Just a few years ago I used to have a lot of subscription on monthly, weekly and daily magazines and newspapers. Yes the classic paper editions that were delivered at my home. There are a lot of problems with these ‘information’ products which eventually made me cancel everything.
The daily newspaper is of course always outdated, and I didn’t want to keep paying for the comics, some columns and the football (p)reviews. I tried the weekend edition, but the subjects of the deeper analyses articles seem to be chosen completely at random. It’s just a gamble what they come up with every edition. Bye bye Telegraaf and Financieel Dagblad.
I’ve read Elsevier, a big weekly magazine on politics and current affairs, for many many years. But, they got lazy with republishing some big multipage ‘stories’ every year (tips on doing your taxes around tax time, tips for your holiday around the summer etc.). The political news analyses are not really better than the ones you can find for free online and their tech articles are just a joke. Bye bye Elsevier.
I also had a subscription to the largest weekly football magazine in Holland (Voetbal International). Since a few years ago they have two 90 minute talkshows each week, which I can listen to for free while driving to work. Also the magazine mostly covers the bigger teams, in which I don’t have any interest. So bye bye VI.
But, once in a while these magazines or newspapers have one or even a few articles that I really do want to read. For example when the football magazine has a big article on my team. My strategy was to quickly read that specific article from the supermarket news stand during shopping and thus not paying for the €4 magazine. Not really a good strategy since I might miss some interesting articles and this only works with the magazines (and not with newspapers; too much hussle).
So luckily there now is something called Blendle. Blendle is a website that can be seen as an iTunes Music Store for articles. So how does it work? Blendle gives you access to (almost) all available magazines and newspapers in Holland. You can scroll through them and if you see an article that you like, just click it to read it. Each article has a price, mostly ranging from €0,10 to €0,25. So instead of buying a full magazine for maybe a few cool articles you can now just get that single specific piece you actually do want to read.
Moreover, it gives you direct access to a bunch of titles that you wouldn’t ever consider buying, like the local newspaper (Eindhovens Dagblad) which might cover a big story on the future of your neighborhood. So this is great! I have been using Blendle for a few weeks now and love it. I now only pay for what I want to read.
The website has some good karma in it. If you accidentally click an article you can revert that without costs (first 15 seconds are always free). Also if you don’t like an article for whatever reason, you instantly can get your money back. Good vibe!
Blendle is still in beta and only accessible for a few lucky ones like me. They are adding new titles every week. For a first release the current functionality is already great. You can follow people within Blendle and you can share your favorite articles. These can be seen in your ‘following’ timeline.
For the second release they should really improve this system. There are no categories to select interesting people to follow from, so it seems like a list of random celebrities. Also you can only connect to Facebook right now to find other people on Blendle. Twitter is not working yet.
It would also be cool to share article links over Twitter to get the sharing system outside Blendle, so you don’t have to log in every day to check if someone has shared an interesting article. The Twitter timeline will then remain the core location to find good stuf. Next I always like an iOS app over a HTML5 website (although the website works very good, on both Mac and iPad). And, to make this thing really übergreat they should add some international titles (Time Magazine, NY Times) to the catalogue.
Check it at Blendle.nl.