Trying Out Reader by Readwise

You probably know by this point that I love apps and trying new tools. So even though I was pretty happy with Feedbin as my RSS service, earlier this month I went on an RSS service sojourn to Inoreader…mostly because of their support for syncing YouTube subscriptions.

I call it a sojourn because the same week I switched, I got invited to a private beta of Readwise’s long-awaited reading app, Reader.

The “Unseen Feeds” view

To call Reader an RSS service would be a gross understatement though. It’s a library for everything you read: RSS, PDFs, Emails, Tweets, and even ebooks (though definitely still prefer my Kindle Scribe for that).

YouTube video with transcript

It will also transcribe YouTube videos in-app.

All of this is in the service of being able to highlight, save, and tag anything you read. And I love it.

It’s still a beta app1, so it’s a little rough around the edges, but it’s such a fantastic experience that I’m confident in saying I’m all in.

Here’s what I like:

  • The ability to easily import basically anything I read, and highlight it
  • Tagging and organizing highlights
  • Creating views for the types of content I want to consume. I can, for example, create a “personal” and “business” view.
  • The daily digests so I don’t miss anything.
  • The app (especially swipes) is really customizable for a beta.
  • SO many keyboard shortcuts!

Here’s what I’d like to see improved:

  • Viewing emails is still a little rough. They (rightfully) focused on the text parser for easy highlights, but as a result, if I want to view a properly formatted email, I have to hope they include a web link2.
  • On a similar note, I’d like to access an email archive…which may actually be the case. Since I’m in the app for just over a week, I haven’t had much opportunity to see if all sent emails are archived.
  • The ability to sort feeds by source. This one is the biggest pain point for me. I usually end up marking all new articles from a source as read if I’m uninterested. I’d like to be able to glance at all new articles from a single source quickly.
  • In the iOS app, I want to be able to set the default behavior to opening links in Safari. Right now they open in the web viewer, and then I need to open them in Safari from there. I understand why — they want you to save articles in the app so you can highlight them — but one less step to open in-browser would be great.

Ultimately, I love how polished Reader is for a freshly-minted public beta. The team is super responsive, the iterations are super fast.

Highlights from Cocktails with Suderman

I can’t wait to see where this app is in 2-3 months.

  1. It just entered public beta. Join here ?
  2. Thankfully, most do. ?

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