Their goal was to create a digital publishing company for original longform storytelling in the realm of science, technology and the future.
They hoped to raise $50,000. Instead, they raised more than $140,000.
Today we’re thrilled to announce that MATTER and Pocket have teamed up to help readers enjoy these new stories with Pocket—on any tablet, phone or computer, even offline.
When you subscribe to MATTER for 99 cents a month, it means you can also access their stories in Pocket. Using our Site Subscription feature, you’ll be able to quickly save MATTER stories to Pocket—and when you’re in Pocket, you can log into MATTER to begin reading it.
Pocket has become an important tool for millions of people, and we’re excited to help publishers like MATTER make it easy for their subscribers to save and enjoy those stories anywhere.
We talked with MATTER co-founder Jim Giles about the launch.
How did MATTER first come together?
It was a combination of frustration about science and technology journalism, together with the emergence of a new business model. Bobbie and I feel that there isn’t enough really great long-form reporting on sci/tech, particularly investigative work. We know lots of sci/tech reporters with strong stories to tell and nowhere to publish them. Then we saw The Atavist and Byliner make a success of what’s being called the “singles” model: selling individual long-form articles on e-reader platforms like the Kindle store. We figured we could adapt that model and use to publish this missing content.
Why did you decide to use Kickstarter?
There’s an obvious answer: it’s a great way to raise money. But an equally wonderful thing about Kickstarter is the community that you build by raising money on the site. We’re now connected to over 2,500 people who really want MATTER to succeed. We want to use this community to help guide the evolution of MATTER. The first step is collaborative commissioning—we’ve using an online tool called All Our Ideas that allows communities to prioritise ideas, in this case stories.
What are your own personal reading habits? (i.e. What devices do you use? Where do you find your reading material? When do you do most of your reading?)
I’m a huge admirer of the traditional homes of long-form journalism, places like The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s and the New York Review of Books. I prefer reading them in print, but I now do more reading on my iPad. I have a long Pocket list! I’m also excited by the long-form material that’s being published by blogs. Wired’s Threat Level blog has published some really strong pieces and Adrian Chen at Gawker has had a string of excellent pieces recently. There are also some startups that are producing very thoughtful stuff, like Aeon Magazine in the U.K.
How much is in your Pocket list? And does that concern you? (It shouldn’t!)
Hold on…okay, just checked. About 15 long-form articles. But I’m about to get on an 11-hour flight, so that’s no bad thing Top of the list is “The Man Who Smelled Too Much” in LA Weekly.
Where did you go for design inspiration when it came to your site?
We wanted to create a clean, clutter-free reading environment. We also wanted to make the pieces feel valuable. I hope we succeeded! I’ve been looking at the site for so long that I can’t tell. For inspiration, we turned to sites like Fray.com, The Great Discontent and The Bold Italic. But, most importantly, we were lucky enough to work with an amazing team of designers at Clearleft in the U.K.