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I've been looking to build a better setup for reading long digital articles and pdfs. Research shows scrolling makes you into more of a skimmer, and I feel it. But I don't want to print everything. Anyone have advice on a setup they like for focused, long digital reading?
484 replies and sub-replies as of Dec 27 2021

Like Instapaper?
I use Instapaper, but still the scrolling…
Have you tried enabling Pagination on the Instapaper app? It looks like that works? I have not tried it - the scrolling doesn't bother me - but it basically turns it into a kindle format.
I’d forgotten it does that, will retry👍
i hear good things about these "tablet" devices
vertical screen helps me, less scrolling at the very least
I use Push to Kindle and read everything longer than a few hundred words on there.
iPad Pro > Notability > View > Single Page
How does the link to Notability work? It creates pdfs?
Send to Kindle, when it is an option.
You can set up Instapaper to send your kindle all the articles you added that day (or whatever schedule you choose), formatted like a book with each “chapter” being one of the articles you sent, so you don’t clutter your kindle with a million articles
Push everything to Instapaper. You can even use Instapaper & Readwise to push to your kindle, and read things there, but I don’t go that far.
Converting them to pdfs and then reading them on a laptop as a book could work.
This works sometimes depending on the font sizes of the pdfs. If the fonts are too small though, it's an eyestrain.
If you have two computer screens, I would physically orient one to portrait for reading PDFs.
Close every other window on your PC. Turn off your second monitor.
I email them to myself if I want to dove deeper
Kobo e-reader with Pocket integration is pretty much perfect. (Haven’t tried it with PDFs.)
Can’t highlight though :/
I have found that I read better on a kindle paper white than my iPad. Not perfect though as I still catch myself skimming more and have to force myself to read deeper.
I still send longer articles to my Kindle. I find I’m much more engaged with them there than on my phone or computer.
Following... I send to kindle but leaves a lot to be desired
Can't really do without scrolling. But PDFs on my phone can be "liquified"and this is so much better.
A kindle that has zero apps installed, no notifications, and WiFi generally disabled is the trick for me.
Oh, I'm just a rando on twitter, but fwiw, I have this same setup and it works a treat. Anything with internet was too distracting.
I find Kindles nearly as good as print for reading. Only disadvantage is you can't flip back through the pages you've already read to find something you want to go back to. I find electronic searches less effective for that.
With a paper book, I always seem to remember the area of the page on which a comment that I want to go back to was printed. This helps me find things I want to go back too. The electronic format doesn't replicate that. You have to use the search feature.
Did the Kindle PDF conversion improve?
Strongly agree, and if you read A4/Letter-sized PDFs, a @remarkablepaper or @OnyxBoox tablet is the perfect size, plus you can mark up the text, and most of these tablets are too weak to have distracting apps installed.
I find pdfs unusuable on my kindle, just because it's too small. The remarkable really works for this? I've been on the fence about it, as I have a kindle, so getting another e-ink device seemed silly.
Yes, I switched from Kindle to Remarkable for this reason. You can also trim the margins quickly for all pages in a document if you need slight "zoom". This is the best PhD student productivity purchase I've made, though RM has changed subscription policy. (tennis ball for scale)
The Kindle App on other devices works well for me, though also a fan of Remarkable.
I employ iPad mini with an Acrobat acct. with Cloud storage. Acrobat can export PDF files into a variety of formats. On my mini I use PDF EXPERT to document scan in the field. Using the Google Earth platform on the mini is great. Adobe does has publish platform, it’s okay.
I was equally skeptical as I have piles and piles of printed pdfs carefully marked up with a wide assortment of colorful pens. I recently switched up to a Ipad pro with the paperfeel screen cover and @GoodNotesApp and it has been a good replacement.
I went with a @rattasupernote. It's wonderful for marking up pdfs and I haven't used a pen or paper for note taking in months. Remarkable is a nice device but their customer care is terrible.
Had my remarkable tablet since 2018. Used it every day of my PhD. The perfect device for reading and annotating PDFs. It's a completely different experience than a kindle.
I've been v happy with Onyx Boox. Not the same reading experience as a Kindle, but way better than a computer screen and offers hilite/markup functions that Kindle can't touch.
Where do you save the marked up files, in the cloud?
Yes, they have a cloud server and an app to download/sync back to other devices. They have a new subscription payment option, so while all this is free for old customers, I'm not sure about new.
There are Kindle apps?
Why does it matter if WIFI is disabled as long as notifications are?
Just ever so slightly reduces the temptation to browse.
Does that scrolling/skimming effect also result from apps where you swipe through pages? E.g., a kindle or the Apple Books app? If not, I’ve sometimes found it helpful to put a PDF into Apple Books and read that way.
