Readability Intros Subscriptions To Pay Publishers For Focused Readers

Readability, a browser plugin that strips away web clutter to make focused reading easier, is growing and changing tack, by introducing a subscription fee to support publishers of read articles.

The outfit is introducing a $5 monthly fee, paid through Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN), $3.50 of which is promised to publishers.

“Every time a subscriber uses Readability on your site, a portion of that subscriber’s fees are allocated to you,” the firm says. “Publishers and writers get compensated for the content you enjoy. Everyone reads happily ever after.” Publishers must register with Readability, they can embed a Readability button on their articles and they get access to a statistics dashboard.

Readability may have felt compelled to start paying publishers. Whilst, on the web, it does nothing more than invoke Javascript to strip out everything bar essential article text, it is also releasing iPad and iPhone apps that allow users to access the same text. The apps let users read from a list of articles they select on the web for reading later, like with ReadItLater or Instapaper.

There doesn’t appear a compulsion to pay – the existing Readability browser plugin continues to work just fine. Readability is not the only service to pare down digital reading lately – several browser plugins are available; on iPad, the Ongo and Flipboard apps employ similar thinking. Readability’s original codebase powers some of these. The Long Reads website is trying to encourage people back to reading feature-length digital articles.

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Readability – Enjoy Reading, Support Writing from Arc90 on Vimeo.