History of Instapaper

Craig Gunnel:

Read-later services have come and gone since Instapaper’s debut, but the original survives. The app and service both remain free, although you can opt for a ‘premium’ subscription, which adds archive text search, text-to-speech and speed-reading functionality.

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Q&A: a brief history of Instapaper

We speak to Instapaper co-founder Marco Arment (also of Overcast fame) about the birth and development of the app and the secret of its success.

Marco Arment:

It intentionally had no social features — I designed it solely for personal utility, not sharing or promotion. Instapaper was the first service that combined quick saving with a text-optimized reading view and offline access.

No social features are the very reason Instapaper has always been my read-it-later app of choice. Newer apps like Matter and UPNext have a heavy emphasis on social and less so on the reading experience.

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Instapaper has never been a mainstream tool – rather, it has always. appealed to the most die-hard readers and nerds. These groups are relatively small but extremely loyal and passionate, and so Instapaper just needs to keep overheads low and customers happy to have a sustained, long-term business.

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