The Kobo eBook reader which is available through Borders Books in the US and other retailers worldwide offers the opportunity to purchase, download, and read millions of free and paid eBooks. It also supports newspaper and magazine subscriptions — a feature which up until recently wasn’t available on Kobo’s free apps for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, and webOS. But today Kobo rolled out a new version of its iOS app, which lets you read magazine and newspaper subscriptions on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.
It took me a little while to actually find newspapers and magazines to check out. It’s not easy to find them using the mobile app itself, but if you login to your Kobo account using your mobile or desktop browser, you’ll see a new category marked “Newsstand” at the top of the screen. Click on it and you’ll find close to 30 newspapers and magazines you can subscribe to, with prices ranging from $1.99 per month to $21 per month. Some content is delivered daily, while other publications come out monthly. There don’t seem to be any weekly magazines in the mix right now.
If those prices seem a bit steep to pay for a service you haven’t tested, don’t worry. You can sign up for a 14 day free trial to any subscription and simply cancel before your first billing date if you decide you don’t want to keep your subscription.
The selection of content isn’t great, but there are a few top notch publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, PC Magazine, Globe & Mail, The Scientist, and Publishers Weekly.
Navigating through newspapers and magazines on the mobile device is pretty simple. There’s a drop-down menu at the top of the screen that lets you choose different sections, such as national, front page, business, and so on. You can also flip between sections by flicking your finger left or right. You scroll through an article by flicking up and down.
While $20 per month for the New York Times might seem kind of expensive for digital content which is available for free right now using the New York Times app for iOS, the newspaper is expected to start charging for full access to its web site and mobile apps soon. Kobo also offers a way to subscribe to multiple periodicals on one device. Now if only they had more to choose from.
Right now newspapers and magazines are only available on the iOS app and on the physical Kobo eBook reader, but I suspect we’ll start to see this feature in Kobo’s mobile apps for other platforms before too long.
The Kobo app for iOS is available as a free download from the App Store.Version 3.7 also fixes some bugs and allows you to look up words using a dictionary or Wikipedia or to search for a word on Google by tapping and holding any word.
You can check out more screenshots after the break.