Readwise Reading App

Readwise has been building its own fully integrated reading app. It’s a more powerful, more flexible version of the classic read-it-later app. From newsletters, RSS reading, Twitter threads, web highlighting, read-it-later, and PDFs, Readwise is looking for their Reader app to be the one-stop place for power readers to get all of their reading done. They’re working on features from instant syncing, to highlighting images, to powerful search, also:

  • It’s made to handle modern and established content alike, from Twitter threads to PDFs, and everything in-between.

  • It serves both casual and power users, with the flexibility to accommodate a variety of consumer, professional, and academic use cases.

  • It’s designed with a local-first, cross-platform architecture enabling blazingly fast interactions and full-text search across all of your devices (even offline).

  • It connects seamlessly with all your other tools for thought such as Roam Research, Notion, Evernote, and Obsidian.

  • It embeds powerful workflows to help you conquer content overload — one of the most acute pain points of read-it-later power users.

  • It’s being actively developed with responsive customer support and rapid feedback loops informed by beta testers who are already reading in the app for hours a day.

Readwise reading app is still in private beta because it’s not ready yet for self-serve onboarding, but they’re letting in friendly beta testers. If you’re an existing Readwise subscriber, you can be among the first users to gain access to the public beta once it’s launched. If you wish to gain earlier access (or you’re not already a Readwise user), sign up to join the waitlist for the private beta.

I am really looking forward to this app. I’m already sold on Readwise and being able to put the entire read-it-later workflow into one app (with all these features) sounds great.

Retaining Knowledge with

I read a lot in areas ranging from the finer points of cooking gumbo to recent developments in California trade secret law. For a long time now, I’ve done this reading digitally. I read long-form articles in Instapaper and books in the Kindle app on my iPad or directly on a Kindle device.

I have friends who lament about reading books digitally. They tell me about the experience of reading paper books and feeling the weight of it in your hand. I remember when paper books were the only option, and I remember their weight alright. I remember how heavy my bag was with three or four books in it back in the day. I also remember how frustrating it was when I carried all of those books only to find I left the book I needed at home. So I am fully invested in the idea of digital books. I don’t need the feel of them, I just need them to be with me.

The convenience of digital books took on a new level for me recently with my subscription to Readwise is an online service that can sync with your Amazon Kindle account. Readwise can then look at your Kindle books and collect all of your highlights from a book. You can then export your highlights as a Markdown file to add to your research notes on the book (or use any other way that makes sense to collect highlights).

My workflow is:

  1. Read the book, making digital highlights.

  2. Collect and export the highlights from to my notes app.

  3. Read the highlights and make a second set of highlights of the highlights.

  4. Summarize critical points in my own words.

In addition to automatically collecting highlights from my Kindle account, it does the same thing with everything I’ve highlighted in the Instapaper app. There are several more connected services, including Pocket, Medium, Hypothesis, Goodreads, Airr, Feedly, Apple Books, and Twitter. They even have a way to save to Readwise with an extension on iOS. If you’ve read other books without digitally highlighting them, Readwise can share a list of their most common highlights from that book as well.

Another cool Readwise feature is the option to send you a daily email with a collection of highlights from all of your resources. Every morning, I spend a few minutes looking through this list at ideas I thought were important enough to highlight. It’s one more way Readwise helps you retain what you’ve learned.

The system is all digital, all searchable, and always with me. I’ve done variations of this since I was in college in the ’80s. This is, by far, the best implementation.