In my attempts to find better ways of getting long-form content onto my Kindle to read offline, I’ve mainly been using two tools: Instapaper and the Later On Kindle Chrome extension.

Instapaper has great formatting, and repeated delivery works like a new issue of a periodical, but as far as I can tell, on a slightly unpredictable schedule (or at least on a schedule that is slightly inconvenient to me).

Later on Kindle sends the content pretty much instantly, which is much more useful since it means that provided I leave a few minutes to make sure it all gets processed, I can send some pages just before I leave work, and read them on the way home! The big downside is that your page ends up text-only; it doesn’t keep images in the same way that Instapaper does. Also, having it in the Chrome toolbar is very nice.

The solution for me is Kindlebility. It uses Readability to parse the page into a sensible layout (including multi-page articles), converts that to a PDF, then emails the result to your Kindle. It’s triggered by a bookmarklet, which means it can be added to any browser. Even better, it’s open source (more info in this blog post), which means that if I want to, I can avoid using any middleman at all!

Right now, this is by far the best solution I’ve come across so big thanks to Daniel Huckstep for putting it together!

Getting your words to my kindle

Nathan and Tim both made a sensible comment on my “Readme” post – Instapaper supports daily delivery of unread articles directly to a kindle – use that!

This is a great idea; I’ve started using it and it works very well.

But this means that I’m using Google Reader to do my aggregation, and then when an article is too long to read right then, scrolling back to the top of it, opening it in a new tab, hitting the Instapaper bookmarklet, and letting it do its thing.

I already star articles in Google Reader that I want to read later (by pressing ‘s’). When I meet something on the wider web that I want to mark to read later, I add it to my scuttle install, and tag it with “readme”. This is two lists of “read me later” content.

So I want two things:

  1. When I star an item in google reader, it gets automatically added to scuttle tagged “readme”
  2. Items tagged with “readme” in scuttle are automatically added to Instapaper via their API

In fact, I really want more than this – I want to use a port of Arc90’s Readability (there are many, in many different languages) to grab the content from the page I’ve tagged, and then every day generate my own .mobi file and email it to my kindle – basically, take the instapaper bit out of the equation. However, other than calling out to KindleGen, I can’t see a way of generating a .mobi file at all. Any pointers would be very welcome!