Just seven months after its Series C round bringing another $13 million in funding, online document sharing company Scribd launched a new mobile application called Float. The new iPhone and web application compiles all reading materials (i.e. newspaper, magazines, blog posts, and books), into a single reading format. The app, which is free to download on the Apple App Store, is similar to Instapaper and Pulse.
Float is aimed at recreating a user’s personal libraries in an entirely digital format. The app collates content from more than 150 sources in the publishing industry, including the Associated Press, Fortune, TIME, and People Magazine. Float can also be used to read books and some blog posts; it picks out tweets and Facebook messages that include links to reading materials and incorporates them into the Float stream.
Float gets all content like photos and text from partner sites. The application displays the compiled materials into a vertical reading format with embedded photos. For easy reading, users can pinch to either magnify or shrink the text, and the “night-time” feature allows the text to change to white with black background, which is ideal for low-light places. Float users can access the app by using a Scribd or Facebook account.
The released of Float signifies Scrib’s foray into mobile publishing.
Float doesn’t have a software developer kit that will allow individuals to put their own content to the app. Scribd stated that Float will roll to other sites over time. Content published on the Scribd website is also going to be included in the app. The iPad version of application is going to be released soon, while Android devices can check out Float later this year.
Amazon Kindle App for webOS
The digital publishing industry has seen several developments lately, making the demise of Borders that much more indicative of today’s market shift. Amazon launched a new application in this realm—the Kindle app for the HP TouchPad. The app allows webOS tablet users to access to their ebook library and purchase new ones. International HP TouchPad users will still have to wait, as the Kindle app is currently locked to the App Catalog’s US version.
Amazon also announced a new program called “Kindle Textbook Rental,” which helps students save money in buying textbooks.
Kobo extends life without Borders
Kindle competitor Kobo will continue to operate despite recent liquidation of Borders Group Inc., an early investor and minority stakeholder in Kobo. The e-reader company said that owners can still continue using the device and shop at the Kobo Store just like before.
A Kobo spokesperson said today that in June, Kobo and Borders began to transition Borders’ customers’ accounts to Kobo proper; this move provided direct account access for those customers. And the spokesperson emphasized that Kobo continues its growth in the U.S. and Europe (with no mention that said growth might be affected by the Borders closure).
Time Magazine rolls out “All Access” subscription
In a move to help attract more readers, Time Magazine finally allows subscribers to avail of an “all access” subscription plan. The plan gives current print subscribers access to the digital version of Time, which is available on the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and HP Touchpad. This recent development comes after Sports Illustrated announced their all access plan.
Traditional media companies like Time are struggling to compete against digital publishers. With a lot of free content available online, traditional publishers will continue to look for more effective ways to attract readers.