Reading on the web is becoming increasingly difficult. As it becomes harder to monetize from publishing on the web, most free publishers have adopted an aggressive advertising approach. Adverts are everywhere, some jumping on the screen, others redirecting the reader to a separate website. A a recent addition to enforced advertising and the most horrible of offenders are the adverts that play music in the background.
With advertising annoying the life out of us, it is easy to see why services like Readability and its comrades Instapaper and Read it Later are becoming popular. These sites remove all the clutter around websites so that you, the reader, can get to the text without have to duck-and-dive your way through the adverts, and read it wherever you choose.
Instapaper, which is one of the most popular services to bookmark posts on the web to read later, has partnered up with Readability. Readability is similar to Instapaper however it asks for a donation of $5 or above to gain access to the site. The subscription fee is monthly and 70% of the donation is distributed to the site publishers who install a simple “Read Now/Read Later” button on their pages.
How Readability works: You’re asked to make an account and then directed to Amazon payments. The donation of $5 and up is then taken from you at the end of the month. There is no fee for the product itself. Once your account is created you can add publications to your reading list. The adverts are removed, leaving behind the text. There is a handy personalization feature where you can chose the text size.
Readability provides an interesting solution to the monetization problem of publishers. And to help the publishing ecosystem and distribution of Readabilty, the founder of Instapaper Marco Arment, who previously lead developer at Tumblr, announced on his blog today that Instapaper will be developing and powering the Readability mobile and tablet apps. Arment, who is also an advisor for Readability, also announced that Instapper will soon provide an option to send logs of your reading activity to your Readability account.
Readability is aimed at helping readers and publishers. However what will happen to my paid subscriptions? Will I have to pay twice? Additionally will Readability be partnering with other easy-reading-services like Read it Later? Or will this partnership only extend to companies in which it has an active role in? How will site publishers react with the loss of advertising revenue? The other area of contemplation is that Readability and sites like it, do not have comments, I as a reader find comments engaging and often spend as much time reading the article as I do reading the comments.
TNW will be getting our own Readbility button soon, make sure to add us to your list.