The web's reading platform.

Reading View Design Updates

Yesterday we rolled out further refinements to our Reading View, featuring a slimmer, more useful toolbar. Sharing actions, accessed by thousands of Readability users every day, are now located right on the toolbar instead of hidden several clicks away. In addition, settings menus now feature a cleaner, more legible design. We’ve also added the ability to export any article to ePub format with a single click, ready for use in your favorite compatible reading device.

When it comes to creating the best reading experience on the Web, we know it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. We hope you enjoy these updates. Happy reading!

Top Reads Tuesday – Presidential Politics

With the recent release of Readability’s Top Reads feature, it’s easy to get a feel for what’s trending across the millions of articles people read with our platform every day. Every other Tuesday, we’ll be compiling related articles from Top Reads and highlighting the trends we’re seeing with you.

This Week: All Politics, All the Time

With the election coming up, people can’t stop reading about politics—US Presidential politics, specifically. With Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan, the spectacle of the RNC, the start of the DNC, and the election itself, people are craving information about the candidates and their respective parties. Some highlights from past week of Top Reads:

Want to read through all these articles? We’ve pulled them together into a handy Readlist you can read and highlight on your iPhone, iPad, Kindle, or other ePub-compatible reading device with the click of a button.

A Readability Interview with Jon Lax

Jon Lax is one half of the founding team behind Teehan+Lax, a Toronto-based design firm known for its cutting edge interactive work. He’s also an important part of the Readability family, helping advise on strategy and guide the work with our own iOS and Android apps. As a designer, journalist, and former ad man, he knows a thing or two about content and publishing.

He spoke earlier this week at the Innovate News meetup about the Readability platform and its relevance to the shifting media landscape. We caught up with him after to get his thoughts on the topic.

Continue reading ›

Roll Your Own Reference eBooks with Readlists

When learning the ins and outs of something new, many people look online for help. When that something new is a piece of a software, the Internet can serve as the ultimate, ever-updating instruction manual and help file.

There’s a problem, though. All of the great articles about any given subject are spread over the entire web, on unrelated blogs and sites, disconnected from each other. Keeping track of them and using them as a reference can be quite cumbersome. That’s where Readlists comes in handy.

Scrivener, Word-Processing for Writers

Take Scrivener, for example. Writers love it because it’s a fully featured word-processing app designed with them in mind. They can do everything with it. But it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

One of our users, Laurel, put together a readlist of Scrivener how-tos. It’s an extensive guide that’s filled with helpful articles. Best of all, you can send it to your iPhone, iPad, Kindle, or other compatible device with the click of a button.

Readlists Are Meant to Be Shared

Been using any handy how-to Readlists lately, or put together one of your own? Let us know in the comments, or hit us up on Twitter. We feature the best of the best on the Readlists homepage every day.

Supporting Reading Where it Starts

Last week we began rolling out the last of our Publisher Payment program donations, focused on helping content creators, tool makers, and readers.

Today, Readability is joining forces with Change for Kids to underwrite their one-on-one literacy tutoring at P.S. 81 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn for the entire 2012-2013 school year. With this donation, Change for Kids will be able to reach an estimated 50-65 students in grades 1-5 with individualized instruction on a weekly basis.

Change for Kids partners with NYC public schools and donors to bolster critical skills for young students when educational resources are stretched thin. They operate at a human scale, working to elevate the environment at one target school at a time. It’s an approach that’s earned real success.

Here are a few telling statistics that speak to the conditions at P.S. 81 and the need for programs like this:

  • P.S. 81 is surrounded by five public shelters
  • 93% of the school’s students receive free or reduced lunch
  • 42% of community residents are high school drop-outs and 59% are unemployed or not in the labor force
  • Without the Change for Kids program, there would no formal art program, limited tutoring, and inadequate fitness instruction.

P.S. 81’s Principal, Cheryl Ault-Barker writes, “Most students have very few books at home and many do not have computers with access to the Internet. Many students are below grade-level, particularly in reading, and our parents struggle to assist students with work because they themselves may have low literacy rates.”

With this partnership, we’re grateful to have the opportunity to do something about that.

