Tell Me More About Legible

Two people sitting on a hill outside discussing, the one on the left is writing in a notebook, the person next to them is reading from their phone. There is a person in the background sitting on a hill reading a book. Illustration.

Who We Are

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home. —Anna Quindlen

It may be that books brought you here. Perhaps, like us, you felt drawn to books from an early age. Perhaps you still find yourself pulled, like a magnet, toward local bookshops or libraries when you’re out and about. You still run your fingers over the spines on the shelf, still inhale deeply the scent—a kind of petrichor of paper and ink—as you walk into that bookstore or library. Perhaps books determine where you feel most at home.

Our love of books brought us here, too. We love the printed word, and we’re not ashamed to say so. But our love of the digital word brought us further than the local bookshop or library. And we believe our love of the digital word expands our capacity for enjoying the process of writing and the act of reading.

As authors ourselves, we know what it means to read and write beautiful books. We’ve experienced the hours of staring at an empty page that’s waiting to be filled. We know the work it takes to find the right words, pacing, grammar, and form. And we know the work it takes to find the right publisher, medium, audience, and platform.

As eBook developers and web designers, we also know what it means to read and write beautiful code. We believe that digital reading is its own unique experience, not a pale version of print. And we believe that digital books are kin to paper books, brothers and sisters under the skin.

Books are home to us, and we’ve built Legible to share them with you—readers, publishers, writers, and friends. Welcome home!

What We Value

Sustainability

At Legible, we’re committed to keeping print books and e-reading devices out of our oceans and landfills. That’s why we’re using already existing devices— smartphones and computers—to create a new platform for reading beautifully designed books. All you need is a web browser! But although 2.7 billion people worldwide have smartphones, until now, reading on mobile devices has meant compromising the reading experience of the book, which makes e-reading devices necessary. But even e-readers fail to preserve the full beauty of a book, so aesthetically, readers still end up preferring traditional print books to digital.

Enter Legible. Our technology eliminates the paper and electronic waste traditional books and e-readers create—all while preserving the integrity and beauty of books so digital readers can experience them the way they were meant to be. In fact, if adopted globally, our browser-based digital publishing and reading system would eliminate up to 410 million metric tonnes of carbon per year (nearly 1 percent of the world’s total carbon output). And if everyone switched from print books to the Legible system, the elimination of carbon emissions from book printing and shipment would reduce carbon output by a further one billion tonnes.

Accessibility

We know for sure that many great writers worldwide haven’t yet shared their stories and that many potential readers don’t have access to the books they need. That’s why we strive to provide equal access and opportunity—to bring more authors and readers together—by removing barriers to reading. With Legible technology, more writers can get their books out into the world, and more readers can enjoy them!

Since so many types of devices include web browsers, our browser-based system eliminates the need for pricey e-readers. This—along with a library full of books that users can read for free with advertising (coming soon)—decreases the socioeconomic barriers that come with having to purchase a book or e-reader. Additionally, we aim to meet the highest accessibility standards on the internet. The Legible website has an AA-AAA accessibility rating, and we continue to develop features that help people with print disabilities access the books they love without limitations.

Beauty

We believe beauty is as necessary to human existence as is air for us to breathe. And in literary terms, this means beautifully written words married to beautifully created design. Up until now, eBook platforms have ignored the importance of beauty and have focused instead on utility—getting the words on the digital page without considering the way the words look on the page. Well, we’re here to change that!

As passionate readers ourselves, we know the experience of reading is more than just the act of reading. There’s also the feel of the paper under your fingers, the pleasure of a beautifully designed cover, the size and type of the font, the way the paragraphs break across the page—even the smell of the ink. That’s why we work to translate the beauty of the page onto the digital page with every book we offer. We believe the digital reading experience should be so much more than just a pale version of its printed self!

Integrity

Integrity means showing up and doing what’s right. And in the literary world, it means putting the needs of authors, readers, and publishers first. But currently, digital publishing is more about profit than principle; more about duplicity than honesty. Digital publishing is like a walled garden, and huge corporations have set themselves up as the gatekeepers. To enter the garden, publishers have to abide by the rules these big corporations set. And abiding by those guidelines means that authors and publishers have to cut their revenue, compromise their design, and often even silence their voices.

Unlike these existing companies, we aim to provide a platform that listens and responds to the needs of authors, publishers, and readers alike. We strive to act ethically by empowering authors to bring their stories into the world, giving publishers the space they need to produce and distribute beautiful books, and connecting readers with the authors and books that speak to them most meaningfully.