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.

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