As much as I hate to type it, Readmill will stop existing on 1st June 2014. My life depends on testing and writing about apps and services, so it’s safe to say the amount of apps I come across is way north of a “butt load”. Naturally, I can’t use all of them every day and a lot of them get lost on my iPhone’s homescreens and buried on top of newer, better apps.
Readmill was one of the few apps that made it to my iPad’s dock. This was last year when I used the iPad to read books (before I got the Kindle), mostly technical books with code examples and Readmill did a great job at formatting it all no matter I was using the iPad or the iPhone.
That’s not it. Readmill pioneered social reading. Yes, Goodreads exists but Readmill’s experience was more personal. Like Facebook for readers. You could follow readers, see what they were reading, highlight and share sentences, comment on their people’s highlights and a lot more. And all of this without ever leaving the app.
Most of all, Readmill let you read your own DRM free ebooks in ePub or PDF format. You could import from the website or Dropbox or locally. This along with read position synchronization is why I fell in love with Readmill.
Readmill had (hundreds?) of thousands of users (exact data is not public). But no monetization plan. So, Dropbox acquired it for $8 million and the service was no more.
The fact that Readmill had to shut down, means you won’t find an exact replacement. But there are other apps like it out there. Let’s see how close we can get.
You know how I found out about Fastr Books (iOS, )? On almost all the articles I read about Readmill’s demise there was a comment about Fastr books made by one of the people behind it. They know how to make a move when opportunity strikes.
The app is not without substance. In fact it is the closest to Readmill and offers features that even Readmill didn’t.
What You’ve Got Covered
- One-click import of your books, comments and reading progress from Readmill.
- Adding your own books (device, iTunes, Dropbox) and syncing read positions between devices.
- Social element of following users and your own book newsfeed.
- Fastr books will still be working after 1st June, so it’s got that going for itself.
- Kidding aside, there’s a stellar speed reading mode that allows you to read at up to 1000 WPM using the RSVP method.
- 5000 free ebooks at your disposal.
- It gives you a lot of font options which Readmill was surprisingly lacking.
- Fastr also has its own ebook store where it’ll be happy to sell you ebooks for real money so it can continue existing.
Of course, Fastr is not all sunshine and meadows. The app is buggy and in my testing, it crashed once or twice during the signup process. (more on that below).
It offers the social sharing features of Readmill. You can also see what your friends (or users you follow) are reading and interact with them. You can upload your own books as well.
But it doesn’t support Adobe DRM ebooks or PDFs.
Other than that it’s a solid replacement for Readmill, focusing more on reading features.
Reading Adobe DRM Ebooks
Readmill allowed you to read Adobe DRM ebooks. If you shop from places like Kobo, that’s what you get. If your major collection lies in this protected format, you can use an app called Bluefire Reader (iOS, Android) to read Adobe DRM-protected ebooks and sync the last read location between different devices.
It Won’t Be The Same
It might sound a bit stubborn but I’ll take the risk. All three of these are great apps in themselves but none of them holds a candle to Readmill. Fastr is so obsessed with adding flair and unnecessary features that it is ignoring the core user experience (and stability). It took me a day to log in to the app and when I use Twitter to log in, the app just crashes. One good thing about Fastr books is that at least my books, comments and highlights from Readmill will live on.
Bookmate is a lot more stable but lacks many Readmill-specific features and Bluefire is just for reading Adobe ebooks.
The basics: Feature-rich ebook reading apps like iBooks and Aldiko still exist on mobile platforms. If cross device sync and social reading features don’t interest you, check them out.
I’ll Keep Looking
Sadly, my journey for a true Readmill replacement is still going on. As the apps update and get better or any newer apps come out, I’ll be testing them and updating you about it.
Last updated on 03 February, 2022
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