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How to Save and Read Articles and Long-form Web Content on a Kindle

The biggest advantage the Kindle Paperwhite has over the flashier, multi-purpose Kindle Fire is that it does one thing really well: it provides a top-notch reading experience in a variety of contexts—at home, on the go, upright, on your back, in the dark and in bright sunlight. The Paperwhite’s singular focus (no apps, games, or video) makes it the ideal tool for distraction-free reading. Not only is it great for consuming ebooks, it’s also excellent for reading articles and long-form content found on the web (this is how I consume much of the content highlighted in my weekly link roundup and Substack newsletter). Moreover, using the Kindle also equips you with the device’s excellent annotation features which can be referenced, shared and even used with 3rd party tools like Readwise.

The trick, of course, is transferring web-based content onto the Kindle. All Kindle e-readers include an “Experimental Browser”, but it’s notoriously bad and the page rendering is painfully slow (frankly it’s been labeled “experimental” as long as I can remember). The better solution is to use tools that will take text-first content and convert it into a Kindle readable format. Thankfully, there are a number of niche tools that do exactly this.

What follows is an overview of some of those solutions; I’ll start with my preferred tool and then cover some of the alternatives.

FiveFilters.org’s Push to Kindle

Push to Kindle is easily my favorite tool for getting web content onto my Paperwhite. It’s not the most feature-rich solution, but it is the best tool for sending individual articles to a Kindle. Best of all: it’s free (there’s a premium tier too, but the free tier is sufficient for all but the most active users).

Push to Kindle offers are number of tools to accomplish this:

Once the target content is identified either by pasting a URL or by clicking a button or bookmark, Push To Kindle returns a page where you can provide details about the dedicated device email address, formatting options, and an article preview.

You will need to whitelist the FiveFilters sending address before submitting your article. Amazon requires this step in order to prevent unwanted spam from invading your Kindle. Here are the instructions for setting up Push to Kindle.

One reason I like Push to Kindle is that the service smartly removes all the extraneous navigational cruft and advertising from the target website. Instead of sending a verbatim webpage, Push to Kindle sends you just the article contents of the page: text and images (much like a browser’s “reader view” does). You can omit the images if you want only want text to be sent. To do this, look for the edit link on the preview screen and toggle images off.

Push to Kindle is reliable and fast: I haven’t experienced any delays I’ve sent via this service (as opposed to occasional delays from Amazon’s own “Send to Kindle” service).

You can register for a free Push to Kindle account which saves your default settings, or you can use the tool without an account (and just furnish the requisite information as needed).

The service uses a credit system. Users are given 30 free credits each month to use; each credit allows you to send a single article. Beyond that, users are expected to signup for a modestly priced premium tier that offers additional credits (via FiveFilter’s Patreon page). For instance, the lowest tier, $1/month, doubles the available credits. Alternatively, you can purchase the Push to Kindle (which bears the inconsistent app name “Push for Kindle”—it’s the same company, FiveFilters.org). It’s a one-time purchase of $3.99, but as far as I can tell, users of the app have no such credit limitations.

FiveFilters.org offers two other useful and free tools that Kindle enthusiasts will appreciate:

  1. PastePad: This tool allows you to send arbitrary text input into a simple web editor to your device device. For instance, if you wanted to send a multi-paragraph excerpt from a document to your Kindle, you can do so with PastePad. In some instances, you’ll encounter websites where Send to Kindle is unable to extract the text contents. When this happens, PastePad is a decent fallback solution (copy, paste, and send).
  2. Txtify: This is a tool for converting articles and webpages into plaintext—all images, scripts, links, beacons—are stripped from the output. This tool can also be used in conjunction with PastePad for certain types of content.

Other Single Article Solutions

Amazon does offer a “Send to Kindle” feature. It functions like Push to Kindle in that you can send a single article at a time to your device. You can learn more from this page. You’d think because it’s Amazon, it would be the best tool, end of story. But I’ve had mixed success using it. It lacks the preview feature of Push to Kindle and, in my experience, doesn’t deliver contents as reliably. For that reason, I mostly avoid Amazon’s solution for sending articles (it is useful to send documents to Kindle as an email attachment using Send to Kindle, you can read more about this feature here).

