One of the first things that Pinterest did when it bought Instapaper from Betaworks 2 years ago was to make Instapaper's premium service free for all users.
Now that Instapaper is independent (and responsible for its own funding), that benefit is going away.
From the Instapaper blog:
This year Instapaper celebrated its tenth birthday and, now that we are an independent company, we’ve been thinking a lot about the next ten years of Instapaper and beyond.
To ensure Instapaper can continue for the foreseeable future, it’s essential that the product generates enough revenue to cover its costs. In order to do so, we’re relaunching Instapaper Premiumtoday.
As a reminder, Instapaper Premium is a subscription for $2.99/month or $29.99/year that offers the following features.
In addition to getting access to Premium features, your Instapaper Premium subscription will help ensure that we can continue developing and operating Instapaper. Our goal is to build a long-term sustainable product and business, without venture capital, and we need your help to achieve that goal.
If you decide to not subscribe to Instapaper Premium, you will continue with a standard free account without access to Premium features.
In related news, they have also restored service in Europe. Instapaper had previously cut off its EU users when the GDPR compliance deadline came up in May 2018, but now it's back - and furthermore, they're giving EU users a free 6 months of Instapaper Premium to make up for the downtime.
While the new charges for Premium may bother some users, it was the obvious result of Instapaper going independent.
Furthermore, it is better than the alternatives, which are Instapaper selling our data, getting paid to insert adverts into our archives, or shutting down.