10 Apps & Sites That Bring Back the Joy of Reading

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5. Read It Later

A direct competitor of Readability and Instapaper, Read It Later is a San Francisco-based startup founded by Nate Weiner that provides a variety of tools for saving articles you find on the Web and reading them later, on almost any device. You put articles into your queue by clicking on a browser bookmarklet, or by selecting the Read It Later function built into Flipboard, Zite, and more than 250 other apps. You access your queue using the browser version of Read It Later or the native Read It Later apps for the iPhone and iPad, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, or Android smartphones and tablets.

That’s the whole story. Because it offers native apps for so many devices, Read It Later is unquestionably the most full-service of all the minimalist reading apps. So the choice between Readability, Instapaper, and Read It Later comes down to which devices and services you use most, as well as your design preferences. I’d say Readability is the most elegant of the three systems, Instapaper is the most geek-friendly, and Read It Later is somewhere in between. As far as I know, Read It Later is the only player in this niche that has collected a substantial amount of venture funding—$2.5 million from Founder Collective, Foundation Capital, Baseline Ventures, and Google Ventures.

[Update 5/25/12: In April 2012, Read It Later rebranded itself as Pocket and released a redesigned app that’s much more visually snazzy. See my interview with Nate Weiner.]

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Wade Roush is the producer and host of the podcast Soonish and a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @soonishpodcast

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  • Joy, clarity and excitement I thank you to make me feel
    Reading deep within your verses disguised in sentences
    Trembling I can still feel the tremors and the aftershocks
    So intense yet recomforting to assure metaphoric guidance
    Testimony the Light is bright today and reflects the entrance
    Of an enchanted future opening the pathway to the existence
    Of man life on Earth the universal wonder of Love and romance
    Fortunate I will be to capture its metaphysical awe of significance
    Free of worry I am pushing away the darkest faces of Life sentences
    Hunger, thirst, loneliness only were the blur of the abusive obstinence
    But not another word about this as it time to rise again always in advance
    Aware we are all connected to a magnetic power of each other audiences
    Clearing off the air of a sweet home protected with electronic clairevoyance..