Amazon Kindle and Calibre

I enjoy reading the daily papers with breakfast but our village shop stopped delivering about 10 years ago. Since then I've had to manage without or settle on reading yesterday's paper with breakfast.

Since I got my Amazon Kindle I've pondered whether there was a way of getting back my daily papers. I've recently discovered a piece of third party software which solves this problem and makes my Kindle an even more useful device.

Some background. Through the Amazon website you can buy books as well as subscribing to newspapers and magazines and they magically appear on your Kindle without any need to connect to a computer. This is because the Kindle has both Wi-Fi and a 3G mobile phone connection built in so Amazon can 'send' your publications directly to your Kindle. They call this 'Whispernet' delivery. Each Kindle also has its own unique email address so that you can send your own documents to your Kindle if you wish.

This is all great but newspaper subscriptions through Amazon are about £10 or more per month and magazines can be more. I like to dip into a number of different newspapers and magazines and I soon decided that subscribing to all of them would be a bit pricey.

Then I discovered Calibre. This is an eBook Manager - a kind of iTunes for your eBooks. As well as keeping your eBooks organised, one of its most useful features is its ability to download information directly from RSS feeds on websites. Using this ability it can provide your daily newspapers - automatically. At a pre-defined time (say, 6am) it will look up the specified website's RSS feed, download the entire content and format it into a Kindle-compatible eBook. It will then email the eBook directly to your Kindle so it's waiting for you when you wake up! And because the content is taken from websites it is completely free of charge.

For a few days I subscribed to Amazon's version of The Guardian as well as downloading Calibre's version so that I could compare the two. The differences were minimal and mainly came down to minor formatting changes. So I now subscribe to several publications including The Guardian, The Observer, The Independent and The Economist through Calibre.

And for the first time in 10 years the papers now arrive before the coffee.