Blog Post

Dropbox acquires and absorbs reading app Readmill; app will be shut down

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Dropbox has acquired the iOS (s AAPL) and Android (s GOOG) ebook reading app Readmill, and the app will be shut down. Readmill confirmed the news on its blog Friday following a TechCrunch report Thursday.

Readmill was a Berlin-based startup that had become popular for the clean, streamlined ebook reading service it provided; its support for Adobe (s ADBE) DRM meant readers could buy ebooks from platforms like Kobo and Nook (s BKS) and then read them on Readmill’s apps. In recent months, Readmill had added a book discovery feature and partnered with the Guardian, the Atavist, startup Livrada and nearly 100 other independent publishers and digital bookstores to let them sell ebooks directly through their websites.

That’s not the part Dropbox was interested in, though. Readmill’s technology also allowed users to share and leave notes for each other within ebooks and it sounds as if that’s the reason for the acquisition. In its blog post, Readmill said:

“Our team will be joining Dropbox, where our expertise in reading, collaboration and syncing across devices finds a fitting home. Millions of people use Dropbox to store and share their digital lives, and we believe it’s a strong foundation on which to build the future of reading.”

Dropbox isn’t providing an e-reading app:

Is Dropbox creating a reading app similar to Readmill?

No. But since reading on screens of all sizes is essential to work and life for so many, we’ll be approaching similar challenges in new ways at Dropbox.”

TechCrunch pegged the acquisition price at around $8 million and said Readmill’s team, including co-founder and CEO Henrik Berggren and co-founder David Kjelkerud, will be moving to Dropbox’s offices in San Francisco.

“Many challenges in the world of ebooks remain unsolved, and we failed to create a sustainable platform for reading,” Berggren and Kjelkerud wrote. “For this, we’re deeply sorry. We considered every option before making the difficult decision to end the product that brought us together.”

4 Responses to “Dropbox acquires and absorbs reading app Readmill; app will be shut down”

  1. Alberto Betancourt

    judging from the article, i conclude the following is true:
    first, it is a sad thing that the popular e-reading app Readmill has been gobbled up by a would be giant company and that it may no longer continue in operation, or at most that it may become integrated within the ulterior interests of dropbox;
    personally i think the program Readmill had a lot of energy and popularity and its usage was of greater interest to consumers of the ebook market. so as a stand alone software, it would have been better if they, both the readmill and dropbox managements, would have just left Readmill alone, improving and integrating its functions within other programs developed by dropbox in the future. i mean we are talking about a company “readmill” that, in my understanding, has a market potential of becoming more valuable in the top 100s millions, and especially as it increases in functionality and usage and hence becoming more popular.
    to me this corporate acquisition tactics by dropbox is just plain wrong and typical of the 80s mergers that were seen as pure corporate evils. so if killing off a good decent developing program is the thing to do for dropbox, well then it is not right.

    second, i also believe that the program Readmill was acquired way too cheap! 8 millions is not even close to the market value that this program would have had, and if it had entertained an IPO it may have produced in the top 100s of millions more than likely.

    so that is my opinion, dropbox got a good program/company cheap and at that price (8 millions) it can afford to drop off a great company that had a strong potential of becoming something great in the future.

    zaplix, ny