The app acts as a curated collection for all the Substack newsletters subscriptions, kind of like an RSS reader specifically for Substack writers. Users can view a feed of the latest newsletters they subscribe to instead of sifting through all the other spam and work emails in their inbox. The app provides a reader view for these posts too. In addition, the app brings in all the post comments that one would find on the web version of these newsletters.
Substack says its news app is beneficial for its writers, too. Readers will be able to easily access all of the content they subscribe to, including podcast and video content. Plus the app’s discovery page will help subscribers find new writers they might be interested in as well.
Hamish McKenzie, the company’s co-founder, shared his thoughts on the new app on Twitter, likening it to an RSS reader. He even invoked an old favorite from Google that was shut down years ago, Google Reader.
McKenzie mentions that in addition to curating Substack newsletters, the app can also pull in any RSS feed, mingling your favorite blogs and websites with the platform’s newsletters. This feature is hands down the most interesting feature. Is Substack planning to go further down the RSS reader route with its app? It likely depends on how many readers actually use it. Again, RSS readers are still reeling from Google Reader’s closure. While there have been successful replacements, many still feel that what made Google Reader so great has yet to be replicated.
Substack has faced its fair share of controversies in recent years. Some writers have left the platform due to the company’s stance on content moderation and misinformation. Its new app won’t really affect that in any way, but perhaps it can help strengthen the company’s argument that it’s committed to diverse content.
The Subtack app is currently available for iPhone and iPad. An Android version is also in the works.