Instapaper: The Kindle Killer App

The buzz is that the Kindle will die after the iPad is released. I’m not so sure. I think there might be room for both, simply because I think the iPad will not be a good reading device.

I don’t know that for sure, but I do know what it’s like to read long articles on my Macbook. It sucks. My eyes get tired. They start to get watery sometimes. You know that feeling of relief you get when you close your eyes for a moment after reading a website for a while? That’s what it’s probably going to be like reading on an iPad. You’ll still read articles in an F pattern, skim, and uh – actually not read anything.

Which is why I’m interested to see what Amazon does with Kindle 3.

The struggle to read long-form content on devices not really meant for it is why I’ve fallen in love with Instapaper, the web service that sends web pages to a list with just a click (or keyboard shortcut). You can then read from that list and even choose to strip the article of everything except text.

It’s great. If you haven’t tried it out you should. I used to used delicious for this, but Instapaper is so quick I rarely use delicious anymore. Delicious asks me to tag my bookmarks, but I don’t want to do that – I just want to read it later, which is what Instapaper excels at.

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Of course, there’s still the problem of actually reading all this stuff. I think a laptop isn’t ideal, so I think the same of the iPad screen doing the same disservice to this stuff. It’s gotten to the point where if I see a single source in my reading list multiple times, like The Atlantic, I just get a subscription now. It’s like if I heard some great new music and bought it on vinyl. I don’t really want a vinyl record, but I have to do it since I don’t have an iPod. I have an old record player from my grandma’s attic.

But with Instapaper’s ability to send your reading list to a Kindle, and a software development kit for Kindle in the works…I don’t know if I’ll hold out much longer.

That Instapaper is such an attractive development for the Kindle feels a bit backwards. The Kindle sends you books over the air, but I don’t really want that, I’d continue to get most of my books from the library. I don’t have this problem of “wow – I wish I had an ENTIRE book to read IMMEDIATELY.”

I have plenty to read, there’s just no good way to read it. They aren’t all books.


Photo by scurzuzu, used under CC.

4 thoughts on “Instapaper: The Kindle Killer App”

  1. I haven’t used Instapaper’s Kindle function, but I have used its epub function for my Sony Reader. And while it’s neat to have, what I’ve learned is that calibre does it better. For some reason, IP doesn’t always want to convert articles to epub, but calibre will.

    So my current setup is to have calibre automatically, at the same time each day, download my IP selections, & then I move them to my Reader. Not wirelessly, unfortunately. But still, pretty good.

    But when I get my iPad, what I’ll have is IP on my iPad, and on my iPhone. So I won’t need any ebook reader.

  2. I love instapaper, but what really got me was that 3 of your 4 articles were in MY instapaper list, as well. Dude, that’s weird.

  3. Is anyone having trouble getting the entire Unread list onto the Kindle? I’m getting only the top 1-4. I know about the 20-article limit, but I can’t get more than four. Sheldon

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