Substack has announced a new iOS app is launching today to help subscribers read everything in one place. Simply dubbed Substack Reader, the app brings all of your subscriptions together in one area with new discovery features as well. This is the first development for improving readability since Substack partnered with the Panels app to allow for in-app reading.
According to the press release sent by Substack, the app also has new features for writers with more reliable delivery. Substack also promises updates and newer versions to the app as time goes on.
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It’s apparent Substack realizes a change was necessary and this app allows for an “alternative media ecosystem based on different laws of physics, where writers are rewarded with direct payments from readers, and where readers have total control over what they read. In this world, writers are rewarded for serving readers well, and Susbtack gets rewarded for serving writers well. The power is tipped in favor of the people, not the platform.”
Android users will have to wait for an app, but you can sign up for the waiting list here.
Given how cluttered an email inbox can get, this is a smart move for the company, especially for readers who don’t love email but do love the creators they follow.
Art by Michael Avon Oeming from James Tynion IV and Aditya Bidikar’s Blue Book.
For more on this news, read the official press release below.
Today, we’re launching an iOS app for reading. It’s like your email inbox, but better.
For readers, the app brings all your Substack subscriptions together in one venue, giving you a beautiful, focused place to read your favorite writers. Discovery features make it easier to find and fall in love with new writers, and the app brings text, audio, video, and community seamlessly together for the best reading experience on the internet.
For writers, your connection to your readers gets upgraded when they choose to install the app. As ever, you retain full ownership of your content and mailing list, but now you also get instant, reliable delivery (no more Promotions folder!), multiple media formats in a single package, and another way for readers to connect with you and your work.
As in everything we do, we see our work on this app as being in service to writers. This is just the first version, but it already reflects early feedback we’ve heard from writers. This app will keep evolving and we look forward to continuing to build with writers. We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.
Download the app for iPhone and iPad here.
For Android users, sign up for the waiting list here.
How the app fits into the big picture
We started Substack because we believe what you read matters and great writing is valuable. Great writing influences how you think and shapes how you see the world. It can change a policy, save lives, and start a movement. The cultural value of writing has always been clear, but in recent years writers have been given the impression that their work has little economic value.
The last couple of decades of the internet have eroded the media business and stripped writers – and other culture makers – of their financial dignity. Craigslist delivered the first blow, depriving the press of revenue from classifieds, and then Google and Facebook came along and sucked up the vast majority of online ad spend. As media businesses became more and more anemic, writers were relegated to content-production roles and playing attention games on social media, where “engagement” is prized above all else, including quality and truth.
It is clear to us that these problems can’t be solved with a tweak to an algorithm or a just-so regulation. Instead, the entire system needs to change. With Substack, we have set out to build an alternative media ecosystem based on different laws of physics, where writers are rewarded with direct payments from readers, and where readers have total control over what they read. In this world, writers are rewarded for serving readers well, and Susbtack gets rewarded for serving writers well. The power is tipped in favor of the people, not the platform.
The Substack app represents an important piece of this puzzle. The Substack framework has been flourishing based on email and the web, but now new things are possible.
The app helps bring together Substack as an ecosystem, giving you an icon to tap on your home screen that opens up a treasury of quality work by the writers you most trust. It is an app for deep relationships, an alternative to the mindless scrolling and cheap dopamine hits that lie behind other home screen icons. It offers a quiet space to read, where the work itself is given the spotlight and you’re not pulled into status games or trivial diversions. And it amplifies the network effects that already exist on Substack (did you know that if a reader is already a paid subscriber to a Substack, they’re 2.5x more likely to pay for yours?), making it easier for writers to get new subscribers, and for readers to explore and sample Substacks they might otherwise not have found.
You can expect new features and functions to become available as we continue to develop the app and improve the experience for readers, writers, podcasters, videomakers, community leaders, and more.
Download the app for iPhone and iPad here.
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