Monday, April 1, 2013

Easily Read and Store Research from the Web

Send to Kindle button
One of the oft-overlooked tasks of the writer is doing research to make sure that you are getting details right. Almost all kinds of writing, from academic papers to works of fiction, require some sort of research. Fortunately, the worldwide web makes it easier than ever to do research, but the proliferation of sources of information, paradoxically, seems to make it ever more difficult to keep track of all the info you're tracking down. What's a writer to do?

One of my favorite tools for keeping web-research in an easy-to-read and easy-to-keep-track-of format is Amazon's free Send to Kindle applications. Whether it's the browser plug-in (available for both Chrome and Firefox) to capture sources from the web or one of the other applications, these handy little pieces of software convert your documents to Kindle format, and store them in your Kindle cloud archive so that you can never lose track of your documents. You don't have to own a Kindle ereader device to use it, either -- you can install a free Kindle reading app on your computer or smart device, or just read your documents in Amazon's Cloud Reader in your web browser (nothing to install!).

I really love the browser plug-in -- when I find a useful article, I just hit the Send to Kindle button and then I can read it whenever I want, on just about any device I choose, perfectly formatted for easy reading. The browser plug-in lets you preview before you send, so that you can make sure you've captured the text you need. If it's not quite right, just make sure you first highlight the text you want and select "preview" before you send. When your document shows up in your Kindle reader, it will include a link to the URL from which you captured it, so you don't need to worry about making a special note of the source.

Amazon also has a version of Send to Kindle for your PC, Mac, or Android device, which allows you to convert and archive your own documents -- from your writing or page layout software, choose the "Send to Kindle" printer driver, or right click on a document filename on your computer and select "Send to Kindle." The document will be converted and uploaded to your Kindle archive -- if anything should happen to the original, you'll always have your Kindle copy "in the cloud."

My favorite version is one I haven't even tried yet, the new Send to Kindle button now available for websites and Wordpress blogs. Now you can make sure that your readers on the web can send your blog posts or other online copy to their own Kindle devices.

Give it a try -- chances are you'll find that you love being able to "send once, read anywhere."