On May 3rd, 2021 we launched Readup Subscriptions – the new, paid version of Readup.

It was actually a series of deployments that took place over the course of several days, starting with an announcement to our existing community of readers that they could be among the first to upgrade to a paid account. In doing so, they could see the marketplace in action and watch their fees go directly to the writers they read.

A few days later, the new iOS app was approved “for sale” in the Apple App Store. And at midnight that night, we discontinued the creation of free-for-life accounts for all new readers.

From our perspective, that really felt like the official “cutover” from old Readup to new Readup. All existing readers could keep reading for free, but new readers now had to pay to read on Readup.

This is by far the biggest update in the history of Readup. It took six months to design and implement, but we think of it as the culmination of five (!) years of hard work.

Readup is now a fundamentally different organization and technology, way more than just a free, fun utility. Readup is now a marketplace. Real money is moving around on the platform.

Now, finally, we don’t have to talk about our “proposed” or “intended” solution to what people refer to as “surveillance capitalism” and/or “the attention economy.” The solution is done, real, and alive.

The solution involves hundreds of features (three subscription levels and a custom pricing option, writer profiles, writer verification, new navigation and menus, etc) but, all things considered, the whole shebang is actually quite simple:


You pay (whatever you want) to read on Readup. Readup keeps 5% and distributes the rest to the writers you read. No advertising. No distractions. And no invasion of your privacy.

So far so good. As I write this blog post, we have earned over two thousand dollars for writers, and we’re just getting started.

The people who are reading on Readup right now are true pioneers. We owe everything to them. We’re looking forward to folding writers into the mix, and we have some more exciting announcements on the horizon.

For an in-depth look at Readup’s new Subscriptions product, please enjoy this 3-minute demo video: