December 18, 2015 Last Updated 9:48 am

Digital newsstand and eBook reader app updates released before the holiday break

Google Play Books, Kindle, Kobo and PressReader iOS apps all updated, while Microsoft rushes out a bug fix updated after recent update to add support for .odt files

The holiday break is coming up fast, and so Apple will be trying to clear as many app updates as they can before shutdown for the holiday (I’d pass along the schedule, but Apple’s link to the it leads nowhere).

Three eBook platforms all updated their iOS apps in the past 24 hours.

Google Play Books added Night Light reading mode. Google had previously rolled this out for Android.


“When turned on, Night Light gradually filters blue light from your screen, replacing it with a warm, amber light as the sun sets. Night Light automatically adapts to the amount of natural sunlight outside based on the time of day, giving you just the right temperature and brightness. The color adjustment is more comfortable on your eyes and greatly improves low-light night reading,” said Greg Hartrell, Senior Product Manager, Google Play Books.

Meanwhile, both the Kindle and Kobo reading apps were updated. Amazon’s update for the Kindle iOS app is meant fix a bug that was causing the app to crash when turning a page with an image on it. The reason for the Kobo app update is unknown because the developers simply duplicated the app description from the last update. Reader reviews seem to suggest that some users were seeing a broken app following the last update.

PressReader also updated its iOS app, optimizing the app for the new iPad Pro and iOS 9. The app also now includes progressive downloading so that readers can start reading right away while the rest of the publication is still downloading.

PressReader uses to be called NewspaperDirect, but rebranded itself to the name of its app in November of 2013.

“By unifying all of our products and services under the PressReader name, we feel we are better representing who we are today and where we are going in the future,” Alex Kroogman, CEO of PressReader said at the time.

Other app updates:


RR Donnelley iPad app shows you how to navigate… on your iPhone

Scranton Gillette Communications had its app for Building Design+Construction Magazine updated by its printer RR Donnelley.

For a brief second I got excited as the app description says New Design: an intuitive and eye-catching design that looks great on both smaller iPhone and larger iPad screens.

Of course, what is meant by this is that the app itself has a new design, not the digital editions inside. Those are still impossible to read replica editions.

I should disclose that I once worked at SGC. (Don’t ask.)

The Washington Post has issued an update for its app that is named simply The Washington Post. This is the app designed first for the Kindle Fire, and only later launched inside the Apple App Store. This update is simply a bug fix update.

Forbes updated its Forbes Under 30 app to add events and fix bugs. You may not even have known that the magazine had such an app, and you are not alone. First released this summer, the app still only has one review inside the App Store, and not even ratings to register. The app integrates Tinder, enough said.

Finally, Microsoft issued bug fix updates for its iOS apps for Office. These were just updated the other day to add support for .odt files.

What I find particularly odd about these apps are that the most recent user reviews sound like those paid reviews some developers were accused of buying. I simply can’t imagine that Microsoft would stoop to doing this, but read the most recent reviews for the PowerPoint app, for instance. Very odd.

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