As editor of Make Use Of, I can easily testify that there are not enough hours in the day to do everything that I want to do. So there are often lots of posts in my RSS reader (1000+), easily several days worth at a time, and I’m sure you’re the same. You have to go to work or to school, you have children to look after…..basically everyday life gets in the way of things.
If that’s the case, then this web service might be interesting for you. Feedbooks offers you the chance to turn a RSS feed into a PDF file, Cybook format, Sony Reader format or iLiad format. So if you are in a hurry to run out the door, you can turn the feed into a file, move it to your laptop or mobile device / PDA / e-book reader and read it on your way to work. Or perhaps you can read it in your lunch break – no internet connection required.
I was only able to test the PDF file format and it worked fine. The service is still in beta mode at the moment so there were a few bugs and kinks where things didn’t work so well (a couple of times, I got a corrupted PDF file which refused to open). But things worked OK in the end and the PDF file looked really good. This is obviously an online service still being worked out with the bugs being found and rooted out so you have to cut them some slack for that. But this is a service that should be bookmarked and continually checked on because it’s bound to get better and better. I can see myself really using this heavily in the future when I am sitting in a doctor’s waiting room.
For the user, you can make a Feedbooks profile and quickly subscribe to all the various feeds. You can then, with one mouse click, instantly make a downloadable PDF file (or one of the other file formats if you prefer) of that particular feed. You can also customize your PDF file with a particular font type and size, margin size and line spacing. So this is good if you have problems with your sight for example.
The only other downside I found is that obviously if the blog relies heavily on YouTube videos, external weblinks, photos hotlinked from another site (for example, Creative Commons photos on Flickr) and so forth, Feedbooks will not pick those up and show it on the file. It will only show what is physically on your domain. That seems to be my impression anyway.
Now for a website owner, this is a handy service to offer your subscribers. Feedbooks offers you a widget and a code snippet which you can put on your blog page and people can click on it to get your posts in PDF format. If a potential reader is too busy and too stressed to subscribe via RSS, they may be very grateful for this service and that may entice them to come back later. Result – one happy camper!
Just to repeat though – right now, Feedbooks is quite buggy. So check the files to see if they work OK and if not, keep trying. As time goes on, I am confident that the service will improve. So don’t give up on it.
Oh and the site is also working on bringing you the ability to export Sudoku puzzles to your mobile device. So that too is in the pipeline.
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