Today we’re pleased to introduce our most requested feature for Android: support for PDF and DRM-protected books. With today’s update, you can sync your entire Readmill library and read the same books on all your devices.
If you already have PDF and DRM-protected books in your library, they’ll now appear in the app. You can also add them to your library as you would any other book. Here’s how.
As we read, we’re bound to stumble across interesting passages, perfect for sharing and discussing with a friend. With today’s iOS update, you can do just that, using @mentions to start conversations within books.
To mention someone from the iOS app, type the “@” symbol in the comment field on a highlight or review. Then start typing a friend’s name and choose from the suggested list.
Experience more comfortable reading
Thanks to our new Sepia mode, the reading experience is more comfortable than ever. Its reduced contrast is wonderfully easy on the eyes. Night mode also gets an upgrade with an improved highlight view, so you can transition seamlessly back to your reading.
To try Sepia mode, open a book and tap the text to reveal the menu. Select the “Aa” icon, then select “Sepia.”
"A smartphone can be a bibliophile’s secret weapon," says Laura Moser of the Wall Street Journal. We couldn’t agree more, and we’re delighted to be featured in her list of “Smartphone Apps for Great Reads.”
Last month, we released the new feed in our iOS app. It’s completely redesigned and makes it easier to discover books your friends are reading and discussing right now.
As you might know, we had a similar feature on readmill.com. While the two feeds have similarities, they run on different systems. We’ve had a significant increase in traffic and usage during the holidays and into the new year, and keeping both systems running was causing delays across the service.
We’ve decided to discontinue the feed on readmill.com for now, in order to focus on bringing the new feed into the Android app. In the meantime, we thank you for your patience and apologize for any inconvenience.
On July 20, 2013, fifteen-year-old Oxford schoolgirl Martha Fernback died suddenly after swallowing half a gram of MDMA powder, more widely known as ecstasy. Within hours her mother, Anne-Marie Cockburn, began to write down her feelings as a way to channel her shock and try to make sense of the tragic loss of her only child.
In this meticulously researched biography, Richard Burton demonstrates why Basil Bunting is one of the greatest modernist poets. He explores Bunting’s fascinating life, takes a fresh look at such poems as ‘Villon,’ ‘The Well of Lycopolis’ and Briggflatts and unpicks the mystery of his disappearance from public consciousness.
A stunning memoir about the astounding Carnegie family’s struggle with mental illness is combined with a beautifully evoked meditation on motherhood and madness. In describing five generations of mental instability in the female line of her family, Millicent Monks attempts to bring mental illness out of the shadows and comfort those who are suffering from thoughts and feelings they don’t always understand.
Each highlight holds the potential for conversation and connection, and together we’ve created one million of them. Thank you for sharing your favorite passages, and along the way, helping to shape our story.
We have a new addition to our team here at Readmill, and we’re delighted to introduce him to you today. Sane Lebrun has recently joined us from Paris. Read on to learn more.
Sane, welcome to the Readmill team! Before we get started, could you tell us how to properly pronounce your name?
You pronounce it like “Sam,” but with an “N.” It’s an original name that even French people mispronounce when they read it the first time. It’s a name from the Breton calendar. It means “the sky,” but it also has different meanings in a lot of other languages.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Britanny (west of France) but moved to Paris in 2005 to pursue my studies at ESCP Europe business school, where I first learned marketing and then specialized in new technologies management and entrepreneurship.
In 2009, I started working at Gameloft and experienced the rise of gaming on smartphones and then tablets. It was an exciting time, with a lot of interest for every new release we had. Because I was in charge of some licensed games, I was lucky to work with great companies such as Universal, Disney and Fox. Incidentally, the game I’m the most proud of is Ice Age Village, the official game of the Ice Age franchise. It was downloaded more than 60 million times. We had a lot of great marketing successes, one of them being the broadcast of the game trailer in Time Square on a giant screen.
You moved to Berlin from Paris just a few weeks ago, right? How are you settling in?
So far, so good! In Berlin, the food is good, Berliners are nice, and so far, I cannot complain about the weather—it’s been surprisingly sunny. I’m really new here, so I have tons of things to discover, but I can already feel the potential.
What drew you to Readmill?
During five years at Gameloft, as Product Manager and then Marketing Group Manager, I learned a lot. I think the video game industry is the most dynamic, fast-evolving sector in the world. Since 2007, it had the digital revolution, the social one, then the freemium. You have to make 180-degree turns every six months if you want to survive.
I was eager to apply all the best practices I had learned, but in another sector. I’m very excited by the potential of digital/social on reading habits and think Readmill is at the edge of exploring and expanding this potential.
What will you be working on here?
My goal is to make as many people as possible aware of our great app. This includes creation of nice promotional assets, online marketing actions, co-marketing initiatives, PR and probably a bit of magic!
What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
I’m currently reading The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. It’s a great book to read with Readmill because there are tons of memorable quotes. It enriches the reading experience so much to discuss them with the rest of the community.
I’ve also started reading Hatching Twitter, a history of this social network. I am a big fan of Twitter, but it’s crazy to find that the story of this start up kind of looks like an episode of Dallas!
What’s the best way to get in touch?
For business purposes, you can shoot me an email. Otherwise, follow me on Readmill and on Twitter at @SaneFive.
Erika Hall is Co-Founder of Mule Design and author of Just Enough Research. Many of you have been reading and discussing her book since it was published in September, and we’re delighted to add Erika’s own commentary to the mix today.
Her comments are below, and you’ll also find them in the book when you add it to your library and read with community highlights. Enjoy!
