/ Lifehacking

How I Hacked Reading Articles on My Kindle

I love reading on my Kindle. So much so that I try to read on it as much as possible - not only E-books, but any kind of long-form reading, ( especially Medium articles ;)) There are various forms of "send to Kindle" apps for Windows/OSX, Chrome plugins, even an official one from Amazon. The problem with all of them is that they send you the articles you bookmark, one by one. Being a read-later junkie who bookmarks about 20 new items a day, but only manages to read about half of them, I quickly filled up my Kindle to the point that I could not find my books anymore. Anyone who's dealt with the non-touch display version of Kindle, knows that it is kind of tough managing single ebooks around. Now imagine having to do this for about a hundred articles.

I clearly needed another solution. Something that stores my bookmarks for me, and only sends me around 10 a day, nicely packed in single Kindle document.

A little known feature of Instapaper, which has in fact, existed from the very beginning, but remained rather obscure among the user settings, is sending a daily digest of Instapaper articles to a Kindle device. All you need is to provide your @kindle.com that has been provided to you, after you register your Kindle account.

When I first saw it, I thought "That's exactly what I need"... with one little complication.

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I am a big fan of Pocket. It's on every device I have. In fact, I rarely read anything at the moment I see it. I rather save everything, and read in bulk, once I have the time available for that. So, the question was, how do I get to move my articles from Pocket, to my Kindle, using Instapaper's "in-bulk" functionality, without switching over to Instapaper?

Of course, most of your are now thinking, "why complicating life with such things"? Actually, the solution is way simpler than the way I presented the problem. It took me just 5 minutes to implement, so I am going to share it anyway.

There is a popular online service short-named IFTTT (stands for "If this, then that"), which allows the user to set automatic actions between many popular web services. If you are not familiar with IFTTT, I strongly recommend that you check it out. Two of the available services in IFTTT are, you guessed right, Pocket and Instapaper. So, I set up an action, which would automatically add my articles to my Instapaper account, when I archive them in Pocket.

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This does two things. It gets the article off my Pocket list, and at the same time, it adds it automatically to Instapaper to be read. From then on, the automatic scheduler of Instapaper does its job nicely, delivering you a fresh magazine every morning (or less often, depending on your settings). Instapaper does not mark the sent articles as read or archived, so depending on how you tweak your settings, you might see a couple of articles repeat between deliveries at times. Thankfully, there is a handy link at the end the magazine that allows you to automatically mark all the articles for archiving, even from you Kindle device.

UPDATE: I just figured out that Readability has a similar functionality for sending digests of multiple articles to a Kindle device. Maybe I’d try the experience there too, and report afterwards

FURTHER UPDATE: Unforutnately, Readability shut down in Spetember 2016, after five years of dutiful service. As of the time of you reading this blog post, I can no longer guarantee how many of the methods descibed here are still relevant.