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Instapaper Premium Is Now Free For Everyone

Dave Parrack 02-11-2016

Instapaper is dumping its paywall and offering its premium features to anyone and everyone at no extra cost. This means all users will have access to the same version of Instapaper, with all the premium features that some people were previously paying for, completely for free.


Until yesterday (November 1st), Instapaper Premium cost $3-per-month or $30-per-year. A Premium subscription offered users a range of extra features Become an Instapaper Power User With These 6 Cool Features Despite an impressive adoption rate, a plethora of Instapaper features often remain unexplored. Let’s take a look at a few of them. Read More over and above the standard features available for free. But now, the premium features are free, meaning everyone has essentially been bumped up to Instapaper Premium.

As Instapaper makes clear in its blog post announcing the change, opening Instapaper Premium up to everyone means all users will now get:

  • An ad-free Instapaper website
  • 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

Existing Instapaper Premium users will no longer be billed for the service. They will also be offered “prorated refunds” on their current subscriptions. This change means Instapaper now offers some features for free that Pocket only offers to paid users 9 Ways to Get More Out of Pocket Pocket is the ultimate digital bookmarking service out there. Let's find out how to boost your Pocket experience with the right web apps and extensions. Read More . So expect Pocket to counter sooner rather than later.

So, What’s the Catch?

Pinterest’s recent acquisition of Instapaper Opera Launches a Free Android VPN, Pokemon GO Has Peaked... [Tech News Digest] Opera brings its free VPN to Android, Pokemon GO starts losing players, Pinterest acquires Instapaper from Betaworks, Facebook tests autoplaying videos with sound, and the hamster that thinks it's Super Mario. Read More seems to be the main reason behind this change of strategy. After all, Pinterest only acquired Instapaper in August, and less than three months later, Instapaper is dropping its paid option.

This has actually raised concerns amongst existing Instapaper Premium users. Some think that without a steady flow of revenue, development will now slow to a crawl. Others think that when a product becomes free, the users become the product You Are The Product, Not The Client: The Personal Data Economy Explained As Andrew Lewis once said "If you're not paying for something, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold". Think about the implications of that quote for a moment – how many free services... Read More via data collection and targeted advertising.


Instapaper has tried to allay those concerns, with Instapaper’s Brian Donohue explaining, “Our operational overhead is low, and now that we’re owned by Pinterest we can focus on just delivering the best product to our users”. But only time will tell if users are right to be worried.

Do you use Instapaper? If so, why Instapaper over the competition? Have you been paying for Instapaper Premium? How do you feel about Instapaper dumping subscriptions in order to open the premium features up to everyone? Please let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Johan Larsson via Flickr

Related topics: Instapaper, Note-Taking Apps.

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  1. brian
    August 15, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    I went to Instapaper's website today (8/15/18), and it still list "Premium" as costing an extra $2.99 per month. If I sign up using a credit card, will it AUTOMATICALLY eliminate the monthly charge?