Two of my favorite tools for distraction free reading online are Safari Reader and Instapaper. At the moment it’s a 60/40 split for me, as my primary browser is Safari and it’s just so easy to use.

But don’t dismiss Instapaper just yet, there are several features and a recent announcement that have folks excited about it, but more on that later.

I enjoy the ‘pure’ feeling you get when reading on a Kindle, for example, no ads, no popups, no sidebar information that may catch your attention and pull you away from the article in front of you.

Most of the time when I want to read something and focus on it, I click the Safari Reader view which strips out everything from the web page except for the content and images related to the content. The reading experience becomes enjoyable again without the distraction; we have enough of those already.

You can also set a preferred font and text size when going to Reader view. Another cool thing about Reader view is that it’s available on iOS. Reader view is not a replacement for surfing but rather a way to read an individual page.

Here is a quick video that demonstrates Safari Reader view.

Save on toner when printing?

I will admit that when I need to print a page, and that’s not often, I switch to Reader view and then print. Printing using Reader view saves on toner, as I only print out the relevant material and not the ads, etc.

My other favorite tool for distraction free reading is Instapaper. When I am in a hurry or on the go, I usually clip and send my web page to Instapaper for reading at a later time. I then pick up my tablet or phone and being reading without all the clutter.

One thing to note, sometimes some images may not get included in the new rendering, but I suspect that has something to do with the original website itself.

I love both Instapaper and Safari Reader view – they both serve the same purpose of presenting the content in an enjoyable way to read. But wait, with Instapaper you get more!

Instapaper is available as a free or paid version, which they called Premium. The premium version offered several nice features that extended the product. But…

Instapaper premium now free for everyone

Good news! On Nov 1, Instapaper announced that they are offering the Premium version for free. I suspect this has to do with the recent acquisition of Instapaper by Pinterest.

Either way, this is great news for folks who love the product and a way to increase the adoption. Some of the features offered to everyone;

  • Full-text search for all articles
  • Unlimited Notes
  • Text-to-speech playlists
  • Unlimited speed reading
  • “Send to Kindle” via bookmarklet and mobile apps
  • Kindle Digests of up to 50 articles

If you haven’t tried Instapaper, I suggest you give it a go, and I think you’ll enjoy it. It’d be nice if they could have Reader view in Google Chrome or even add that feature to Instapaper. That way you can read the article and if you decide to save for later, just hit a button.

There is another product called Readability that I used in the past (which has recently shutdown), but I find Safari Reader view and Instapaper work for me.

If you’ve tried Instapaper or Safari Reader, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. If you use something similar, I’d also like to hear about it. Thanks for reading.