E-singles publisher and long-form journalism site Byliner has launched a new iPad app that aims to match readers with content based on how much time they have to read.
While Byliner CEO John Tayman called the app “very much a version one,” he said “the ultimate goal is the same as our company goal, which is to deliver a perfect story to a reader at the right time.” Before releasing the app, Byliner launched an HTML5 version of its site a few months ago in order to monitor users’ reading habits. And while it also began testing its subscription product, Byliner Plus, on the web, Tayman says that the app is “clearly” going to be Byliner’s ideal “subscription delivery mechanism.”
On Byliner’s website, people were “finding things to read, then reading in lean-back mode” on tablets later, Tayman said. “It became obvious pretty quickly that things were going to be possible within a native app that weren’t possible on the web side.”
Within the app, users can adjust a bar to select how much time you have to read, and the app pulls up articles that can be read in that amount of time:
Moving forward, Byliner plans to add more social features to its app. While it’s already showcasing its writers’ recommendations (for example, you can see, in the first image in this post, articles recommended by Byliner author Jon Krakauer), the company wants to place more emphasis on those recommendations and also add recommendations from guest curators. Readers will also have the option to recommend stories to others by delivering them to other users’ “nightstands,” which are essentially read-it-later lists of Byliner content.
I asked Tayman whether the company might consider partnering with existing read-it-later services like Pocket. He said the company’s preference is to keep readers within Byliner’s app because writers get paid every time one of their articles is read within the Byliner system. But he said we’re “fans of and friends with” Pocket founder Nate Weiner and that the company will “seek to work with them in ways that are appropriate.”
Byliner, which is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2011, has 18 full-time employees. The company recently hired Deanna Brown, who was CEO of Federated Media, as president and Jeff Gomez, who was formerly at Penguin, as head of writer marketing.