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PressReader brings 1,300 newspapers to your iPhone

Electronic newspapers are great! They consume no trees, require no gas-guzzling trucks, and leave no ink on your fingers.

Maybe this is the way to save newspapers?

Read nearly any newspaper in the world, right on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

PressReader brings more than 1,300 newspapers to your iPhone and iPod Touch.

In other words, it's a dream come true for news junkies. The app itself is free; you pay only for the content.

The above video explains most of what you need to know, but I'll sum up. PressReader lets you browse each and every page of the selected newspaper, zooming in and scrolling as needed.

Of course, if you've ever tried reading a PDF on your iPhone, you know it's not exactly comfortable. That's why PressReader also includes a text view: Just tap a headline to see the full story nicely formatted for the iPhone's screen.

You can also have a story read to you by tapping the headphones icon. Though it's a computerized voice, the quality is downright amazing.

For the month of November, developer PressDisplay is offering seven free editions of any paper--basically, a chance to give the app a test-drive (test-read?).

After that, each paper will cost you 99 cents--about what you'd pay if you picked it up off the newsstand.

I find that a little disappointing, for much the same reasons I think e-books are overpriced: There's no printing, no paper, no shipping, nor most of the other costs associated with newspapers--so why don't the e-editions cost a lot less?

Discussion for another day. If you're a voracious reader, you can sign up for one of two PressDisplay subscriptions: $9.95 monthly for 31 credits (one credit equals one issue, in most cases), or $29.95 monthly for unlimited content.

Interestingly, you can dip into the Online section of the app and read all the same content free of charge, with nearly all the same features as you get from a download. It also displays top stories culled from many sources, along with news, business, sports, and other sections.

Arguably, then, the only reason to download a newspaper at all is for offline reading, like when you're on an airplane.

That said, I found PressReader's Online mode to be slow and crash-prone, so maybe downloading is the way to go after all. In any case, this is one seriously slick app, a must-have for fans of news, newspapers, and the environment.