How to Get Newspapers, Magazines on Your Android

As someone who started reading e-books in 2003, I’m always on the lookout for ways to expand my insatiable appetite for digital content. But I’m not sold that I want Apple to earn 30 percent of my content purchases because that could boost prices across the board for books, newspapers and magazines.

While waiting for that wrestling match to unfold, I’m using Amazon’s Kindle (s amzn) app to read two or three titles per week. The newspaper and magazine selection in Kindle format is rather lame, though. My last check showed less than 100 titles in each format. That’s why I turned to Zinio for digital magazines a few years ago, and I never looked back. And recently, I’ve been intrigued by PressReader, which carries more than 1,700 newspapers from dozens of countries, including 261 various, but reasonably priced, U.S. titles.

Zinio arrived on iOS devices (s aapl) early last year, but an Android version isn’t yet in the Market. Zinio says it’s coming soon to the Market and is pre-installed on the Dell Streak 7 I just reviewed, as well as certain Samsung Galaxy Tab devices. My T-Mobile Tab isn’t one of those devices, but I have Zinio installed and I’ll show you how to do the same. PressReader is available directly in the Android Market, but the method I’m using puts both PressReader and Zinio into a handy app called Readers Hub. The Hub supports Kobo books, which is also found in the Market, but since I use Amazon, I won’t cover that here. I may revisit that in a future post, however.

Here’s the process I used with Readers Hub to get Zinio and PressReader installed on my Galaxy Tab, which should work on other Froyo tablets and handsets:

  1. You’ll first need an application to install .apk files and unzip files. There are several in the Market, but I use AndroZip by AgileSoft. There’s a free, ad-supported version or you can buy the full version for $4.99.
  2. Using the browser in Android, navigate over to this XDA-Developers thread and directly download the GalaxyTab-Readers.rar file to your device.
  3. After the download, open up AndroZip and navigate to the download folder on your device. You should see the .rar file there.
  4. Tap the .rar file and choose the “Extract file here” option in AndroZip.
  5. Once the .rar file is unpacked, you should see three new .apk files: one each for Readers Hub, Press Reader and Zinio. Simply tap each file and choose the “Install” option to install the apps.
  6. After installing each .apk, you should successfully have a new Readers Hub shortcut in your application list. Open it to begin reading newspapers and magazine in Press Reader or Zinio!

If you’re not willing to take the plunge, maybe a peek at what you’re missing will entice: In the gallery below, I grabbed several screenshots of magazine and newspaper content, along with a sampling of the offerings available.

Related GigaOM Pro Content (subscription required):