Instapaper Is A Must

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There’s nothing new about online bookmarking. What makes Instapaper so amazing is not what it has… but rather what it doesn’t have.

If you’ve dabbled with tools like Delicious and Google Bookmarks, then you know that there is no lack of online (and free) tools to help you organize your online content and share it with others. Instapaper has been around for a while, but what makes it that much more powerful is how well it now integrates with an e-reader and the iPhone. That’s the real win here (but even if you don’t have a digital reader or an iPhone, it is still worth checking out).

Read it later.

Instapaper has a very basic sign-up process that then allows you to place a bookmarklet that says "Read Later" in your browser bar. Any time you come across a piece of content online that you don’t have time to read at that moment, you can save it for later without ever leaving the page or clicking/typing anything additional. Simple and basic, and that’s the point. On top of that, you can then download everything you are saving into PDF, Kindle and ePub format – essentially creating your own magazine of worthwhile content (say goodbye to physically printing all of those interesting articles and Blog posts). Instapaper also formats the content in a highly readable and visually appealing way.

Going mobile.

Though there is a free iPhone application for Instapaper, the full version (at $4.99) is worth every tiny penny (you can compare both versions here: Instapaper iPhone App). With the app, you can read all of your content, archive it, set up specific folders and everything else that you can do with the online version. On top of that, you can actually save content to read later directly from your iPhone (it’s a bit of a workaround, but the instructions are very easy and clear to follow).

It’s basic, it’s simple, and it’s easy (yes, it bears repeating).

Unlike other online bookmarking tools that enable you to share (like an online social network) or that have multiple fields to rename the title, add tags, etc… Instapaper keeps it simple (one click and it’s saved) and that’s what makes it so powerful. Coupling that to the e-reader and the iPhone app make the circle complete. If you like to read and consume information online, this is the grand slam homerun of content management.

Do yourself a favour and get Instapaper.

(both Hugh McGuire and Matthew Forsythe have been talking up Instapaper for a while… I finally "get it" – thanks guys!). 


  1. In case some people want to consume links on their computers rather than on the Kindle or the iPhone, another application that I’ve been using for a long time, Read It Later (basically the exact same thing) has a quite good Firefox plugin that includes complete and easy management of their read-it-later lists + tags etc…
    I agree also that spending the $5 on the pro version of these apps is completely worth it. The few more additions that the pro versions bring to the iPhone app i found have done a good job of reducing those few barriers to taking out the phone and getting to reading while on the bus or street car.
    Getting into the routine of consuming your links in Text-Mode I’ve also found as a great way to increase reading productivity. First off it makes reading articles on less than readable sites just that much easier, and there is really no better way to consume content on the iPhone than through a nice and simple text mode. Secondly it helps just reduce visual distractions, gets rid of all those ads, and will help you get into a routing of load->make readable->read-> and repeat.

  2. I too discovered Instapaper a few months ago and it changed my blogging/twitter life just like the iPhone originally changed my mobile life. It works seamlessly with both Tweetie 2 and Newsie (my preferred Google Reader client). The ability to re-organize my links via the folder systems is something that Google Reader and other clients just doesn’t have, but is such a simple concept.
    In any event, great post Mitch, and love the blog design. Keep up the great content!

  3. Instapaper is great – I use it all the time!
    In all due respect, you overlooked one of the best features of the pro version – Tilt Scrolling! The ability to scroll pages simply by tilting the iPhone is incredibly useful. I wish all iPhone apps supported it!
    I use Instapaper’s tilt scrolling every day while working out on the treadmill. I clamp my iPhone to the treadmill (using the “In Your Face” gooseneck mount), open Instapaper, enable tilt scrolling (scrolling at a very readable pace, not too fast or too slow) and I start my run! It works great and it makes my exercise go sooooo much faster! I get a LOT of funny looks at the gym, but who cares? It works great for me! Thanks, Instapaper!

  4. Just wanted to thank you for pointing this out. I’ve been looking for a solution like this, since my browser is littered with tabs of articles/posts I want to read but never get to. I have Evernote and I’m still getting used to it, though it’s not as simple as Instapaper.

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