Another popular option is Tinderizer. It also sends one article at a time to your Kindle. It requires no account and is free to use, but you must whitelist the Tinderizer email in your Amazon content preferences in order to use it.

If you want to send multiple articles to your Kindle, there are multiple services that offer this: Instapaper, SendtoReader, P2K, and Crofflr. Each of these services allows you to bundle multiple articles and send them to your Kindle as a single digest or ebook. This is a convenient feature that makes it easier to manage your articles; why deal with multiple article files cluttering your Kindle when you can collate articles into e-books containing numerous articles?

This feature is particularly helpful when you are dealing with a series of articles that are meant to be read in sequence. There’s no shortage of this kind of content on the web. Here are a few examples:

The implication is this: You can effectively assemble an ebook from freely available content and consume it on your Kindle.

Now let’s briefly look at the different services:

Instapaper is a versatile app (web, iOS, Android) that lets you collect articles to be read later. Basic features are free, but advanced features, including the send to kindle feature, requires the purchase of either a monthly or annual subscription ($2.99/month or $29.99/year).

Instapaper let’s you bundle article into collections. You can automate this process (e.g. send unarchived articles to my Kindle every day at 3pm) or you can send articles on an ad hoc basis. Instapaper sends the article collections in a digest format: a single file that looks like a e-reader magazine. I prefer the basic e-book format to the digest format, but barring some UI differences, they’re functionally equivalent.

SendtoReader (web) is the most expensive of the four offerings. It costs $6/month (no annual discounted pricing). Fortunately, it does offer a 14-day free trail, so you can try before you buy. One thing SendtoReader does well, is that it gives you way more flexibility and control over the e-book output than the other services. The Kindle book tool lets you rearrange the order of the individual articles in a collection. Moreover, you can add arbitrary sections of text if you like. This is a neat feature since it means you can add your own commentary or notes in between the articles.

P2K (web) is a paid service that must be used with a read-it-later app called Pocket (web, iOS, Android). Pocket is the main competitor to Instapaper. Like Instapaper, you use Pocket to collect articles from the web. Pocket offers free and paid tiers. P2K integrates with Pocket and functions as a 3rd party “export to Kindle” feature. P2K offers both free and premium subscription tiers. In order to access the power of P2K, you will need a premium subscription (the lowest premium tier runs $3.99/month or $2.99/month with an annual commitment).

Once setup, P2K lets you automate delivery of article collections or send ad hoc collections. Despite being more expensive and more cumbersome than a standalone solution like Instapaper, I prefer the customization options and delivery format (which is closer to a standard e-book) of P2K to Instapaper. I also wish P2K made it easy to reorder articles when bundling content like SendtoReader. That said, this is my favorite of the four solutions in this section.

Crofflr (web) is yet another service that will bundle your articles and send them to your Kindle. Like P2K, Crofflr is not a standalone service. You will need to use either Pocket or Pinboard (a bookmarking service that costs $22/year). Crofflr requires a $5 upfront payment after which you can make unlimited use of its capabilities. This is the only app of the bunch that I haven’t tried, so I cannot offer any opinion on the tool itself.


Sidenote: Calibre is a free desktop application (Windows, MacOS, Linux) that can be used to create article bundles. You can learn more about these specific capabilities and other features of the tool by visiting the Calibre User Guide.


Concluding Thoughts

Here’s a chart to summarize what’s available when it comes to sending articles and web content to Kindle e-readers:

AppPricingNotes
Push to KindleFreeSingle article. Paid tier for heavy usage.
Send to KindleFreeSingle article.
TinderizerFreeSingle article.
CrofflrPaidCollate articles. Requires Pocket app or Pinboard.
InstapaperPaidSubscription. Collate articles.
P2KPaidSubscription. Collate articles. Requires Pocket app.
SendtoReaderPaidSubscription. Collate articles.

If all you need are individual articles, Push to Kindle is easily the best option. If you want to be able to collect and bundle articles into ebooks, you have several decent choices, but most of them will require a recurring subscription.

 

If I've missed any tools you use to send and read content on your Kindle e-reader, do let me know.



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