Update April 9, 2019:
Since I first wrote this post Instapaper, the company that makes the product I recommend using to get long form journalism sent to your Kindle automatically, have made their product subscription-based. In short, getting the digests sent to your Kindle is now no longer free. However, if you are willing to pay for an Instapaper subscription, the advice below should still work.
These are my instructions to get great long form journalism regularly delivered to your Kindle e-reader. Fair warning: there is some work involved to choose the articles that you would like to read on your Kindle, so you will probably want to be a fan of long articles to justify the time doing this takes.
Using this approach, when you see a long form article online you will send it to something called Instapaper which will automatically send a digest to your Kindle once a week. In the Instructions below I suggest some good sources of new long form journalism for you to use.
- Access to Wifi internet
- An Amazon Kindle that has been connected to the Wifi Internet
- An Amazon account
- An Instapaper account: https://www.instapaper.com. You may also want to download the Instapaper app for your phone/tablet, up to you.
- A desktop/laptop computer that lets you click on bookmarks in your browser. A tablet should work as well but that’s just a guess.
1. Firstly, you will need to find out your “send to my Kindle” email address. If you use Amazon.co.uk like I do, you should be able to find out the email address on this page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/mn/dcw/myx.html/ref=kinw_myk_redirect#/home/devices/1
2. Create an Instapaper.com account and log in to it. You may want to make your Instapaper Profile private unless you are comfortable with people being able to see what articles you are choosing to read: https://www.instapaper.com/user.
3. Get some good sources of new long form journalism. My preferred sources are the weekly emails from Longform.org, Longreads.com and Medium.com. Also by having an Instapaper.com account you can also choose to receive their weekly email which also has good articles.
Some other sources I like for good new long reads are:
Because the Instapaper digest is sent to your Kindle once a week, the weekly emails from Longform.org and Longreads.com in particular set you up with a good rhythm where those websites send you their favourite Longreads from around the web for that week and then you add them to Instapaper to read on your Kindle in your next Instapaper digest.
4. Add a ‘Send to Kindle’ button to your web browser. This is where things start to get a little technical but don’t worry, I’m going to step you through it all slowly. This button you are adding is technically a “bookmarklet”. Basically this means it’s like a smart bookmark. What you are going to do is create a bookmark in your web browser that, when you click on it, will send an article to Instapaper.
To set the scene, here’s approximately what it is going to look like on your bookmarks bar in your browser once you have set it up:
To set up the Send to Kindle button, log into Instapaper.com and navigate to the ‘Settings’ page which is here: https://www.instapaper.com/user. Then scroll down the page till you see the button that says ‘Get Kindle Bookmarklet’ and click on it. You should then see the instructions to set up the button which will look something like this:
As the instructions say, drag the Send to Kindle button onto your bookmarks bar. If you can’t see your bookmarks bar you may need to make it visible. If you use the Google Chrome browser like I do you can make it visible by clicking the three vertical dots at the top right of the browser then clicking ‘Bookmarks’ and then clicking ‘Show bookmarks bar’ as shown in this image:
In Microsoft Windows 10 you can also achieve the same thing by pressing Ctrl + Shift + B on your keyboard.
You should hopefully now have a Send to Kindle button on your web browser. To test it out, find a long form piece or a news article on the web and then click the Send to Kindle button. Once you’ve done that, navigate to this URL: https://www.instapaper.com/u and all things going well you should see the web page listed there. If you do, well done. Here is an example of my Instapaper homepage with some articles I have sent to Instapaper:
5. Set up Instapaper to automatically deliver a digest of your saved articles to your Kindle once a week. You may remember earlier in the Requirements I said you needed to have a Kindle connected to Wifi internet. You need this because this is how Instapaper will deliver its weekly digest to your Kindle. To set Instapaper up to send this digest navigate to this URL https://www.instapaper.com/user and scroll down the page to the ‘Kindle’ section.
In this section you will need to paste your “send to my Kindle” email address from step 1 of these Instructions into the ‘Your Kindle Email Address’ field.
Make sure that ‘Kindle Automatic Delivery’ is checked, like in the image below:
Under ‘Delivery Frequency’ choose the settings which make the most sense to you. If weekly delivery appeals to you then set to deliver every week, the digest will arrive on your Kindle on the weekend.
MAKE SURE YOU CLICK ‘Save Kindle Preferences’ before you finish with this step!
6. Regularly add longform articles that you want to read on your Kindle by clicking on your Send to Kindle button. The articles will arrive regularly automatically:
Q: What if the Send to Kindle button doesn’t work for an article?
A: If this happens here are three things worth trying:
1. On the Instapaper homepage, try clicking the ‘Add Link’ link at the top right and try adding the URL of the article you want that way.
2. If that doesn’t work, try entering the URL of the article into the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and once you have found the page in the archive try clicking the Send to Kindle button again.
3. If the first two suggestions haven’t worked, a final suggestion is to save the text of the article to a rich text editor, e.g. WordPad in Microsoft Windows, save the text to a .rtf file and email that file as an attachment to your “send to my Kindle” email address. You will want to use a .rtf file as your Kindle will then let you change the text size once you are reading it on there. To tidy up the text before you copy & paste it to WordPad I like to use the Mercury Reader extension in Chrome.