I’ve been in love with the simple bookmarking service Instapaper for a few years now. The release of the iPad has made it even better. You see, my daily routine now involves using the Instapaper app on the iPad to read all of the longer articles I don’t get to while sitting at my desk. But quite often, it’s hard to find longer articles. That’s where Longreads comes in.
As a service on Twitter, Longreads has actually existed since April 2009. Over 7,000 people follow the account to get between three to five long article recommendations a day from various publications around the web. And today, the man behind the project, Mark Armstrong, is finally launching a website for Longreads. The idea, he says, is to create a sort of “Techmeme for long stories”.
But it’s also broader than that, Armstrong says. “The Longreads community is growing as people continue to look for material that’s perfect for their iPhone, Kindle and iPad. And these devices are changing the way people write for the web — it’s no longer just about short, snackable blog posts consumed at work when the boss isn’t looking; it’s also now about immersive, in-depth storytelling for people to enjoy during commutes, airplane flights and while sitting on the couch at home,” he says.
So what kind of articles appear on Longreads? Posts longer than 1,500 words, but shorter than 30,000 words. What’s nice is that Armstrong also breaks these down into approximately how long it will take an average person to read them. For example, a 4,000-word post may take 16 minutes. That’s perfect if you know you have about 15-minutes to kill.
The main purpose of longreads.com is to serve as an aggregator and archive for the service. Notably, it has a nice big search box that lets you search for long articles by topic or source. And you can filter articles based on what length you’re looking for.
Armstrong notes that he hopes Longreads will also help publishers better organize their longer content in a way that readers are going to demand going forward. And he’s clearly not the only one that thinks this type of demand is there. Amazon just announced their “Kindle Singles” — electronic content between the size of short articles and long books, between 10,000 and 30,000 words.