I think a lot of readers are like me, spend a lot of time either on the browsers or on email or on RSS or news reader. I think (no prove) that at least 50% of the articles or emails we can read and forget. However, there are may be 20% of those articles will take longer to read, more time to digest, or we want to save it for later use or reference.
This is where the read-it-later service comes in. Some readers may be familiar with Pocket and Instapaper. These are the two mainstream apps / services. Since then, there are a lot of new apps / services pop up in the market. Some are a blend between bookmark service, some have purpose designed reader app. These reader apps enable the user to read without distraction from ads, highlight. This is a killer feature as a lot of internet sites, including those from major newspaper and blogs have ads in scatter in the articles. Personally I find this very distracting to read. App like Pocket or Instapaper has reader mode to remove those distraction.
The other features of the read later service includes
- saving an archived copy of the online article. This will enable the reader to keep a copy even if the online article is taken offline
- highlighting. Some readers find this help to remind them of the important part of article. These can become the excerpt for the readers without having to re-read the whole article
- Making notes or annotation. Personally, I find this most useful for me. I believe there are studies to prove that it helps the readers to digest and memorise the key points of the articles if they re-write the key content using their own words. The process involve the read to first browse through the content, think deeply on the complex points, then digest and assimilate the key fact or identify important gap or provoke further thought on the issue. With the ability to make notes or annotation, it helps me to record a digital copy of my thoughts on the content.
Currently I am using Instapaper as my mainstream read-later service. However, there are two apps that I recently discovered and am trialing –
They are similar in many ways and different in some. Both have most of the features mentioned above. One advantage of Matter over UpNext is the ability to sync the highlights and notes to Obsidian. UpNext does this by syncing the highlights and notes to Readwise, which is an excellent service but the more powerful feature requires a paid subscription. Readwise itself will be releasing their own read later service.
I shall be keeping a very close eyes in this area. I may provide an update later when the two new apps are more matured. Watch this space.