Send to Kindle: The Plugin You Need to Install on Your Blog

by Ken Mueller on March 26, 2013 · 28 comments

white 15 Send to Kindle: The Plugin You Need to Install on Your BlogSend to Kindle

send to kindle 300x176 Send to Kindle: The Plugin You Need to Install on Your BlogIt’s a game changer. A ____________ (fill in the blank) killer. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry.

OK, perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but there’s a relatively new app/plugin out there in the blogosphere that you need to definitely consider adding to your blog. First off, I have to give proper credit to Rebecca Amy Todd for introducing this lovable little guy to me, and we had a rather lengthy discussion about the possibilities. So hear me out, and listen to why you should use it, and why Amazon needs to hire Rebecca and me to further develop this thing. (Or, at least pay us something for our genius ideas.)

I spend a lot of time writing my blog and also sending it out “there,” (wherever “there” is) to make sure that people can find it and read it. I also want to make sure that my blog is shareable. If people like what I write, I want them to share it with their friends and coworkers. Look around this page and you’ll see that I have made it easy for you to share my work on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, Pinterest, a variety of social bookmarking and discovery sites, and just about anything else you want. At the prodding of my friend Liz Jostes I’ve also added the all-important Buffer button (and one of these days I’ll actually start using Buffer myself).

Additionally, I have an RSS feed that allows you to subscribe to my blog in either an RSS reader or via email. But sadly, the most popular RSS reader, Google Reader, is being shuttered by Google in a few months. That has people scrambling for RSS alternatives, of which Feedly seems to be the front runner among my friends.

Now this is where the new “Send to Kindle” button comes in. If you’re like me, you have a lot of blogs that you like to read, but you can’t always read them right away. That, of course, is the purpose of an RSS Reader. But now you can send individual blog posts to your Kindle in order to read it whenever you have the time. I don’t even have a Kindle, but I do have the free Kindle app on my Android as well as my PC. In fact, despite being a hardcore, die hard lover of real books that you can hold in your hands, I’ve recently read a few books on the Kindle app, including Andy Crestodina’s wonderful Content Chemistry, which I’ll be reviewing here in the near future.

Now, here’s where it all gets interesting, and, I’m sorry, Rebecca, but here’s where I give Amazon some free advice on where to take this from here. I doubt they’ll pay us anyway, so we can just pretend that we’ll make gazillions.

With Google Reader going away, Amazon should take the “Send to Kindle” app and expand it beyond individual articles and posts. Let us subscribe to entire blogs so that we get those posts every time they publish, just like an RSS Reader.

The beauty of all of this? It helps Amazon sell more Kindles. Plus it fills a void being left by Google. Opportunity knocks.

I’m not rocket scientist, but I would bet that one of the biggest hurdles in getting people to purchase Kindles is the whole love of physical books thing. Those of us who are book lovers, and are, shall I say, in the “older” demographics, are slow to adopt electronic technology and devices. If you can find a way to get me to use your device in a less threatening way, I might just use it and buy it. And once I buy it, I’m more likely to spend my hard earned cash at Amazon on ebooks.  Amazon is already reporting a growth in sales, and that much of that growth is due to the Kindle and e-books. If you get me more comfortable with that concept, I might just play along. If I’m happy reading individual blog posts on the Kindle app or actual Kindle device, I’ll be more likely to purchase long form books as well.

Having said that, there is already a way to subscribe to blogs via Kindle. But it isn’t free. Several years ago, Amazon rolled out monthly subscriptions to blogs for 99-cents. I signed up. The blog you are reading now can be delivered to your Kindle every day for just 99-cents. Go figure! But, here’s the rub: despite being available at such a great rate, not a single person has subscribed to my blog that way in the two or more years that it’s been offered. Heck, I wouldn’t subscribe. I’m cheap. Why should I pay for something I can get for free.

So, Amazon, I’m giving you the idea that Rebecca and I had, and I’m giving it to you for free. We’ll forsake our gazillions in exchange for a great user experience. Add a more RSS-like feature to your “Send to Kindle” button, and allow us to subscribe to entire blogs and have them delivered hot, fresh, and free to us every day.

And, bloggers:  install the “Send to Kindle” button on your site, and give readers another really good option for consuming your content. This might be my new favorite way of reading blogs.

Have you tried the “Send to Kindle” button yet? What other features are you looking for in a sharing/reading app?

 Send to Kindle: The Plugin You Need to Install on Your Blog
Buffer
28 comments
RealCheapReader
RealCheapReader

Just installed this on our blog! Cant wait to launch!

ERockferd
ERockferd

I had alot of trouble with this... thank you so much! I recently ordered my kindle fire from www.cheapkindlesonline.blogspot.com and I was trying to blog on my kindle but ran into this problem. Thanks again!

Mark Mercer
Mark Mercer

This is, in concept, a fabulous idea. Even though I'm against the latest moves by Amazon that are Borg-inspired, I do like my Kindle. As do gazillions of other folks. Not a ubiquitous platform, but still widely distributed. "Share to Kindle" gives us a way to blast out of the blogosphere, onto a consumer entertainment appliance, onto an "App".  As much we bloggy folks might not want believe, a lot of the general public just doesn't "get it" about blogs. We're not going to get them using RSS, or even subscribing by email, never mind a WordPress-dot-com ID. But get it on their Kindle? Oh yeah!

Even in its current, single-article version, this could be a wicked good choice for people who do longform. 

