“Social Reading Platform Acquired by Dropbox, Shutting Down by Summer” The headline informs, and the letter from Readmill’s founders touches users (and not-yet, now-never-will-be, users as well), but a real explanation comes out more in comments and pick-up publications. The social reading platform–where readers could comment and share experiences of reading together–is joining Dropbox in an acquisition based primarily on absorbing the talented team, because Readmill never figured out how to monetize their product.
In an era when getting folks to pay for content grows tougher all the time (I personally wait the extra day to watch a free Hulu TV show, and eschew shows not available therein), books are far from the exception to the rule. I avidly support the burgeoning development of new book publishing startups, but also increasingly realize that innovative business strategies, or sales models, is as important as the fascinating new technology. And, since it’s all exploratory, it takes risk. I send belated kudos to those at Readmill for taking a risk, and look forward to seeing what they might create at Dropbox.
However, I’m more interested in risks involving customer’s money, even when it’s my own.
“…Thank you for the time and attention you’ve contributed to this community. It has been a privilege to read together, and we look forward to meeting again, in new ways, in the margins.” — from Readmill.