Recently got a new iPad with Pencil and I’ve loved it for long-form digital reading. Holding the pencil cues my mind differently I think.
The idea was recommended to me by @hernandezstroud and I think it works!
Do you use any specific apps with that?
Notability — I’d downloaded it years ago it turns out but also got several recent recs for it
Cool, I may give that a shot. Ever try Goodnotes? I like that they have built in folders where I can store and organize documents. I may also get the Apple Pencil—I find that underlining / highlighting also cues my brain, similarly to what you describe.
Saving articles in @Pocket and using their app on an e-reader. It’s been a while since I used it, so not sure how well it works if articles are behind a paywall.
Love Pocket, been using it for year. Great for long plane rides.
and the whole point of pocket is to be able to read those articles when you have no wifi/cell connection.
Kindle or apple books has proper paging for pdfs.
i use a larger second screen for reading on the computer. it helps but for anything long - eg books etc - really need a hard copy. i also like reducing the scale on word to 70% or so so that you get two or four pages viewable at once
It's so strange because I feel like I'm more inclined to read to the end on a digital device, and not read past the "jump") in print newspapers. But both in print and digital, I do skim headlines and leads when making decisions about which articles to read.
I don’t have a way around printing. If it’s important enough to be focused I need it to be on paper and have a pencil in hand to make notes on the paper.
I don’t think so - there is something about engaging with the written words physically that allows me to focus more on the writing. I miss stuff when I read on electronics that I don’t when it’s on paper.
The problem with reading on electronic devices is that because of the refresh rate you only read one word at a time. Our brains read on paper much more efficiently and effectively.
Yeah I wish I’d found a better way but if I need to really read it I still need to print it and have a highlighter/pencil in hand
Yeah, I print off things at 2-up or 4-up so they're pocketable. Physically finishing something & 🚮 is a relief.
Have you tried read-aloud tools?
^^^ came here to say this
My company swears by the Remarkable, so much so it was in my onboarding package. 👍
Oh interesting! How do you all use it?
Also curious. I’m looking for something for reading papers and things that I want to annotate, not books (so kindle doesn’t quite do it). Right now I’ve been printing and hate doing it…
I like Onyx Boox even better than Remarkable for research paper PDFs, as the built in software lets you select how to split up each page into chunks based on the journal’s layout. You can also install Zoo for Zotero to automatically sync with Zotero if that’s your thing.
Which size screen are you using?
Taking notes, and marking up PDFs and articles. It makes it easier to get away from the (regular) screen, and the tactile feel of writing on it feels more like pen-to-paper than stylus-to-tablet.
After a lot of research i went with the Supernote over the remarkable … love it! Both would seem to accomplish your goal!
For those who write
Supernote is an elegant note taking device for exquisite writing, reading and annotation.
Love my remarkable2.
I use the Send To Kindle extension for Google Chrome, and send any interesting article I find on Twitter to my Kindle. Then I leave my phone/computer and sit down and read!
Exactly what I do! I was going to recommend using a reader that gives that book feel. 💯
is great for long reads
seconding Matter 🚀
Kobo has a good integration with Pocket. Also it has Overdrive natively which makes it so easy to check out books from the library.
pdf can be broken into pages i think. then just use the arrow keys to move page. but i've always been a "skim reader" when it comes to info. I mean sorry for writers, but your flowery 50k word essay is wasted on me. I'm gonna skim it for the details only.
I usually skim for the major themes
A monitor that swivels to portrait mode. Easy-peasy!
I have tried various versions of using Pocket and some kind of e-reader or tablet. E-readers are best, if you can find one to your liking because it gets rid of the ability to do much else, but more importantly has all the benefits of e-ink.
I convert to pdf, widen the margins so i can scribble in them, then import into pdf expert where I can use Apple Pencil to annotate, highlight, and read more actively.
Fascinating. Where do you save the files?
Google drive! Syncs easily with pdf expert. If scrolling too much is the issue, kindle doesn’t change a lot for me. Having pen in hand and jotting thoughts down is so helpful.
Fascinating! Do you export notes out? Or collect them together somewhere?
How do you widen the margins? I have a script for this but I'd love to find a better way.
if you have adobe acrobat, search "set page boxes" tool, open that, click the "custom" option at bottom to enter page size you want (so for me, my pages end up almost being square since they're wider), then for the range apply to all.
Dual monitors. Big ones .
Tablet that you hold like a book, in vertical mode, so you see one page at a time, and 'turn' the page.
Instapaper has a pagination mode.
I’d forgotten that- will have to retry that
Not on the phone. Only access from computers
Write less, kids. Economy.
