Ten years ago, after thirty years in journalism, I invented a new vocation for myself.

I became a professional reader. I co-founded The Browser, which required me to read as extensively as I possibly could, and then recommend each day to Browser subscribers five or six pieces which I thought most worthy of their time.

I worked out that I was looking at about a thousand pieces of writing each day.

When I started dropping that figure into conversation, people would quite reasonably ask how I could read so much.

I would explain that I developed a workflow, which relied heavily on RSS feeds, Twitter feeds, bookmarking and read-later services. I would go to a blog or a homepage only if no feed was available. I would speed-read my feeds, bookmark anything that looked interesting, and save it to read later offline.

It was clear to me that this browse-bookmark-save-read process was a seamless one. I wanted a reading process without distractions, complicated features, and pop-ups. Why did I not have it in one place? And, while I was about it, wouldn’t it be great to see what other people who shared my topical interests were also reading?

That was the train of thought that led towards Gentle Reader.

I reached out to Nicolas Granatino and Jeremy Davies at Cronycle with the idea for Gentle Reader. We had long discussions about aggregation and discovery, and they observed that they could build the Gentle Reader app from the codebase that they already had. Indeed they could, and did!

We’ve tweaked and tested Gentle Reader to make sure that we have something of value for gentle readers in general, and not just for me. We’ve stuck by the principles with which we started, and are incredibly excited to share the app with you.

Robert Cottrell