Reading on the web is a widely and intensely debated issue. Reading purists tend to argue in favor of print books, magazines, and newspapers, while the digital-centric espouse the virtues of reading in the Information Age. Where the discussion usually falls flat, however, is when the pros and cons of each are weighed against each other. Each medium has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. The conversations worth listening to, then, are those had by creators who care much less about the virtues of each in their current iteration than they care about moving reading on the web forward. You see, it's an apples to oranges comparison, since we've extracted all possible virtues from reading print, and we've only begun to scratch the surface of what reading on the web may become.
Readability would like to have some say on the future of digital words. Readability began as a very simple project from Arc90- a bookmarklet that would strip clutter away from web pages to present the text in a clean, readable format. It has since evolved into, arguably, the reader's most essential digital tool.
Though a promising ecosystem has emerged from the Readability app, the product (and underlying philosophy) remain quite simple: make reading on the web beautiful, easy, and enjoyable. It succeeds. Let's dive in.
Sign up for a Readability account, and choose from a plethora of addons and services for your devices- there's one for everything. Web, iOS, Android, Firefox, Chrome- and even some functionality built-in to existing applications like the Pulse news reader and the Longform.org website. Of course, we here at Sssimpli tend to prefer bookmarklets, but the choice is yours.
Now, whenever you see something on the web you'd like to read, you have a few options. First, you can read it now, presented in Readability's uncluttered view:
Your next option via the bookmarklets or addons is to read the article later, which will add the article to your reading list. Your articles can then be read (at a time of your choosing, of course) either on the web, on your phone (in a suite of stunningly gorgeous mobile apps):
... or even on your Kindle. Once you've set up your Kindle settings with Readability, a daily reading digest will be sent to your device automatically each morning, giving you a fantastically personalized sort of newspaper waiting for you every dawn.
The third option given via the addons or bookmarklet is to skip the Readability queue and send the article directly to your Kindle.
Readability is completely free to use, although they offer premium accounts, which I highly recommend. The premium accounts is $5 per month, of which Readability takes thirty percent, then distributes the rest among the publishers you read (provided they're registered as Readability publishers). It's a fantastic way to support the content creators you trust, and a general trend I'd love to see gain a little momentum, steering away from the traditional ad revenue model towards something more innovative and more valuable for everyone involved.
No one quite knows what the future of reading on the web will become, but if Readability has anything to say about it, the coming revolution will be a beautiful one indeed.