It's been a few months since we announced our work on Reader so we figured it’s time for an update on our progress, timelines, and the private beta!
When we announced Reader, we had just crossed a product milestone we called read-it-later parity. Basically, we had a read-it-later app like Instapaper or Pocket that worked across desktop web, browser extensions, and native iOS & Android apps (albeit with no onboarding and a lot of sharp edges).
Since then, we’ve made steady progress towards incorporating what we call all-in-one functionality including email newsletters, RSS subscriptions, and PDFs – not to mention hundreds of bug fixes, UX improvements, design upgrades, infrastructure fixes, and parsing enhancements.
We still have a lot to do before Reader is ready for the mainstream, but as we gradually add testers to the private beta, those early adopters in the read-it-later niche are loving it so far!
We often get asked if we have a date for when Reader will be released to the public. The honest answer is no, we don’t. It’s very hard to project a release date for a complex software project like Reader because both the product specifications and technological landscape change while we’re building.
That being said, we feel reasonably confident that we’ll shift from private to public beta within the next few months.
🧪 Private Beta
One area where we’ve definitely been moving slower than expected is with the private beta. This is for two reasons. First, we received vastly more interest than we initially anticipated. Literally, an order of magnitude more. Second, we thought we’d widen the funnel for onboarding sooner. In practice, it’s made more sense to continue manual onboardings in order to foster personal relationships, user success, and quality feedback.
As a result, we’ve been onboarding roughly ~10 new testers a week when we expected that number to be much higher by now. Typically, these testers are folks who’ve reached out to us and meet some basic screening criteria indicating that (1) they’d get value out of the product in its current state and (2) they’re willing to participate in a real beta. These criteria include:
✅ Existing Readwise Full subscriber (we have a duty to our paying customers!)
✅ Existing read-it-later / highlighting workflow (almost guarantees customer success)
✅ Very excited about the product vision (makes for a solid beta testing experience)
✅ Comfortable in Discord (where we conduct onboardings)
✅ North American or European time zone (one downside of manual onboarding)
If you’ve reached out and we haven’t yet responded yet, it’s only because we’ve fallen behind. We promise we’re working through inquiries as fast as we can and we sincerely apologize for underperforming here. We recognize it’s a gap in our process and we’re working on fixing it ASAP without sacrificing product quality or user experience!
👋 Wrapping Up
In addition to working on Reader, we continue to publicly ship updates to Readwise (what we’ve started calling Readwise 1.0). These include a handful of import integrations (Libby, Shortform, Diigo, and a very big one about to be announced) and export integrations (Obsidian v2, RemNote (very soon), and public API enhancements).
We thank you again for joining us on this journey and we hope you remain as excited about the future of reading for betterment software as we are! As always, feel free to reach out any time 🙏