Save Now, Read It Later

I started refining my informational diet in the past couple of weeks. I’ve noticed that I’m getting tired of my standard social media feed, and even Youtube feels like I’ve watched it all. And so, I went on to look for interesting content on the internet. Going down this rabbit hole I signed up for over 15 email newsletters and mailing lists on various topics. I’ve read through quite a few articles as well. In fact, I read so much during this I can’t even remember what I was reading about. But for that moment, my need for new content was satisfied.

Then the newsletters started arriving.

The Problem

My inbox was flooded in a matter of days. Unlike the usual marketial spam, these were all emails I wanted to read, or at least skim through. I kept putting it off because the task of going over 50-60 emails is pretty daunting. At some point I started reading, and ended up with more tabs open than I ever did during my university research years. Needless to say, this wasn’t going very fast.

Some articles were a light read, while others proved to be a real mental exercise. I tried skimming through the less interesting topics but would always end up getting stuck on a paragraph I found particularly interesting. Not to mention that with this amount of reading in a short period of time I barely retained any information.

Enter Read It Later Apps

I know I’m pretty late to the party – read it later apps are popular since before the whole world moved on to video content as a default. But if you’ve been sleeping on them like I have – these are nifty apps that allow you to save articles from around the web to read later from within the app (and offline, too!). There are several apps like this, keep reading for a list of the best ones I found!

Aside from saving me the hassle of keeping heaps of articles in my browser’s favorites (both hard to access on mobile and requires an active internet connection), reat-it-later apps helped me to gain more from reading less, and carefully curate what information I actually want to be consuming.

The Perks

I don’t get overwhelmed, having to read everything right this moment

A lot of the newsletters that find their way into your inbox are worded in a clever way that makes you curious about their content. It’s only natural to want to read them right that moment. However, for me it also results in anxiety-inducing pressure. Saving the article to where I know I will definitely see it again helps negate these feelings.

Another layer of filtering

When saving articles for later, I get to look through them more than once. This gives me another chance to give up topics I’m not really interested in and was rather just hooked on the interesting title. Overall, this results in me reading less items, but of higher quality.

Offline Reading

I’ll admit, I’m addicted to my phone as much as the next person. But without internet access, most of the smartphone’s appeal goes away. At least for me, the only thing that’s still working are mind-numbing games, like solitaire. I get quite a few data-free moments a day (usually in transit on the train) that don’t warrant carrying a book around – physical or digital – but are just right to read an article. These are the moments that reat-it-later apps shine through.

Reading At My Own Pace

When content is pushed onto me (e.g. sent to me by email), my urge is to “get it done”. In case of newsletters – much like the physical thing – read and throw away. But by saving the interesting pieces for later, I gain a few more options. While e-mail in my mind is directly tied to productivity, reat-it-later apps are a place for education and inspiration. I am far more likely to re-read articles several times or take notes when I’m reading something from outside of my email inbox.

Easy Trigger

I doubt that anyone opens their email when they just want a small break on their phone. 99% of the time the app of choice will be some form of social media. Then, in some cases, a five-minute break turns into a two-hour long scroll of doom (hello TikTok). In my case, all it took is a stupidly-simple hack: put the reat-it-later app icon where the TikTok icon used to be. I can still go to TikTok if I really want it (and sometimes we all do, it’s a good app) – but my muscle memory automatically opens up a reat-it-later app when I’m bored. And if I’m already there – why not read something?

The One Downside

With all the positive effects of reat-it-later apps, it’s tempting to save heaps of articles and newsletters into this magic app. Here we get into another problem, that many information-hoarders know all too well: you can never keep up with everything you saved. Eventually, you end up overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information *within* your reat-it-later app!

I, however, find that regularly opening the app (thanks to the placement hack I mentioned earlier) and skimming over what I’ve saved, getting rid of (or archivnig) irrelevant articles, keeps that monster at bay. This helps me to read items almost at the same pace of adding new ones to my collection. Not to mention that most reat-it-later apps have intricate systems designed to help you organize your whole tiny-library.

My Top 5 Read It Later Apps…


The OG. It’s so OG that it was originally called “Read It Later”. This is what I currently use. Has a heap of organization and discovery features, though somewhat capped at the free version.


Closest alternative – missing some features and smoothness in my opinion, but still good. Also has a free and a premium version.

Honestly I think this would be a winner in this list… if it had offline access. There’s a feature request from 2016 that’s still in review so it’s a nope from me.


Great for privacy. It’s open source, can be self-hosted (if you’re into it) and has all the important stuff. But unless you do want to self host… it’s 9 a year. Still the cheapest “premium” out there! But there is no longer a free hosted version past the free 14-day trial.


This one is for the people who already use Evernote for something else. Only 2 devices and no offline option on the free plan. The premium plan is a powerful note-taking app that can also serve as a read-it-later app with the Evernote Web Clipper – but definitely not worth it to be using as solely a read-it-later app.

… And Two Apps To Be On The Lookout For

These are a couple of apps I’m on the waiting list for and think would be good contenders to the existing read-it-later giants.

Readwise Reader

Still unreleased, looks very flexible and promising. Yet to announce a price range or pricing model, but I think nowadays it’s safe to assume a subscription-based model.

Matter Reader

This. I really want to permanently switch to Matter Reader. It’s sleek, works wonderfully, exports to any app under the sun… and is only available on iOS/iPadOS for now. Oh, and did I mention it’s FREE?? I’m eagerly waiting for it to arrive to Android, but honestly I might switch to iOS before that happens.

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