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Wikipedia articles on your Kindle

March 3, 2010

As an e-reader owner who now prefers reading eBooks to hard copies—to the extent that I have purchased several eBook versions of hard copy books I already owned, but had never gotten around to reading—it was only natural to look for other reading formats that I could transition to my Kindle.

Obviously, I am a fan of reading periodicals on the Kindle. I also have a regular list of blogs (note: upcoming post on methods of acquiring blogs).  But I also have transitioned my Wikipedia reading to the e-reader for articles that I intend to read, rather than just skim.

Method 1 – Kindlepedia

The longstanding method available for Kindle devices has been the “Kindlepedia” online conversion tool, developed by eBook Architects:

http://ebookarchitects.com/kindlepedia/

One simply enters into the form the full url of the desired Wikipedia article and clicks “Create Kindle Book”.  The eBook can then be downloaded directly to your Kindle’s ‘documents’ folder if currently attached via the USB cable, or to your computer for later transferring.

Kindlepedia does require one to first locate the article by doing a search on the Wikipedia site itself, copying the url in the location bar, and then pasting it into the Kindlepedia form.  Not too cumbersome from a standard browser, but it more time-consuming if using the Kindle’s web browser. But, it does work from the Kindle broswer—which is a plus.  However, I would recommend bookmarking the following link for your Kindle browser (which will save time by not having to type “http://en.wikipedia/wiki/” in the Kindlepedia form):

http://ebookarchitects.com/kindlepedia/convert.cgi?url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

When you visit this site from your browser, it will give the following error screen:

Just move the cursor to the end of the url and type in the remaining url that you noted from your Wikipedia search (e.g. the article on the “Kindle”).  The “reload” button will automatically switch to “go to” and you simply hit the return button on the keypad:

The circle in the top-left corner of your browser will spin as it works to create your book. When finished, it will take you to the download page:

Move the cursor to the “Download (your Wikipedia article name).mobi” link and press your 5-way controller button.  The book will be saved to your home screen.

Method 2 – eReadUps

There is a new entrant to the Wikipedia eBook conversion arena—eReadUps (also developed by eBook Architects) is superior than Kindlepedia in most instances.  Identifying itself as in “Beta” version, and indicating an upcoming premium service, the free version is sufficient for most Wikipedia eBooks:

Unlike Kindlepedia, the url address of the desired topic does not have to be previously located. Just enter your search terms, and a results page will return the leading Wikipedia articles. For the free version, you can check up to 3 boxes of Wikipedia articles to be added to your eBook (e.g. a search for “Amazon.com” will retrieve an article on Amazon.com as well as an article on Jeff Bezos—you could then select one or both of the articles).

Multiple articles

Once the book has been created, you can either download it (in the same manner as the Kindlepedia eBook) or e-mail it to your e-mail account or your Kindle.  For Nook and Sony owners, the epub format is offered as well.

Comparing the two methods

Kindlepedia is pretty straightforward—especially if you know the url of the Wikipedia article.  It’s simplicity also works easily and rapidly with the Kindle browser.

eReadUps is nice for its “Search” feature.  The ability to add multiple article regarding the same subject matter is also attractive.  Format wise, the eReadUps-created eBooks provide a working ‘Contents’ box as seen here:


This is a particularly helpful feature for most Wikipedia articles if being read on an e-reader—almost a requirement for the lengthy articles.

eReadUps, however, failed to work on my Kindle browser—however, this is a finicky browser, and it could very well work tomorrow (or not).

Conclusion

If only for its navigable ‘Contents’ box, eReadUps should be one’s sole bookmark for Wikipedia eBook conversions on their desktop/laptop browsers.  The “one-stop” process of searching on the eReadUps site also saves time.

Until the eReadUps site and the Kindle browser play nice together, I would rely on the Kindlepedia link for your Kindle browser.

For Nook and Sony owners, eReadUps is the only option that converts to the epub format.

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