I just read about 35 scholarship applications of about 10 pages each. Important I did it well. Sorry to offer only this: I printed them.
Download as PDF and flip through pages?
Like an e-book. Once for a temp job I re-typed an entire print book to be made digital, and for some reason I couldn't justify the text but had to fit into the margins. There must be a better app these days for creating one.
Pressing the space bar to scroll helps me avoid skimming. Feels a bit like turning a page.
An e reader with flippy pages. I prefer Nook because they can take almost any file type. If you use an Android device with the Nook app you can have color.
If scrolling is the issue: how about setting the pdf reader app to turn pages again?
I use the Remarkable tablet. It is easy to download to and very easy on the eyes. It’s primary use is an organizer which is does very well.
Tablet from Remarkable would seem to be ideal for reading long articles/papers? Its screen is similar to Kindle’s, but it is larger and the pdfs can be annotated.
I've got an rM2 and love it for distraction free reading.
just a guess, but i would say the wider the page the better (landscape orientation for example) and larger font size. My theory is if you tend to skim/scroll down all the time on a normal column width, you'd be less likely to do so with a wider format.
I sometimes read ‘long reads’ …. I guess I know what I’m getting into and I like that. Don’t hide the length. And make sure it is easy to scroll through the text one is reading without TOO many ads b/c accidentally hitting one means scrambling to find where you were🙄
I misread your tweet …. And thought you were looking for ways to post longer content on your sites. I subscribe to the paper version of The New Yorker …. And swear while I hit the ads by mistake on everything else. And try to read more novels & weighty memoirs. Recommended:
The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power (You’ve probably already read it …. Just putting it out there.)
Nah, bro. Dot. Matrix.
IMO the ,,remarkable 2" Tablet (Norwegian Start-up) is the best reading device on the market. It is a little bit pricy but I don't regret any penny.
Import the article directly to your brain.
Five years ago I came up with a new electronic model for long stories but no one seemed interested. It would let people read long parts that they wanted to read. DM me if you are interested in it, I have a model on access only website. We can email also so DM me to get my address
I’ve enjoyed my Remarkable 2, it turns PDFs into e-ink documents that are much more enjoyable to read than digital scrolling. It works with articles too if you print them to PDF
Home | reMarkable
Replace your notebooks and printed documents with the only tablet that feels like paper.
Remarkable2--it's great.
Pocket works great for me, reduces distractions
Export the pdf into Apple Books app. It then becomes a page turner instead of a scroller/skimmer
Another vote for Push to Kindle. I also have a hand-spun custom email filter that converts any emailed PDF or HTML email into a Kindle book and automatically puts on my Kindle Oasis. Happy to share the code with anyone who knows how to use procmail.
Push to Kindle
Read in peace. Send news stories, blog posts and other web articles to your Kindle for a better reading experience​.
Boox note air. E-ink tablet with stylus for note taking. Note taking with a pen has been shown to improve memory, so underline a lot. Can install many apps, but I keep it very minimal to not get distracted.
Andy - which model do you have? Do you find it adequately quick and responsive? Anything you don't like?
Larger format iPads is great
Dyslexia seems to work.
provides an excellent reading experience for substack and other blogs/articles, and also lets you declutter your email inbox
Save article as a PDF and read in an e-reader app that flips the pages like a book.
I have been generous with highlighting on PDF in an attempt to simulate highlighting on printed copies. That works for now
But highlighting a lot slows you down, right? Great thread, btw. Thanks!
There is a web extension that you can use to send web pages to a Kindle. You can also email PDFs to a Kindle. For reference, I only use the normal Kindle and not the tablet versions since the normal ones feel like reading a book. Cheers.
John Irving, who is dyslexic, occasionally uses a paper with a narrow slot so just one or two sentences are viewable at a time.
Scrolling wheel setup…Slow.
Import long PDFs into Apple Books and create a “collection” called “articles.” Articles and PDFs get imported in a way that reads like a book (have to turn pages).
For research papers, I’m a big fan of printing the exhibits (typically at the end of the paper) and reading the text on the screen. It allows me to look at the exhibits and text simultaneously. It also makes it easy to mark up the hard copy exhibits with a pen.
Trying reading on your iphone, landscape and do not disturb mode, while sitting down, with paper and pencil... It works.
Email it to my kindle
Page down key? Works for me.
google reader from 2010
Doesn't Kindle have a page turn option (side to side swipe with recto+verso display) ? I used to uploaded long docs to my Kindle reader & read them that way, but haven't used it lately.
The Google Play Reader on my Android tablet is surprisingly convenient and book-like.
