Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Readability - the joy of downloading web articles to read later on Kindle, in comfort

Look, I know most of you are more technically savvy than I am, and that you all whizz around the world clutching iPhones and Tablets and iPads and the latest version of Kindle – but I can’t justify owning any of those devices, so this advice is for readers as digitally deficient as I am. I spend a lot of time reading articles on the web on the 21” screen of my iMac – but I find it hard to get through anything longer than 750 words, no matter how interesting, when I’m in what used to be (and may still be) called “lean-forward” mode.

That’s a shame, because there’s some fascinating longer-form stuff available. When I recently came across The Imaginative Conservative website, where most of the articles are far longer than 750 words, and where much of the content deserves closer study than, say, the sort of standard-length blog posts I produce, I decided to find out if it was possible to read them on my Kindle - specifically in bed, where I do all my serious reading. I’ve got the earliest form of the “experimental” Amazon web browser on my bog-standard Kindle – and it’s useless. So I needed to download web articles the same way I download books.

Readability is the answer. Just go here, sign up (it's free), download the app, and you’ll find a button on the top section of your browser which pops the article you’re reading across to your Kindle (or pretty much any other portable device). I’ve only found one site so far that won’t play ball (a pity, because it’s the excellent libertarian Lew Rockwell site) – but all the others I’ve tried work like a dream. The only other drawback I’ve discovered so far is that – occasionally – the transfer will take place several hours after you requested it. Mysterious.

As a result of discovering Readability, I’ve spent the last week catching up on some truly fascinating material that would otherwise have passed me by. This has made a pleasant diversion from the task I’d set myself of reading all of the Shakespeare plays I hadn’t yet got round to, cultural dunce that I am. For some odd reason Kindle has proved the ideal medium for reading Shakespeare – collected editions of the plays are too dauntingly cumbersome, and books containing a single play remind me too much of schoolwork: they give me the uneasy feeling I’m going to have to sit an exam at the end.

Time for some serious downloading.


  1. I have just been given a Kindle for my b'day. I haven't fired it up yet [nervous], but your "Readability" link is vey useful so thank you very much.

  2. You're most welcome: Readability really is a terrific service.