British startup Readbug may follow in the footsteps of services like Spotify or Netflix by offering access to content, magazines, in this case, for a flat, monthly fee, but that is where the similarities end, as this particularly service is targeting an audience interested in trendy, independent titles that they might otherwise have difficulty tracking down.
Readbug, which sells subscriptions for 9.99 pounds per month, lists the magazines on their website, offering a short description and, occasionally, information about how frequently the publication is printed. One of the aspects of the service that I like is that they offer access not only to current issues, but the ability to check out previous editions of the publication. It is worth noting that Readbug is currently only available for iOS.
For those who may yearn for the days when you had to pick up a print copy of your favorite magazine, Readbug says that they plan to facilitate the purchase of physical copies of any of their 50+ titles when they roll out new features early next year.
Readbug, which launched in early 2014, has opted not to reveal figures regarding their users. Although the startup reports obtaining undisclosed backing from “digital product studio” ustwo, the founders of Readbug have also turned to Seedrs for several crowdfunded investment campaigns. The first two were successful, with the startup first offering a 14.24% stake in exchange for just over 74,000 pounds in July 2014 and then 13.88% in exchange for just over 202,000 pounds in February 2015. Now, they are back for even more, seeking another 500,000 pounds in exchange for a 12.5% stake. The startup says that this latest campaign is to fund improvements of the app, to enable them to add to their catalog of titles, and to boost the profile of lesser-known magazines. Towards that end, they have pulled in more than 104,000 pounds.