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Reading Web Pages Offline with Nook or Kobo

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29 Dec 2012, 01:05 AM
Post: #1
How often when browsing the Web do you come across a long article or post and would prefer to save it for later rather than read it there and then? How often would you prefer to transfer a longer article to your eReader for a more comfortable reading experience?

Instapaper is a very useful free Web application that can grab the page currently displayed in your browser, strip out the headers, footers, adverts and navigation and save the remaining content in a clean and elegant format that is comfortable to read later on at your leisure. Then, when you eventually have the time to settle down and have a peaceful read, you can go to the Instapaper site and all the saved articles will be waiting ready formatted.

However if you are a Nook or Kobo owner then Instapaper has another trick up its sleeve - it can build an ePub book, complete with table of contents, from your saved articles. Each book can contain up to twenty articles for reading offline.

You first need to sign up for a Instapaper account then go to the "Extras" page and drag its [Read Later] bookmarklet to the bookmarks bar in your browser.

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From then on clicking on the [Read Later] bookmarklet will grab the page currently shown in your browser, extract the main content and save it to your Instapaper account for later perusal.

When you are ready for a quiet read go back to the 'Unread' page on the Instapaper site and you'll see a list of the articles you have collected. Scroll down and at the bottom of the right-hand column you'll find three 'Download' icons:

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Click on the ePub icon and Instapaper will build and download an eBook from the latest 20 articles you saved. You'll find it in your browser's download directory with a name like "Instapaper-ReadLater-2012-12-28.epub". Transfer this to your Nook or Kobo and you are ready to read the articles in the comfort of an eInk screen. For example on my Kobo I've created an "Instapaper" directory at the top level in its file system and just drop the Instapaper ePub files into that directory. They then appear in the eReader's book list.

The system isn't perfect:
  • Instapaper doesn't add an image for the front cover.
  • On opening the article it doesn't default to showing the Contents Table although it is included.
  • There are no images or illustrations retained in the articles.
  • Only the latest 20 articles are included.
  • Page numbers in the right hand margin overlap the last characters on the line (this may problem may be specific to the Kobo Mini.)

But all those imperfections can be improved upon by adding Calibre to the equation, as I'll explain in the next exciting installment.

  • The author has no relation with Instapaper other than as a happy customer.
  • No eBooks were hurt in the creation of this article.
  • May contain nuts.
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29 Dec 2012, 12:07 PM
Post: #2
Wow, this sounds AWESOME! Thanks for alerting us to it. I'm off to sign up.

Cally Phillips

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29 Dec 2012, 12:56 PM
Post: #3
(29 Dec 2012 12:07 PM)CallyPhillips Wrote:  Wow, this sounds AWESOME! Thanks for alerting us to it. I'm off to sign up.

By the way, if you also own a Kindle then Instapaper can email the eBooks it creates direct to the Kindle's email address.

I've been using Instapaper for years but found that I had an ever growing list of articles I was going to read one day... It was only with the advent of the eReader that I found that I could start making inroads into the backlog.
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03 Jan 2013, 01:30 AM
Post: #4
If you use Calibre to wrangle your ebooks then there is a slightly slicker way to use Instapaper to download the web pages that you have flagged for reading at leisure. Calibre can log into your Instapaper account, download up to 100 saved articles and build them into an ebook complete with cover and contents list. Here's how to do it, assuming you have Calibre installed and configured for your eReader:
  • Run Calibre and click on the [Fetch News] icon at the top of the screen.
  • Type "Instapaper" into the Search box and click the [Go] button.
  • An entry for "Instapaper" will be displayed in the News Source list below.

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  • Click on the "Instapaper" entry and a Schedule and Account dialogue will be displayed.
  • Enter your Instapaper username and password and click the [Save] button at the bottom of the dialogue.
  • Click the [Download now] button at the bottom right and Calibre will begin the process of downloading the articles.
  • Check the activity indicator at the bottom right of the Calibre main screen - it will show it is processing a job.
  • Close the "Schedule news download" window.
When the activity indicator shows the job is finished you will find a new "Instapaper" document with today's date in the Calibre document library. Transfer this to your eReader as you would any book.


If you have Calibre running all the time then rather than manually hitting the [Download now] button you can configure the "Schedule" tab in the "Instapaper" entry to automatically run a scheduled download as required.
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