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Instapaper is now free for everyone

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

Until November 1st - 2016, Instapaper Premium cost ₹ 200.12-per-month or ₹ 2001.15-per-year. A Premium subscription offered users a series of extra features above the regular features accessible for free. But now, the premium features are free for every user.

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Instapaper makes it clear about opening free premium features for all, on its blog :
Which means all users will now have:-

  • 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 charged for the service. They will also be awarded “prorated returns” on their current subscriptions. This change indicates Instapaper now offers some features for free that Pocket only offered to paid users.

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So, What’s the offer?

Pinterest’s recent takeover of Instapaper seems to be the main reason behind this change of policy. Pinterest acquired Instapaper in August, and less than three months later, Instapaper is cutting its paid option.

This has actually raised concerns amongst existing Instapaper Premium users. Some think that without a uniform flow of funds, development will now slow to a crawl. Others think that when a product becomes free, the users become the product via data collection and targeted advertising.

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Instapaper has tried to allay those concerns, with Instapaper’s Brian Donohue explaining, “Our operational cost is low, and now that we’re owned by Pinterest we can concentrate on providing the best results to our users”. 

But only time will tell if users are right to be worried.

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