Brijit is an interesting new service that supplies magazine abstracts for those of us too busy to read through every print publication we're subscribed to. If you don't subscribe to print periodicals anymore, you might want to skip this review. I subscribe to quite a few and really like what Brijit aims to do. The service says it "aggregates the world's best long-form content and abstracts it in 100 words or less." The company got a nice long write-up in the Washington Post today, but I'm sure potential users would rather read my shorter take on it here.
There are about 60 magazines that currently make up the core sources you'll find abstracts for on Brijit. They range from Foreign Policy to 60 Minutes (so beyond just print) to Playboy (insert "I read it for the articles" joke here, if you can figure out how that would work in this case).
Abstracts are written by paid freelancers who get $5 per accepted abstract. In other words, prolific readers and writers will write up these review/abstracts for fun and Brijit will pick up the tab at a nice dinner every once in awhile. I think that's a pretty viable value proposition for many chronic magazine readers. Does it scale economically to be paying for the abstracts? This angel funded company is no doubt aiming at high-end advertisers targeting upscale magazine readers, so I think it might work out quite well.
The abstracts come with a rating, from zero dots (reading this article is not a priority) to three dots (exceptional, a must-read, not to be missed.) The reviews/abstracts I've seen are helpful and interesting; I now know which articles I'm going to make sure to read in the newest Wired, for example.
There's a comments field, ratings, affiliate links to subscribe to the publications and links to read articles online where possible. There are RSS feeds all over the site, which will make the difference between visiting Brijit once and keeping an eye on the highlights over time. The site has an austere but usable design. I'm really impressed.
I've probably said too much though, already, as this has been far more than 100 words. Check it out for yourself and subscribe to some feeds; you'll likely feel better informed after just a handful of months and you could feel more justified in still getting those wonderful, old fashioned print periodicals delivered to your house.