Should you use Kindle’s new read-it-later feature?

Hoping to compete with services like Pocket (formerly Read It Later) and Instapaper, Amazon (s AMZN) has launched a “Send to Kindle” browser extension for Google (s GOOG) Chrome. Support for Mozilla Firefox and Apple (s AAPL) Safari is coming soon.

You can download the extension from the Chrome Web Store. Once installed, it sends “news articles, blog posts and other web content” to Kindle, removing advertising and other distractions. You can also preview text before you send it or send only selected text on a page.

I tested “Send to Kindle” versus Pocket on my Kindle Touch and iPad. I sent this Pinterest iPad app article by my colleague Eliza Kern and this YouTube video about a cat and a tortoise to both.

Send to Kindle on iPad

Send to Kindle

On Kindle Touch: The Pinterest article arrived on Kindle Touch within a minute. The formatting looks good, with pictures obviously rendered in black-and-white. Links are intact and work in Kindle Touch’s experimental web browser.

The video does not work on Kindle Touch. It pulls all the text and still photos from the YouTube page.

On Kindle for iPad: Pictures in an article render in color and break up the flow of the text. (See screenshot, right.) This is also a problem in Pocket, but the design’s a little better.

Pocket on iPad


On Kindle Touch: The process for getting Pocket articles onto a Kindle e-reader is not super-easy. You have to download your reading list into free ebook management tool Calibre. Then you can send the file wirelessly to Kindle using Amazon’s Send to Kindle desktop version or email it to your Kindle email address.

Once you’ve done this, though, the reading process is great: Calibre compiles all of the articles into a magazine-like format that is easy to read on your Kindle. (If you use Instapaper, the process is easier — learn how to do it here.) So you can keep all of your articles in one “magazine” instead individually downloading them and storing them as separate files on your Kindle, the way you do with Send to Kindle.

Pocket supports the saving of videos, but you won’t be able to watch them on a Kindle Touch.

On Pocket for iPad: Easy and looks great when you have the Pocket iPad app installed. You can save all kinds of content, not just text. So I can watch my cat and tortoise video just fine.

Which one should you use?

The Send to Kindle Chrome browser extension is a good way to send text and articles to your Kindle e-reader quickly. If you want to get a single long article onto your Kindle, I’d go with the Chrome extension. But if you want to read many articles together in a magazine-like format, I really like Pocket, and I wish Kindle would  let you send a whole reading list, not just a single article.

If you primarily use Kindle for iPad, you shouldn’t use the Send to Kindle extension. Use a read-it-later service like Pocket or Instapaper instead. They render text and graphics better, and Pocket lets you save video, not just text.