users are able to listen, share, comment, and search across our collection, for example, making it more engaging for them in this increasingly mobile age.
In addition, using PressReader helps libraries save costs with a consolidated subscription model, and reduces their carbon footprint as they no longer require print copies to be shipped to multiple locations.
Do you think there’s still a bit of a stigma attached to digital forms of reading like audiobooks, ebooks and digital magazines? Do you think this is changing and why?
Over my 9 years with PressReader, I’ve seen a lot of poor attempts in the process of digitizing print format contents! For example, there are many challenges with taking a full newspaper and making it fit onto a mobile device, and therefore many people have negative experiences with digital reading.
At PressReader, the reading experience has been our priority and we were the pioneers in the digitized newspaper space. Over the last two decades, we have worked tirelessly to improve this experience with our own technologies. Our technologies create a supreme three-dimensional reading experience for readers, and provide multiple layouts for readers to consume content, whether it be in its original full-content layout, text-format layout, or having full publications read out to you with our audio features.
We're constantly learning from readers' behavior and usage, providing personalized experiences. Leveraging machine learning technology, we offer precisely what readers feel is relevant on the go.
What advice would you give to people reading or listening to newspapers and magazines online for the first time?
Give it an unbiased chance.
I think my parents are a case in point here. When I first joined the company in 2012, I gave my parents an iPad with a subscription to PressReader. It was like pulling teeth trying to get them to try it for the first time, but once they saw our selection of British newspapers and tabloids (they emigrated from England), they decided to give it a try. A week later, they bought another iPad since they found themselves constantly fighting over the one iPad in the morning when they wanted to read the latest news!
What newspapers and magazines do you read yourself?
I came from a finance background, so I’ve always enjoyed titles like Bloomberg Businessweek, the Wall Street Journal, and the financial sections of Canada’s National Post and Globe & Mail. I also have a lot of hobby interest, so I enjoy Men’s Health, Top Gear Magazine, Business Traveler, and Mountain Biking UK.
If you’re a Listening Books member, you can access thousands of newspapers and magazines through PressReader today! Simply visit your Dashboard within My Account, and select Newspapers and Magazines from the options on the right of the screen.
And if you’re not yet a member, but you have a print disability or a condition that affects your ability to read the written word, click here to join Listening Books and gain access to this amazing service!