It’s easy to find interesting stuff to read online; it’s more difficult to find the time to read it. Follow along as we help a fellow reader push his favorite news articles to his Kindle so he can read in (distraction free) peace. Read on as we clip, sort, and even compile articles into handy daily and weekly digests for convenient reading on the go.
Dear How-To Geek,
I can’t go a day without finding a few great articles online that I’d love to read, but it seems like I’m perpetually stuck bookmarking articles only to never return to them. Even when I’m back on the computer later in that day (or the next), I find myself distracted with new work or saving a new article and I never get around to actually reading any of them.
Where I do actually get most of my reading done is on my Kindle. It’s hard to get distracted with a focused-use device like the Kindle so I actually plug along and read whatever is on it (which at the moment is just books from the Kindle store). I know you can subscribe to newspapers and magazines with the Kindle and get them delivered to the device, but I don’t want a general subscription to something like New York Times. I want articles I’ve found on my own from various sources that I’d like to read (but don’t have the time to read during the work day).
I did a little searching on the subject but it seems like everyone and their brother has some sort of solution. It’s a bit overwhelming. All I want is essentially a send-this-crap-to-my-Kindle solution without a bunch of bells and whistles. What do you recommend?
You’re absolutely right about that everyone and their brother bit. There are dozens and dozens of tools that offer some sort of send-to-Kindle functionality, but they aren’t all created equal and many of them have tons of features that likely won’t be of interest to you. Rather than give you a single solution and call it a day, we’re going to highlight two tools we’ve used over the years with great success and suggest (based on their long track records and stability) you pick the one that fits best with your work flow.
One-Click Sending with Tinderizer
If you’re looking for the most dead-simple tool that effectively replaces the bookmark-the-article technique your using with a just-as-easy one-click solution, we’d strongly suggest you check out Tinderizer (formerly Kindlebility).
It’s been around since 2011 (we’ve been using it since then without a hitch) and the project is completely open source. If you were so inclined you could download the source code, read over it, and even host your own personal Tinderizer system on your private server to maintain total control over the system.
Tinderizer is a bookmarklet and is completely browser/OS agnostic; as long as you’re using a modern web browser that supports bookmarklets (and there’s little chance you aren’t) you can use it. When you click the bookmarklet while reading an article in your browser, the bookmarklet ships the article off to the Tinderizer server wherein it is formatted/optimized for mobile reading and then sent to the Amazon servers where it is delivered, via the Kindle’s Personal Document system to your Kindle via Wi-Fi or 3G (depending on the model Kindle you have and which network is accessible).
To use Tinderizer, just visit the main page and follow the little six-step walk through. You’ll need to log into your Amazon account and navigate to Your Account – > Manage Your Content and Devices and click on Personal Document Settings in the left sidebar.
Scroll down to the “Approved Personal Document E-Mail List” section. This is where you white-list email addresses you wish to give permission to send documents to your Kindle account. Click “Add a new approved e-mail address” and input firstname.lastname@example.org like so:
Once you’ve white-listed the Tinderizer email, the next step is to create the custom bookmarklet:
You can find your Kindle email on the same page you created the white-list entry. Look at the top of the Personal Document Settings panel for “Send-to-Kindle E-Mail Settings”. There you need to locate the specific email address linked to the Kindle you wish to send the documents to (typically it’s your email@example.com and a variation thereof like firstname.lastname@example.org for your secondary Kindles and Kindle apps).
Enter that address into Tinderizer and click next to generate the bookmarklet.
Drag that huge “Send to my Kindle!” link, by clicking and holding, right up to your browser toolbar.
Once the bookmarklet is in place, you can click it while reading any article you wish to send to your Kindle. When you do so, you’ll see a little notification window in the upper left corner telling you what’s going on:
Make sure your Kindle is connected to either Wi-Fi or the 3G network. The new item should download automatically (select Menu -> Sync and Check for New Items if it doesn’t appear). Here’s a screenshot of how nice our Last Pass security audit article looks:
Once you have the bookmarklet setup, you’re good to go for, well, forever. We’ve been using Tinderizer since 2011 and the only time we’ve had to even check in on the site/bookmarklet is when Amazon’s legal department made them change from Kindlebility to Tinderizer (and even then, it took 20 seconds to make a new bookmarklet).
That’s all there is to it; for every article you want to read on your Kindle, click the bookmarklet, and the Tinderizer server will ship a neatly formatted document to your Kindle.
One Click Sending + Archiving with Instapaper
Now, Tinderizer gets the job done, but what if you want a more comprehensive solution that combines not only a bookmarklet to capture the documents but a system to manage and archive them too?
Instapaper is a free and streamlined solution that covers both the send-to-Kindle bit and the archive-for-later bit in an easy-to-use package.
In addition, Instapaper allows you to package articles together, so instead of 10 news articles cluttering up your Kindle document list, you can have a single compilation of the day’s (or week’s) articles to read through.
You’ll need to visit the Instapaper website and sign up for a free account. Once you’ve signed up for the free account, it’s time to drag the Instapaper bookmarklet to your bookmarklet toolbar:
You’ll notice that you didn’t need to (yet, at least) add an address to your Amazon account white-list or plug in your Kindle email address. This bookmarklet is designed to send articles to your Instapaper account, not directly to your Kindle. Don’t worry though, we’re going to automate the process.
Navigate to your Instapaper Account Settings by clicking on the gear/username at the bottom of the left-hand navigation panel. Select “Manage Your Kindle”:
In this section you must do two things (which are just a repeat of exactly what you did in the Tinderizer section above). First, you need to visit your Amazon account’s Personal Document Settings page and add the email address given to you by Instapaper, email@example.com, to the delivery white-list. Then you need to plug in your Kindle address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org or the like). Click the “Save Email” button to continue.
After you click the button, new options will be available beneath the Set Up Your Kindle section. If you don’t make changes here, you’ll be stuck manually shipping the articles from your Instapaper account to your Kindle account, and that’s too much friction for a busy person to deal with (which will leave you back where you started with nothing to read on your Kindle).
There are several important things to pay attention to in the Automatic Delivery section. First, make sure you actually check “Send my Unread articles to my Kindle automatically”. Second, you need to specify if you want the articles sent daily or weekly, and at what time of day you want them sent. Finally, you need to specify how many articles you want to pile up before they are all compiled and shipped out to you.
With a free Instapaper account, you can only build compilations of up to 10 articles. If you have it set for daily digests, this shouldn’t be a problem as you’re likely not clipping 10 long-form articles a day for later reading. If you’re a prolific clipper and/or you’re using weekly instead of daily compilations, however, you may want to consider becoming an Instapaper subscriber. It’s $1 a month (billed quarterly) and in addition to expanding your compilation limit to 50 articles instead of 10, it will also unlock a direct Send-to-Kindle bookmarklet that skips the compilation process and fires the article directly to your Kindle. This is handy for those times you want the skip waiting for the digest process to run that day and have the article immediately for a read on the train home.
Let’s take a peek at how Instapaper formats things:
Although the default font setting is slightly different than Tinderizer, it’s still cleanly formatted and easy to read. Even better yet, the easy-to-browse compilation files make it super simple to catch up all the articles you’ve save throughout the day/week without opening and closing dozens of individual files on your Kindle.
Have a pressing tech question? Shoot us an email at email@example.com. Have a clever Kindle trick to share? Jump into the forum with the link below and share the wealth.