Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Read It Later

Update (June 2012): Since this blog post was written, Read It Later changed its name to Pocket. Most of what I wrote at the time still applies except that the iPhone app is now completely free, and my recommendation still stands.

A New Year’s Resolution of mine has been to use a reading list service to store up articles to read at a later date. If you’re like me you follow quite a few people on Twitter and a large number of feeds in Google Reader, and coming across a lengthy article means you have to stop skim reading. It interrupts your flow and isn’t very convenient if you’re short of time – like on a 20 minute train journey to work for example.

So I signed up to Read It Later, which allows you to add articles to a reading list, and then, as the name implies, read them later. The reading can be done either in a web browser (there’s an official Firefox extension, and unofficial Chrome, Safari and Opera extensions), on an iOS or Android device, or in a third-party app. You can either view the web page as is, or view it in ‘text view’ which removes the design and just shows the plain text, for easier reading.

There are also a number of apps which support the adding of items to your reading list. Most Twitter apps seem to, including the official iOS app and TweetBot, my preferred Twitter client. Similarly both Byline and Reeder allow articles to be saved. This means that, between Byline and TweetBot, I’m able to save most articles that look interesting but that I don’t have time to read. For anything else, there’s a bookmarklet for Mobile Safari, and, as you may expect, ifttt has some recipes for it.

Read It Later is free, as are its official apps although a Pro version for iOS is available at the reduced price of $3 (£2) – normally $5. This sets it apart from its main competitor, Instapaper, which is free to use on the web but the iOS app is $5 (I’ve seen references to a free app but it’s not available in the UK). I chose Read It Later on this basis, but you may prefer Instapaper.

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