Amazon has just released a new part of ‘Send to Kindle’ ecosystem. Websites and bloggers can install a special button, so that their visitors would be able to send posts directly to their Kindles or Kindle apps.
Sounds interesting? Especially in view of the dying Google Reader? You think people will look for a replacement, and ‘Send to Kindle’ can compete with read-later services like Instapaper or Readability? It’s what Amazon suggests:
Have you ever encountered news, blogs, articles and other content on the web that you want to read but don’t have time to do so immediately? The Send to Kindle Button lets you easily send that content to your Kindle to read later, at your convenience. Just send once and read everywhere on any of your Kindle devices or free Kindle reading apps for iPhone, iPad and Android phones or tablets.
No matter how appealing it sounds, don’t waste your time installing it. Kindle is not an alternative to read-later services.
In general, using ‘Send to Kindle’ is like collecting daily newspapers in a book-case. There is a difference between a browser bookmarklet and a button. It’s user’s choice to use the ‘Send to Kindle’ bookmarklet. When you put a Kindle button on your blog, you suggest your content is good enough to land on the Kindle. It’s a very promising idea for a blogger, but will readers use it? There are two major reasons they probably won’t.
1. Every sent article takes the space reserved for books
When someone sends a post to Kindle ereader, the file takes a chunk of the disc space. But there is more to it than just how many web articles can Kindle e-reader store. Kindle is about collecting books, while Instapaper or Evernote is about collecting web content. On Kindle you build your digital bookshelf, and many users can seriously doubt whether they want to give some space to one-time articles, they’ll forget about right after reading. I’ve experienced the problem myself, after setting up Readability to send daily digest to my Kindle.
A different story is with read-later services. Articles flow in and out and there is no concern about the space they take and attention they draw. Older articles are just replaced with newer ones.
Obviously, every article after reading on Kindle or in Kindle application can be archived – and here comes the second, much bigger problem.
2. Kindle file management is too basic
Managing collected Kindle books and documents, both on a device and in the cloud archive, is a pain. You can take one book from the archive, read, send it back to the archive. In the cloud Kindle library, the one you can access from your account profile on Amazon website, there is no way to organize files into folders, there is no option to add tags or star articles. What you can do is to edit files one by one. Kindle file management is the exact opposite to Evernote. But it doesn’t stop Amazon to say:
No more hunting around for that website or blog that caught your eye — just open your Kindle and all the content you sent is right there. The Send to Kindle Button is also great for those who want to collect content from the web to use in work projects, school assignments, or hobbies.
Kindle ecosystem is not created to work with multiple files, working with text, advanced search, or finding related content. It’s there for reading.
I think less than 1% of web content deserves to be sent to Kindle. Amazon says Boing Boing blog has Kindle button already embedded. Boing Boing is all about taking interesting bits and pieces from the web. The articles are very often one-paragraph long. Do you believe anyone will send them to Kindle?
Putting a button on every blog post is in fact, a risky thing. ‘Send to Kindle’ under a video post looks ridiculous.
Before making a decision on whether install ‘Send to Kindle’ on your blog, ask yourself a question how many of your posts would you send to Kindle. If you consider adding a read-later button it should be rather Evernote, Readability, or Instapaper. Two latter services have the option to send stuff to Kindle. And you can pick up a really good content to join a precious collection of books on a Kindle.