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In what may be the most blatantly honest (and refreshing) epilogue post ever written by a startup, Readmill announced today they’ll be shutting their doors and the team will move over to Dropbox.
Henrik Berggren, Readmill’s CEO, summed up the struggles the company faced in trying to create a social reading app:
Readmill’s story ends here. Many challenges in the world of ebooks remain unsolved, and we failed to create a sustainable platform for reading. For this, we’re deeply sorry. We considered every option before making the difficult decision to end the product that brought us together.
Readmill’s ambition of creating a more social, enriched reading app for consumers was admirable, but in the end I think it was hard to create an additional reading layer beyond what consumers used in their e-reader of choice. As a rule, consumers nearly always choose the path of least resistance in consuming content, and I have a feeling using Readmill was one step too many for most. Add in the difficulty of trying to monetize a software app that really wasn’t central to the e-book purchasing process, and it becomes self-evident why the Readmill experiment didn’t work.
I’m intrigued to see what the team does at Dropbox. It’s intriguing to think how the social reading and annotation capabilities created by Readmill could be used by the collaboration and sharing service.