Readtime, an iPhone app Built on Readability

Here at Readability, we love to see innovative uses of our platform and API. With that in mind, we’re pleased to tell you about a new third party iPhone app called Readtime.

Readtime's dial

When your Reading List has piled up, and you have a minute—or 5, or 10—but don’t know what to read, Readtime is the app for you.

Simply dial in the amount of time you want to spend reading, and it fetches the right amount of articles from your Reading List. Then you can enjoy reading the right article at the right time, in a clutter-free, intuitive interface.

Readtime is available for $1.99 on the iTunes App Store.

Supporting the Tool Makers

Yesterday we announced that the first of our three final Publisher Payment program donations was going to ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning non-profit newsroom and a driving force for innovative, high quality journalism. This next donation speaks to the tool makers, whose work is an essential connection between author and audience.

Today we’re pleased to announce that we’re donating another $10,000, this time to the Django Software Foundation.

An open source Web development framework originally created by a team at the parent company of the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper, Django was born from content. Since then it’s gone on to power a host of major services, including the likes of Instagram, Mozilla, Pinterest, and yes, Readability.

From our platform’s core API, to the Reading View view enjoyed by millions of users, we rely on Django day in, day out. And it delivers.

The original creators of Django saw fit to release their work as open source, allowing an entire community to benefit. Their idea, and the dedication of the volunteers who’ve helped grow it since then, has enabled folks like us at Readability. We’re thrilled to be giving something back to help enable them.

Supporting Content in the Public Interest

As part of wrapping up our Publisher Payment program a short while ago, we donated the lion’s share of its unclaimed funds to two fantastic non-profits that support reading and writing. Our goal with these donations is to promote groups that foster the creation of high quality content, build the tools that make it possible, and cultivate the audience needed to support it.

That wrap-up continues today with the first of three final donations, starting things off with a $10,000 contribution to ProPublica.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning, non-profit newsroom that produces, “journalism in the public interest.” Motivated by a desire to support the kind of investigative journalism most at risk from today’s shrinking news budgets, ProPublica has grown into one of the brightest points on the journalism landscape. Their operations now support a newsroom of 34 working journalists, and their work has garnered numerous awards.

We spoke with Richard Tofel, ProPublica’s General Manager, earlier this week. For him, “ProPublica is an organization that publishes investigative journalism stories that spark change. Often, these are in long form. That makes us big fans of services like Readability, which help make valuable content more accessible. We’re also dependent on our donors, and are very grateful for Readability’s support.”

We’re proud to be lending our support, both in the form of  this donation, and by continuing to grow the most powerful reading platform on the Web. It’s our mission to elevate great content like ProPublica’s by helping make it more accessible, portable, and useful for readers.

NextDraft for iPhone

In the era of web overload, the curators have come to our rescue. From our friends at Longform (and their great iPad app) to Maria Popova’s consistently fun Brain Pickings, they pluck out the bits we to want to read and save us from an avalanche of articles and links.

NextDraftIn that vein, one of our favorite daily newsletters is Dave Pell’s NextDraft. By submitting your email address, you get great stuff to read wrapped in Dave’s engaging and witty summaries.

And now there’s the NextDraft app for the iPhone. It delivers NextDraft’s daily summaries right to the palm of your hand. It’s a lovely little app, great for when you need something to read but don’t have the time to hunt through your Twitter feed or Facebook stream.

We’re proud to announce that the reading view in NextDraft for iPhone is powered by Readability. You can even send choice articles right to your Readability reading list (along with Pocket and Instapaper).

NextDraft for iPhone is free. If you own an iPhone, go get it!

We’re Looking for a Few Good Python Devs

Readability is growing—fast—and looking to add a whip-smart developer or two to our nimble, talented team. Are you a crack Python dev? A self-starter with a broad range of talents? Are you interested in shaping the future of content, and having a little fun along the way, too? Drop us an email with your résumé and a few code samples, and let’s get talking!

Applicants should…

  • Be based in the New York City area.
  • Be ready for a challenging Python gig, heavy on the Django.
  • Be comfortable working at scale.
  • Be a reader. (We eat our own dog food at Readability, and you should too!)

That’s the high level stuff. We’ll spare you the run-on list of gory details (we know you’re busy, too). Get in touch, and let’s build something together!