Saving something to read later, in Instapaper or Pocket, doesn’t mean that you’ll ever actually get around to reading it. A company called Blackstrap aims to fix that: It will print all of your read-later articles into a $15 book. “If an article deserves a little time, then Blackstrap it: choose the ones you want to linger over and we’ll print, bind and send them to you, to enjoy undistracted,” the company says.
Blackstrap’s Tyler Fonda tells the Huffington Post, “We had been thinking a lot about slowing down the digital flow. So we formed an LLC called Molasses in honor of that thought. Blackstrap is the most distilled, viscous version of molasses. We thought that was fitting for this product.”
To make your book, you log into your Pocket, Instapaper or Twitter account through Blackstrap and then select which articles you want in print form. (On Twitter, you’re selecting links from tweets you’ve favorited.) Each book can be up to 74 pages long. Shipping in the U.S. is free. Turnaround time is 10 to 15 days, though the company told me it’s working on making that faster.
Blackstrap says its service doesn’t run afoul of copyright law: You can only print an article from a given URL once, and the company’s terms and conditions specify that users can’t make copies of their books. “We believe that the service we provide is merely allowing our customers to ‘space-shift’ digital content they are interested in reading offline,” Fonda told HuffPo.
So is anybody actually going to use this? $15 plus the wait for shipping seems like a lot for a service that can largely be replicated by printing articles at your desk — and the blog-to-book services that sprang up around the time that blogs got popular never really took off. It made me think, though, that Pocket and Instapaper should consider adding an option that would let users export all their saved articles into a single PDF. At the very least, as the image shows, Blackstrap’s resulting product is a slim volume that can fit neatly into that stack of magazines you also never get around to reading.