If I described to you a service that was very well designed and allowed you to save articles you read on the web for later reading on devices such as your iPhone, iPad, and Kindle. What company would you, an educated technophile, assume I was talking about?

What if I said the apps on iOS were fantastic1 , that the service is essentially free (though with premium upgrades) and had an API that allowed it to be used by other services (like Twitter apps and Reeder)?

You would probably guess I am talking about Instapaper, but in this case we are talking about Readability. Because Readability has gone out and decided that trying to get people to pay publishers when they read their articles is too hard and that being a middle man in that transaction isn’t that effective at improving the bottom line.

But what’s the difference, why choose Readability? I have no clue because while the service touts on their blog that it is free, CNN’s Mark Milian scoops:

The free version of Readability will limit users’ inboxes to 30 articles each, and they won’t be able to access links saved in their archive folders until they pay the $5 monthly fee. Sending an inbox full of articles to a Kindle will also require a subscription.

Sounds fantastic.

It could turn out that Readability has figured out some magical way for making the “Read Later” crowd yearn to pay them, but with Instapaper being free for everything except search and a one-time iOS app purchase (of $4.99, what you would have to pay monthly to Readability) they are going to be hard pressed to win over users.

  1. Supposedly, I cancelled my account so I won’t be trying them. 

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