Instapaper - Won Gi's Individual Project

History of Instapaper

In 2008, Instapaper started out as a simple web service called “Read Later” bookmarklet and stripped-down “Text” view for articles. When Instapaper was launched publicly, it became famous and popular by its simple design and service. Instapaper is basically a paid app and the company is offering its app for $3.99 on Apple store and $2.99 on Android. Also, if a user wants extra service such as “Full-text search”, a $1/month subscription is required.

How does Instapaper work?

To use Instapaper, you have to sign up for an account from the website or the app. Once you have an account, you can simply tap the Web icon and it opens an address for an URL. While Instapaper’s rivals like Pocket asks you to install a bookmarklet into mobile and requires few setups, Instapaper provides simple tap button called “Read Later “ in the upper-right corner of the screen to bookmark the page. Saved sites synced to the Web version of Instapaper and you can read the saved sites in simple context view even without wireless. Currently, Instapaper provides its service for computer, smartphones and kindle and has cross-device function.

What are Instapaper's strengths & weaknesses?

  • Strengths

• Instapaper lets you save the web pages you can’t read at that time and lets you read later even without Internet.
• Compared to other “Read Later” rivals, Instapaper has very simple design to remove any distractions for the reader. This allows for the reader’s full attention to be on the text.
• You can simply add new stories to your reading list by using the bookmarklets or browser add-ons or you can even email the web page links to a specific email address and the underlying web page will be automatically saved to your reading list.
• Instapaper serves up many sharing options. You can share links to others via email, Evernote, Facebook, Pinboard, Tumblr, and Twitter. You can also sign into any of those services to find friends and which articles they like.

  • Weaknesses

• Instapaper is not free. It costs $2 to $5 to use the service while there are other free “Read Later” apps.
• Browsers started “Reading List” and “Read Later” services similar to Instapaper.
• It does not support PDF files.
• Since all your readings posted on website, there might be security issue.

The Future of Instapaper

Marco Arment created and ran Instapaper. But recently, he sold a majority stake of Instapaper to the company, called Betaworks where there are more resource and staffs to shine Instapaper. The future of Instapaper is now depending on how Betaworks develop the app. But, I think the competition between Instapaper and other free “Read Later” services from Pocket and web browsers are more serious problem at this moment. Instapaper should provide the service that is worth $2 to $5. Otherwise, it will lose its customers.