New York Times launched a new version of its Times Reader desktop application today. The Times Reader allows users to read the New York Times offline on their desktops or laptops, though full access to the application is only available to those who subscribe to the printed version of the Times, or to users who subscribe to Times Reader itself for $14.95 per month. The new version of the Times Reader is powered by Adobe AIR, so that Mac and Linux users can now also finally use this application, which, until today, was a Windows-only product.The
In many ways, the front page of Times Reader looks quite similar to the Article Skimmer we reviewed earlier this year. Since then has received quite a few handy updates itself. The Reader, though, also features a good search function. Its two killer features are definitely offline access and the great readability of the text, thanks to using Adobe's Text Layout framework. Users can easily change the size of the on-screen font, and articles can be printed in a very readable, three-column layout.
Another nice feature of the Reader application is the ability to 'browse' the paper by zooming out and seeing previews of the surrounding pages, which nicely recreates the feeling of browsing the 'real' paper.
Oddly, though, during our tests, the scroll wheel on our mouse didn't work in the application, and we had to resort to using the keyboard to flip pages.
For Free: Crossword, Front Page, Business, Magazine, and Most Emailed
If you don't subscribe to the Times or Times Reader, you can still access articles from the New York Times front page, the business section, and the most emailed articles from the Times. If you love the New York Times crossword puzzle, you will be happy to hear that an interactive version of the day's puzzle is also available for free.
For the Sunday Edition, content from the Magazine is available for free, though the Sunday Business section is hidden behind the paywall.
It is important to note that the Times already gives readers offline access to its content through its iPhone application, and a lot of the functionality of the Reader application is also duplicated in the Article Skimmer - though without offline access, of course.
The Times Reader excels in the presentation of the content, and while apps like this will surely not be enough to save the newspaper industry, we are glad to see that the Times continues to innovate and try new business models and ways to reach and retain readers.
Disclosure: The NYTimes is a syndication partner of ReadWriteWeb.