This is the fundamental point of the book. I want designers and entrepreneurs to base their work in reality rather than create whizzy solutions in search of a problem. Successful product and service design takes advantage of existing conventions and habits, adding new meaning and value. To do that you need to know what the existing habits and conventions are and why they exist. Do as much or as little research as you need to gain that knowledge. For example, Airbnb used existing online marketplace patterns to change the way people think about spare rooms and add huge value to having an empty apartment. The design makes the experience fun and reduces the perceived risk while requiring very little learning.
Lean UX is definitely an improvement by adding some up front research and planning, but Agile just doesn’t work for all organizations and projects. Just because a product or service has a software component doesn’t mean the entire process reduces into a software development problem. And many organizations are sufficiently complex to require a certain amount of documentation and process to coordinate the effort and decision-making of everyone involved. The absence of Agile isn’t necessarily waterfall, either. Working efficiently, collaboratively, and iteratively with as little unnecessary documentation as possible is a worthy goal.
Put another way, either research is an integral part of the design and development process, or it’s a waste. Everyone on the team needs to be working from a shared reality, a shared understanding of user needs, business goals, competitive pressure, and constraints. Otherwise, they will be working from whatever reality they have in their individual heads. Designers (or anyone involved in a project) are way more likely to look for ways to apply findings they help find, and not ignore or feel threatened by research.
I continue to run into people responsible for making business decisions around design projects who misunderstand qualitative research. Isn’t measuring better than describing? How can you draw any conclusions from talking to 10 people? Both quantitative and qualitative data are only as useful as the initial questions and the resulting interpretation.
In response to the question, “How many interviews is enough?” my rule of thumb is “enough that patterns emerge.” And they will.
It feels good to think you have the right answer and it can be really scary to say “I don’t know.” But those three little words are the gateway to all knowledge. This is the personal challenge everyone involved in creating new products needs to overcome.
I once had the privilege to see Steve Jobs being interviewed live on stage. The interviewer asked him for his prediction about something like television viewing habits and devices. Steve’s enthusiastically confident response was “I don’t know. And I’m excited to find out.” He made everyone who claimed to have foreknowledge look like an idiot. (I suspect he actually had a tremendous store of informed opinions but hell if he was going to tip his hand.) That moment has stayed with me for years.
Over the past year, your overwhelming response to Readmill for iOS & Android has inspired us to focus on perfecting the reading experience for your phone. But since the start, we’ve envisioned Readmill as a platform for storing your library and accessing it anywhere. We’re always glad to welcome developers who use our API to expand the possibilities for your Readmill library.
First out is Bookinist by developer neomobili. This ePub reader for Mac OSX synchronizes your entire library automatically and lets you read on your desktop. It’s a great way to use your books for reference or enjoy reading on a bigger screen. It also doubles as a convenient way to upload books from your desktop computer—just drag and drop them into Bookinist and they will be available on your phone as well.
Many of you have requested the ability to read books on the web, so we’re delighted to introduce Librarus by Samin Shams. Librarus lets you browse your Readmill library, read books and synchronize notes and highlights from its web-based reader. It’s a great way to interact with Readmill on devices we do not yet support.
Have you ever tried reading an ebook in the car? Chances are you’ll get nauseous with ordinary readers but not with this app. After hundreds of hours of research and user tests, the developers ensure that you can use their app to read your books without getting sick. And where do you get your books? Just connect to your Readmill account and browse your library.
Today we’re delighted to introduce another wonderful way to read together from anywhere. Our latest update for iOS brings your feed into the app, so you can follow along with what your friends are reading.
While our community highlights view makes for an instant book club in every book, your feed is a library reading room, where you can peek over the shoulders of friends and catch glimpses of books you wouldn’t find otherwise.
You can curate your feed by following friends, authors and anyone else you’d like to read with. Then when you visit the feed, you’ll find the latest highlights, reviews and discussions from your favorite readers.
“‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’ applies outside the fields of politics as well; it means that we must constantly reevaluate what we do, lest habits and past wisdom blind us to new possibilities.”—Highlighted by Greger Hagström in Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Our API allows developers to build new reading tools of their own and integrate Readmill features into other apps. Today we’re pleased to introduce Kristian Guillaumier who has integrated Readmill cloud storage into his ereader. It’s another way to take your Readmill library with you wherever you go.
Read on to meet Kristian and find out how it works.
Tell us a bit about yourself as a reader. When do you find time for reading, and what sort of books do you love to read?
I always try to find a couple of hours every day to read, usually before going to sleep. I’m not too picky about genres; the books I read are usually recommendations from friends or ones that I’ve discovered when reading up on those I’ve already enjoyed.
You’ve said that you fell in love with the convenience of ebooks five years ago when you bought a Sony 505. Has your reading behavior changed since you started reading ebooks?
I find that I’m reading much more than I used to and use Marvin’s built in tools all the time to help me learn more about the characters, books and authors I enjoy. This is my preferred way to discover new books and add them to my “to read” list.
How does Readmill integration work?
Marvin has a “Get books” panel in its library that lets you connect to several services including a native calibre connection, Dropbox, OPDS services and web catalogs. Readmill is now in the “Get books” panel.
Readers just have to sign in to Readmill and all of their EPUB books will be listed, filtered and sorted for easy one-tap access. You can also batch download books into your library. Marvin supports DRM-free EPUB books.
What do you predict will be the most important next developments in ebook reading?
Personalized and reliable discovery: Many people probably already have more books in their reading list than they’ll ever read. However, nothing beats a high quality recommendation from a friend or a trusted source to inspire your next read, especially if they know what kind of stuff you enjoy.
I’m also starting to warm up to the idea of eBooks as “mini” social networks where like-minded readers can get together to interact, discuss and learn more about books they’re interested in.
What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
I just finished The Circle by Dave Eggers. It raises a lot of interesting questions that are worth thinking about.