I mostly read Twitter on my iPhone using the Tweetbot app. When I see an interesting article, but don't have time to read it, I usually save it to Instapaper, the read-later service. There are plenty of such services, but Instapaper was the first and best, and I like that I have access to my articles on many devices, from my computer to my iPhone to my two iPads (a mini for work, an Air for home pleasure use, like movies and games).

Two iPads? Wow, that's excessive. Yes. Maybe I'll explain that some other time. 

Anyway, even though I love iOS devices, when it comes to reading something long on a digital device, I prefer my Kindle Paperwhite. There's something comfortable and productive about a device that feels like a book and looks like paper (in all lighting situations). I get a lot of reading done without interruption of things like news alerts and Twitter, that is best for reading long things. 

But back to Instapaper. For whatever reason, I often forget to check my queue there on my computer and iOS devices. When I'm using those devices, I'm just much more likely to be drawn to Twitter, Facebook or the NYTimes site. So the articles pile up. Recently I was browsing Twitter and Aerocles mentioned that he would like to have a print version of his Instapaper queue. I don't want that, but I remembered someone mentioning that you could have it sent to your Kindle. Sure enough. The Instapaper site walks through it pretty well

So I'm going to give this a try, having a delivery of my Instapaper saves at the end of the day, where I'll find them on my Kindle. A few pointers: Use the free.kindle email address so you don't get charged per delivery over 3G by Amazon. And given the limitations of both Instapaper and Amazon when it comes to images and other non-text, this works best for long text articles. There are also sites that do not let Instapaper save the full article. 

I'm making a few other changes. I've gotten into the bad habit of just sending things to Instapaper when I really just want to bookmark them or save them for the future. I have an Evernote account, so I'll probably start using that more for long-term saving of articles (though I find it to be both a powerful and overwhelming service). And as for bookmarking, I already have Pinboard set up to save any link that I favorite or retweet. I often just forget it's there, a sort of junk drawer of last resort. There is a modest, onetime fee. It has many powerful functions if you really want to get into it. 

(For my own thoughts and notes on the go, I use the app Drafts, which has some powerful shortcuts for forwarding bits and snippets to Dropbox, Evernote, Twitter, email and other services. It also syncs across multiple iOS devices. It's sort of a souped-up version of Notational Velocity and Simplenote, which was my go-to app for that for a long time.)

Thanks for reading. I'll update this post after trying this for a while. I won't be surprised if I discover that the real value of Instapaper is giving me permission to not read things. When I'm in Twitter, I'm trying to very quickly catch up on news and maybe share a few things. I don't necessarily want to get caught up reading something long. Sending it to Instapaper eases the guilt or postpones the reckoning. I'm saving it for later.

Jan. 12 update: The collections come over to the Kindle in a relatively pleasing automatic layout. Today I added a new wrinkle. Since I get most of my reading from Twitter links, I used this recipe on IFTTT ("If this, then that"), which automatically sends favorited tweet links into Instapaper. Then at the end of the day (I hope), these will in turn be sent to my Kindle for reading all at once. 


AuthorPatrick LaForge
CategoriesiPhone Apps