Good choice, in concept. In execution, I'm a little wary based on the caveats and experiences of folks upthread. Will try it, but on one of my own blogs, not on a client yet. Even though my latest client, an author, would be the logical choice.

Latest blog post: Contact Susan

tonyq
tonyq

Hi Ken. It appears that your Send to Kindle widget is suffering the same fate that mine was when I initially set it up:

"Waiting for content..."

Not sure if this will help, but I fixed this problem by simply deactivating then reactivating the widget within the WordPress plugins menu.

Good luck!

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

I tried adding the button, but it's very limited for placement. I wanted it to be right-aligned so it's opposite my share buttons at the bottom of a post, but the HTML for it didn't work. I logged into WordPress to seek dev help, and they were pretty non-committal at helping. Great job, Amazon...

Latest blog post: The Art of Managing Change

LizJostes
LizJostes

Officially, THANK YOU for finally adding the Buffer button! Your posts will now go to Twitter AND LinkedIn.

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

Fantastic Idea! I would completely use a Send to Kindle RSS service for my blogs. While I think this will be a game changer for blogs- and yes I actually did say that to the Boss Man too- unfortunately I can't quite make it do what I need it to do. And- so you know- it's given me issues trying to move content from your blog in particular. I've tried it other places and it works for me. I have the Send to Kindle desktop installed, so I can do it through the print button. I wouldn't want people missing out! 

NateShields
NateShields

Thanks for letting us know about this plugin. I definitely want to try it out on my company blog. 

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@tonyq No, I know. That started today, of course, when I published this post. And i've activated and reactivated. Next step is to deactivate, delete, reinstall, reactivate. Stay tuned!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@Danny Brown Well, it's interesting, they just released an update today, and when you go to set it up, there is a note for Wordpress users who have Jetpack installed. So I'm in the process of reconfiguring it as part of Jetpack's sharing feature. Not optimal, but worth a try

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@RebeccaTodd The biggest issue I've had is with my Amazon account as the intermediary, making sure it finds the right device to send it to. 

Mark Mercer
Mark Mercer

@KenMueller As for my "will try it", but only on my own blogs first... That lasted about 15 minutes, after I installed it on my and my wife's personal/business sites FitToTravel-dot-LisaMarieMercer-dot-com, FuzzyWanderer-dot-com, and UruguayExpat-dot-Info (don't want to overdue links by making them live as your guest here.)  

I don't use the Jetpack sharing buttons, so that wasn't an issue. But the settings for the Kindle plugin do give you instructions and tool for putting it right next to them, if you do use those. I use Shareaholic, with the native-looking G+ / Tw / FB / FB Send buttonset above posts, and the Sexy Bookmarks buttonbar under them. Kindle button appears above the native-looking top-set, and under all the Shareaholic stuff, including the visual "You may also like..." Shareaholic-based thumbnails of other on-site content. Not my preferred layout especially on that bottom, far away from the share buttons under the post, but I and my clients can live with it for a while.

Things donn't come across perfectly formatted. And a lot of the unneeded-on-ereader "cruft" did, like the Shareaholic button links. But readable, and any embedded URLs are live links. I'm pretty happy with it. Will tweak CSS later to position a bit more to my liking. 

Latest blog post: Contact Susan

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@tonyq gah. no go. I already have a ticket in with the forum, so we shall see! It worked well yesterday!

Mark Mercer
Mark Mercer

@KenMueller Thank you! The other places I am now using them, with top/bottom/both choices differing, are: Our Uruguay expat/immigration site and upcoming assistance service http://UruguayExpat.Info, my wife, published author and fitness expert Lisa Mercer's http://FitToTravel.LisaMarieMercer.com, and my http://FuzzyWanderer.com Travel News and Commentary site. All self-hosted WP, different themes. 

All using Shareaholic. FitToTravel using LiveFyre because I personally like it better and think it fits a bit better into the blog/small-medium publisher world for discoverability. The others using Disqus because the tiny-to-giant-site, same-identity discovery is awesome, and we want that. Not seeing any conflict with any of those plugins yet. Nor problems running through CDNs. Fuzzy, FitToTravel are on CloudFlare. Uruguay is now on Google Pagespeed's CDN (which is not the same thing as "using Pagespeed, leading to some hilarity with 1st level support somewhere I won't embarass...)

So far this kindle dealio seems good, and non-conflicting.  Though I'd like to see a Send to Kobo and Send to Nook also.

Latest blog post: Contact Susan

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@Mark Mercer I had the same issue since I used the same plugins. I love the Sexy Bookmarks toolbar, etc, but was willing to jettison them for a more uniform look. I'm still playing around, but since I'm thinking of a total redesign of the site, I'm not spending too much time on them. And feel free to share your links here, I don't mind.

Mark Mercer
Mark Mercer

@KenMueller  Indeed. Which is why 15 minutes after trying it on my sites, I slammed it onto our Author Hub client's site. Even if not perfectly aligned. We're releasing early and often for her, especially because external circumstances make her upcoming book suddenly extremely relevant to a much wider audience, something we didn't at all expect. (The Cyprus banking crisis, in fact. She lived through prior troubles there.) http://www.LullabyIllusion.com

Latest blog post: Contact Susan

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@tonyq Yeah, I just responded over in the forum again. The update really messed things up for me. That'll teach me to update my plugins so doggone fast.

tonyq
tonyq

 @KenMueller It figures that it would act up the day you blog about it. Hopefully the plugin author will find a fix soon.

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