22 April 2022

Reading online essays on your e-reader

If you want to read good essay content from the internet (and there is a lot of excellent writing out there) then I recommend getting the articles off the web to read.

I find it far too easy to get distracted when I am sat at a computer or even looking at a tablet. I don’t want to do deep reading with either. The slightest lapse in concentration and the web browser is open and I’m haring down some rabbit hole.

Reading is best when I concentrate on it, get absorbed in it. I now do most of my deep reading on an e-ink reading device. One of the best ways to read essays is to convert them to a format that works for my e-reader.

There are various paid services that do this and I have tried many of them. (Instapaper and Pocket being two big players in the field.) I’ve just not quite got the habit to stick. I now use EpubPress. It is free - though it is well worth donating a few dollars to the developer if you find it helpful and can afford it.

Using EpubPress

First off you need to install the browser extension for Chrome or Firefox. You are now ready to go. What I do is line up 4 or 5 articles I want to read. I often use LongReads.com to find them.

Once I have them open in different tabs you then click on the EpubPress icon in the toolbar of the browser. Tick the boxes for the articles you want to be added to your book. If you click on the gear icon you can choose the output file to be epub or mobi. If you use a Kindle then go with Mobi - other devices then go with epub.

You can, at this stage, edit the title and the description of the ebook. Then hit Download’.

Getting the newly created ebook onto your device

You will need to do some sideloading’. It’s easy. There are various email based options. Amazon allows you to email files to your Kindle device. You have to authorise email addresses for this and they have help pages to get you going. EpubPress also has an email option for you to send the file direct from the browser. You will need to whitelist the EpubPress email () on Amazon and if you add your Kindle device email to the box offered your file can be delivered direct.

I prefer to do it manually and I sideload ebooks onto my Kobo Forma using some excellent free software called Calibre. Once you have installed Calibre (versions available for all operating systems) you can then add your newly created ebook as a file. Then just plug in your e-reader and Send to Device’. Easy. I have also added the Annotations plug-in which will then detect my highlights and notes from my ebooks. The advantage of using Calibre is that you build a one-stop library of all your reading material along with your notes in one place.

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I’ve got the reading list up for February and March. I’ll also start highlighting some good long reads/essays as well
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Want to read more online essays and long reads but constantly distracted? If you have an e-reader then a combination of two free software options