Read it Later vs. Instapaper

Read It Later logoI have become a fan of two com­pet­ing prod­ucts, Instapa­per and Read it Lat­er.

These appli­ca­tions sit in your brows­er, and allow you to quick­ly archive a web­page for lat­er read­ing. They clean up the web­page, remov­ing ads and com­pli­cat­ed script­ing, so you just have the text you want to read.

Instapaper logoYou can then read the con­tent in your brows­er at their sites, on a mobile phone, or on a tablet. Instapa­per will also allow you to con­fig­ure con­tent col­lec­tions to show up on your Kin­dle. Both are inte­grat­ed with a great site full of longer arti­cles, longform.org, allow­ing you to quick­ly choose some read­ing before you catch that plane and lose your inter­net con­nec­tion.

In terms of geneal­o­gy, I use these tools to gath­er his­tor­i­cal pieces, such as the arti­cles the New York Times is doing on the sesqui­cen­ten­ni­al of the Civ­il War, “Dis­union,” as well as more top­i­cal items, such as John McPhee’s 1987 New York­er piece about the Army Corps of Engi­neers and its attempts to con­trol the Mis­sis­sip­pi Riv­er, Atchafalaya: The Con­trol of Nature. (That was top­i­cal then, and is top­i­cal now; I found it on longform.org.)

Instapa­per allows you to for­mat the sto­ries for print­ing; Read it Lat­er has a great (and not too expen­sive) iPad app that auto­mat­i­cal­ly cat­e­go­rizes the con­tent. I find Read it Later’s web inter­face to be more attrac­tive, but some of the fea­tures of Instapa­per to be more com­pelling, includ­ing Read­abil­i­ty inte­gra­tion and Kin­dle auto-deliv­ery.

I’m not sure which one of these I will choose yet, but I know I will have a lot of read­ing at hand.…

Anoth­er site to note is Read­abil­i­ty, which is free for sim­ple cleanup of pages you come across, but costs $5 (or more if you decide to make a dona­tion) if you want to save them for lat­er. 70% of the pro­ceeds are pro­vid­ed to the authors and pub­lish­ers of the con­tent.