Instapaper’s instantly useful for sending articles to Kindles

For a while now, I’ve found that the best way to read long-ish online articles and blog posts is to email them to my Kindle. This avoids the horrid eye strain from reading them on my computer and is more environmentally-friendly than printing them out on paper. Back in December, I even wrote a simple Applscript to reduce some of the steps in copying the articles into plain text files and emailing them to the Kindle. But now there’s a better way, a much better way, to get the things you want to read off the web and onto your Kindle. It’s Marco Arment’s Instapaper service.

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Instapaper isn’t anything new. It’s already considered a great way to save online articles you want to read later. You just copy the url of an article and paste it into the “add” box on your personal instapaper home page to save. Or you can add a bookmarklet to your browser and just click to add an article to your Instapaper queue instantly. Later, you can access everything you’ve saved in a handy all-text version from that same home page.

It’s a particularly good way to save things for reading on a mobile phone browser that, maybe, have a lot of formatting and images and junk. There were even people using Instapaper last year on their Kindles through the browser portal. The limitation, of course, was you had to be online to catch up on your reading — you had to be able to access your Instapaper home page.

Today, Marco has turned on a new beta service that periodically emails your articles to your Kindle so you can read them anywhere. And once the email arrives, it’s a regular Kindle document that you can read offline if you so desire. Sweet. There are only a few settings to choose from right now. Tell Instapaper how often it should send an email and set a minimum threshold (see below).

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The email that arrives on the Kindle is a simple document that starts off listing the articles included (see below). Each listing is actually a hypertext link. Click on a link and the Kindle jumps to the section of the email with that document’s text. Simple and easy to use. I like. And no more need for mucking about with Applescripts, thankfully.

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