Farewell, Readmill

The weekend provided that sad news that Readmill, the company who produced by far the best ebook reader, is closing down. Baldur Bjarnason has a few words to say about their fate here. By and large, I think he’s right. Their app was superb, but their business plan appeared to rely on getting people to read socially, and most people don’t want to be discussing what they are reading with random strangers.

From my point of view, the primary benefit of Readmill was that they provided an opportunity for customers at my bookstore to download purchases directly to customers, just as you can do on the Kindle. But of course few of Amazon’s competitors were interested in working with a third party. All of the big stores are trying to replicate the “walled garden” strategy. For small stores such as mine, losing Readmill blows a big whole in the shopping experience.

There is one small ray of hope in that Readmill’s development team has apparently been sold to DropBox. What they will be doing there is unclear, but if they do add ebook reading capabilities to DropBox, and we get a “send to DropBox” button that we can add to stores, that could be very useful. Fingers crossed.

Talking of the bookstore, Shopify has just produced a “reviews” app, so if you buy a book from the store you can leave a review of it. Please consider doing a favor for writers whose work you have enjoyed.