I bought the Kindle Paperwhite because the Nook Simple Touch’s screen really wasn’t cutting it anymore. And the Paperwhite, with the higher resolution backlit E Ink display looked so much better. It was time to get back to reading every day, and I thought a better ebook reader would help me with that.
So far, it has worked rather well. I’ve had it for more than a month now and I’m about to complete my third book. Kindle is fulfilling its destiny.
But, like every other techie out there, I wanted it to do more. I saw so much potential in this device. I wanted to read everything on it. And I even got there, using the Send To Kindle extension that sends any web page to your Kindle device and when I came across more than one article, I just manually made an ebook of them using Readlists. Did it work? Yes. But there’s always something better out there.
Speaking of something better, one fine day I was reunited with Instapaper. I had used it when researching for read later services and settled for Read It Later (now known as Pocket), mostly because it was free while Instapaper’s mobile apps were not.
That seems like a good enough built up. Now, why did I tell you all that. What exactly does Instapaper do?
Instapaper makes your Kindle awesome.
Lets take this step by step, starting from the obvious and moving up to the truly awesome.
Automatically Deliver Unread Instapaper Articles To Kindle
Automatically. Looking back at how much time I spent over the last month manually creating ebooks from articles, doing so automatically with Instapaper seems a little comic.
This is how it works. First, you need to sign up for an Instapaper account and use the bookmarklet or extension to save articles to Instapaper.
Now, from Settings -> Manage Your Kindle, connect your Instapaper account with your Kindle.
Go to your Kindle Personal Document Settings page and add the email Instapaper gives you to the Approved Personal Document E-mail List.
From the Send-To-Kindle E-Mail Settings page, find your unique Kindle email address (if you don’t know it already), go to Instapaper’s settings page and paste it.
Congratulations, Instapaper and Kindle are now connected.
Setting Up Kindle Digest
On the same page, scroll down and locate Set Automatic Delivery.
Check the option that says – Send my Unread articles to my Kindle automatically.
With a free account, you can send up to 10 articles to your Kindle every day and a premium subscription ups it to 50 (more on premium subscription later).
You can have the Kindle Digest sent daily or weekly. You can also set it to trigger only if you have 1/3/5 unread articles in your Instapaper queue. Add a time of delivery and the time zone and you are done.
Your Own Personalized Magazine
Apps like Flipboard like to tell you how personalized their apps are. But does it get any more personal than picking the articles you want to read yourself?
And you can do it anywhere, at any time, on any device with a web browser (including the iPhone) thanks to the bookmarklet and the browser extensions. See an article on Facebook you want to read later on your Kindle? Right-click -> Instapaper, and at your specified time, the article will show up on your Kindle, along with other unread items of the day.
The Best Dollar A Month You’ll Ever Spend
Instapaper’s premium subscription costs a dollar a month (billed quarterly) and it is perhaps the best dollar a month you’ll ever spend.
For less than third the cost of your frappuccino, a month, this is what you get:
Kindle Digest limit is upped to 50 articles from 10.
A Send To Kindle bookmarklet to send individual articles to Kindle directly.
Search your entire Instapaper library (super useful).
An Instapaper Text bookmarklet that converts any webpage you are reading into a minimal easy to read format.
And lastly, you support the developers at Instapaper.
Sadly, the mobile apps for iOS and Android are not included in the premium subscriptions, you’ll still have to buy them.
For me, the increased Kindle Digest limit and the option to send a single article to Kindle (because sometimes I don’t want to wait till the end of the day to read a long-form article on Kindle) were truly impressive, but then I started using the iPhone and the iPad app (I got it for free during promotion) and now it is my go to read later service. Speaking of which…
I honestly did not see this coming. But the moment I turned on pagination in Instapaper’s iPad app, I was sold. Suddenly, I was reading a novel, or at least it felt like I was. There is nothing wrong with Pocket, Instapaper is just better in so many ways.
It is beautiful. The type, the black and white UI, the smooth, soothing transitions. While Pocket seems bullish, Instapaper seems inviting.
Also, this is an opportunity for a fresh start. I’m not exporting thousand or so articles I’m supposed to “read later” from Pocket to Instapaper. This is going to be a clean slate.
The Instapaper Service
Instapaper was actually born a couple of months after Read It Later came to being. It’s by Marco Arment, now the host of one of my favorite podcasts, ATP. While the app was rewritten from the ground up by Betaworks when they acquired it in mid 2013, the UI and design aspects are still very similar.
Instapaper comes across as a service started by a passionate programmer to solve a genuine problem in our modern lives. And now his legacy is continued by equally passionate folks. As an establishment, Instapaper has a likeable quality to it.
Kindle + Instapaper
If you already own a Kindle device and are looking to read the contents of the web on the E Ink display, I cannot recommend Instapaper enough. Get a free account to boot, if you are a casual reader. 10 articles a day will be enough for you.