dotdotdot Reader: Social Reading, Free of Distractions

There are plenty of services and apps to save articles to read later, and there are other apps that will strip the extra formatting out so the article is easier to read, and there are still more services that let you save pages to create notes. Not all of that works great together, though, and very little of it allows you to discover brand new-to-you content that’s interesting and informative.

The amazing dotdotdot Reader gives you all of that. Save articles and posts from your computer or on your iPhone, import them into a more readable format, and annotate and highlight as you read. There’s a great social component too, allowing you to see the comments of others on what you’re reading and find new stuff to read by following cool people with similar interests. Let’s take a look at dotdotdot Reader and see how well it manages all of these different features.

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Read All About It

Popping anything you’re reading into dotdotdot Reader gives you a distraction-free place to focus on your texts later, sort of like a combo of all the best of Pocket and Readability. There are a few different ways to get web text into dotdotdot Reader, and the easiest may be to use the browser extension on your desktop. You’re not dependent on a computer to use dotdotdot Reader, though. Within the app, you can add articles by pasting in a URL or by searching the Internet with dotdotdot Reader’s built in browser.

Your Library houses all of your texts.

Your Library houses all of your texts.

Any articles shared on your Twitter feed are available in dotdotdot Reader, too. Everything is presented as a timeline, but all updates that don’t include an article link will be removed. You can then tap on a tweet to preview an article as it appears on the original website and import it into your dotdotdot Reader library. This removes all of the extraneous formatting, ads, images and anything else that could get in your way.

Add texts from Twitter and Dropbox.

Add texts from Twitter and Dropbox.

The thing about dotdotdot Reader is that it’s social. You can follow people you know or who are interested in similar topics and see what they’re reading. The cool spot to be is your dashboard, where you’ll get updates about what people are reading, highlighting, and commenting on. There are two timelines here: your personalized timeline of just people you’re following, and a second, global timeline. The global timeline is unfiltered and clues you into what’s most popular amongst all dotdotdot Reader users.

Highlight and comment on an article. Add tags, too.

Highlight and comment on an article. Add tags, too.

When you read an article, you can make your own comments, too. Select any text, and then tap Comment. You can add your thoughts to the article and share your selection to Facebook. Enter some tags as well, to help yourself and others identify the passage in the future. When you’re done, save your comment and return to the article. On the right side, you should see a black circle with white rectangles, and if you don’t, tap somewhere in the article to make it appear. That icon reveals all of the highlights and comments in the article, including those made by other readers, so you can see what your peers have to say.

More Than Just Blogs and News

If you’re still looking for a nice ebook reader, dotdotdot Reader supports the ePub format. The app will connect you with a bunch of places to download DRM-free ebook content. You may already have some books locked and loaded though, and want to get those into dotdotdot Reader. That’s no problem when you connect the app with Dropbox. Just pop your ebooks into your Dropbox, and dotdotdot Reader can import anything in ePub format for you to read on your phone.

After you’ve gotten some articles and ebooks into dotdotdot Reader, you may not be sure how to find all of that stuff. Where did it all go? You can search tags and highlights by tapping the third dot at the bottom, but if you’ve just added the text to your library, you probably haven’t had time to add any annotations. Tap the second dot to get back to your library, and look to All Texts to see everything you’ve imported or Unread to grab just the stuff you haven’t had a chance to get to, yet.

Find what's interesting by following other readers.

Find what’s interesting by following other readers.

Making good use of dotdotdot Reader, you’ll be importing a lot of texts, and that All Texts bucket will soon be overflowing. It’s a good idea to get familiar with dotdotdot Reader’s lists sooner rather than later. Add a new list at the bottom of your library, and then tap and hold any document to drag it to your list. You can make a bunch of lists to get super organized, but everything’s still going to show up in All Texts, and you can always keep track of what you need to read in Unread.

Final Thoughts

This is where I admit I’m not a huge fan of reading on my iPhone. I mean, it’s a really small screen, guys; it’s never going to be my primary reader, and that’s a fact. That doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally find myself stuck in a waiting room or sitting in a queue without anything but a year-old subscription to Big Bucks and Fast Roadsters for New Moms Digest to keep me entertained. That’s where dotdotdot Reader comes in. I can browse articles that actually interest me in an interface that’s attractive with text that’s easy to read.

Even better, if I’m at a loss as to what I should be reading, I have all of the cool people I’ve chosen to follow and the global dotdotdot Reader timeline to point me in the right direction. It’s a great discovery tool for what’s trending right now, and the comments and highlights feature will provide extra context. dotdotdot Reader is so much more than just a simple ebook or news reader, as it connects you with everything that’s most important about everything you read.


Summary

Neat social reader. Keep up with articles on Twitter, too, and even import ebooks into the clean interface.

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