Instapaper is a pretty simple idea – click their bookmark, and the page you’re looking at is grabbed by their server, and fed to your iPhone (or iPod Touch) when you next sync the app. The app on the iPhone fetches the content of the pages (optionally including graphics and layout), and lets you read the articles offline later.
Because grabbing a page to read later takes a second or two, you do it.
Because reading the articles on the iPhone is quick and easy, you do it.
I’d figured that it was important to me to keep an archive of all the articles I read in Evernote, so I sent pages there to read later. I had to tag them, and put them in a ‘reading’ notebook. If I wanted to be able to read them offline, I had to open each one on the iPod (I have an iPod Touch, not an iPhone), wait for it to download, and mark it as a favourite so it would be stored locally. After reading, I had to move them to the ‘archive’ notebook, and remember at some point to turn off the favourite tag so they wouldn’t take up space on the iPod any more. In the midst of doing any of those steps, Evernote would quite often exit without warning.
I didn’t do it.
I realised at one point that I hadn’t read any of my ‘to read’ articles for weeks. I installed Instapaper Free, let go of the idea of automatically storing everything permanently, and got back to reading lots of articles. Then I paid for the full version of Instapaper Pro, supported the development and use of the server, and enjoyed using the extra features even more.
I do still use Evernote, but not for stuff to read. I’d love for Instapaper to be able to send anything you archive to Evernote automatically, as nothing I’ve found yet beats Evernote as a general dumping place for any old bits of information.