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Why Read It Later improves web reading productivity

:: Monday, March 15th, 2010 @ 12:32:39 am

:: Tags: , ,

I read a lot, and much of what I read lives on the web. However, I rarely actually read documents on the web, preferring to read them offline during time away from the computer (e.g. when I’m waiting in line for something).

Instapaper and Read It Later are two services that reduce the queuing of articles for offline reading to single click actions. I happen to use Read It Later because of flexibility in apps (Instapaper focuses on iPhone), but they are both fantastic. Both offer free versions of their iPhone apps1 and paid $4.99 Pro versions that support things like HTML caching (as opposed to text-only reading). I find the pro versions to be worth every penny of their cost.

Here’s a 1-minute demonstration of me pulling an entry from my journal into Read It Later:

I’ve not found a good way to use Read It Later on my Kindle (Instapaper is supposed to have decent Kindle support), but this isn’t such a big issue because I find the iPod Touch to be more than suitable for reading articles offline. Also, the device is always with me. Instapaper also supports list sharing, which is something that might convince me to switch over, but I suspect that in practice, I’d rather just read the things that my friends tweet about because the act of explicit sharing doubles as a filter for good content.

Other apps I use also support Read It Later, including Firefox (via add-on), Google Reader and NewsRack (iPhone), Tweetie 2 (iPhone), and mobile Safari. This covers most of the applications I use to read online content, so anything I read can instantly be flagged for offline reading on another device.

If you are a consumer of web articles, you absolutely need to get on one of these services. They’re both free, so there’s no excuse not to do so!


  1. Free iPhone apps: Instapaper, Read It Later
    Pro, paid iPhone apps: Instapaper, Read It Later 

| San Francisco, CA | link | trackback | Mar 15, 2010 00:32:39
  • http://www.thinkoholic.com markus

    thanks for the recommendation, eric! this is very useful. i’ve just downloaded paperdroid to my android phone.

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