Readability: Save Web Page Text to Read Later

Readability is a great app and web service that does one thing, and does it extremely well: allows you to save the text of webpages to read later, in a visually-optimal reading format.

Using Readability could’t be any simpler: download the free app, sign up for a free account, then add a bookmarklet or an extension to your web browser of choice to save pages for reading later. After saving some pages, when you fire up the app it will sync the new articles to your account. Readability parses the text of the webpage and reformats it in a stylish, text-centric view (which also includes any image in the body of the text). Gone is all the clutter and chrome of the web page, leaving you with just the content.

You can also visit the original page the article was saved from, and star articles you like, trash those you don’t and archive thrones you’d like to keep on hand.

There are similar services like Instapaper and Pocket that do roughly the same thing as Readability, but after giving all of them an honest go (I was a heavy duty Instapaper user until Readability came out), I’ve settled on the big R as my main “read later” service. The design, speed, fonts and text display are just so well done for reading that it puts the others to shame.

All of these services store your synced articles offline, which is handy for airplanes trips or when you are in a location without internet access. Apple recently added the “Reader” and “Reading List” features to the Mobile Safari browser on iOS, but these require an internet connection to read the articles and the text display while adequate, just isn’t in the league of Readability.

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