Switch to a vertical monitor when at a desktop, or a vertical case for an iPad Pro
It would be awesome if you can, right now I save as a pdf on my iPad to be able to read it more easily, but hate to have to print it out.
Remarkable tablet does wonders
Nope, but I'm behind whatever you decide.....👍
Print it out and read it…
5 minutes of a focus based meditation practice should do the trick
If you have trouble focusing on what you're reading, it might be the text's fault.
iPad Pro. I had to relearn to read and write after a brain tumor. I can just touch the words I don’t know and up comes a dictionary. It will also speak the words I can not pronounce. Using Netflix with Subtitles increased my reading speed. ☮️
Dude. Way to innovate.
Can you read a book without scrolling? As part of my education & profession, I have spent a lifetime scrolling through books, mags & now digital. I haven't been able to do "focused" reading for years. I think I need professional advice on how to reprogram. + kindle. Use the Instapaper web extensions to save articles. It's no good for pdf but very useful for everything else. Where most of the links posts at originate.
The Story's Story
(no description)
Ipad allows you tu turn laves instead of scrolling it’s a pdf.
Wow. This tweet is so illegible I’m surprised you liked it.
Kindle works well. When articles can be found as text on a webpage it's easy to convert to epub/mobi. For pdfs I haven't found a good way to do it.
I read on a book-sized tablet and put it into paginated mode so that it's a screen at a time and I flip pages. This has been super helpful in grad school where the articles are extremely long and dry.
A 43" 4K TV, used at full resolution as a desktop monitor, lets me you a image two full-sized pages tall. When I'm editing, it can go 3 full-sized pages across. For me, it's a game-changer. I tried 3x24" screens, and this is vastly better for these uses. About $250 to $550.
This is silly and anecdotal but each of us has found ourselves way too far down a buzzfeed slide show about some dumb subject matter presented as a "best of" or "25 facts u need to know" list I suggest a slide show format with each slide being a paragraph with some picture/image
Readwise to skim it quickly. Speechify to read it while I do something else. Print it out as a PDF booklet in Acrobat to file it physically for reference later if it's important.
the kindle has a paging function where you can set up how many words per page show up by zooming. and then you can have auto page by setting up a word per minute rate. I think they just need to add a gesture to that where you can tell it to slow or speed slightly
Large vertical monitor?
+1 for the @OnyxBoox Note Air series. 10.3" e-ink tablet = totally readable full page PDFs without scrolling. Can install Android apps (OneDrive) for syncing your content. Changed my life, given the hundreds of research papers I read annually.
I don't read it all at one time. I read something else and/or just come back to it later.
reMarkable tablet has been surprisingly good for this purpose.
You can email pdfs/epub to your kindle email address
Large dual monitors and a favorite PDF software to zoom/annotate. It has taken years to transition from paper, one thing that helped was semi subconscious: briefly imagine engaging with a print or textbook before starting or if caught scrolling to refocus.
Oh, that's interesting. I wonder if actually engaging with printed text for a few minutes would also help...
2 monitors vertical setup side by side, or horizontally stacked. Whatever floats your boat.
To clarify, what’s on the screen of the second monitor? The next page?
Not necessarily, it just provides you with more space to spread out windows for greater productivity. I suppose you could be clever and open up multiple instances of the same pdf to have multiple pages sprawled out across both screens. There's many ways to orient things.
Send to Kindle, or save to instapaper, send to Kindle.
(Possibly sensitive)
What pdf reader do you suggest?
I use Bluebeam. Primary use is to mark up technical drawings in PDF instead of CAD. Works well for reports/papers too, but that’s more of a secondary application.
Being able highlight and take notes is really helpful … did it on a kindle for portability, but like the dual monitor concept
Both Preview on a Mac and Adobe Reader allow you to colour important points. Preview allows you to then highlight those notes in a side bar. I prefer to read important docs on dual monitors but if I’m writing, I’ll always read my important printed docs on paper before sending.
The Remarkable changed my life for this. Truly wonderful.
(Possibly sensitive)
I just got one for Christmas, and am so excited to start using it! I’m a huge note taker, and retain so much more when I write things down.
Ooh girl, you know I’m about to!
I don’t know if this would work for you, and I’m sure I don’t read as much as you do—but, when there is something I really want to read, I forward it to my work email so it is separated from the World of Scrolling and Other Distractions.
I find that I skim the fluff and read the meaty matter (what I'm really interested in). Trust your instincts to guide you. You don't need to read every word of a lot of articles out there, even if you want to. Your brain knows what's right for you...
I save them as PDFs and read in @flexcil on my iPad.
The suggestions here are brilliant, a separate reading device without a bevy of apps. The latest Kindle or the other devices here, with note taking or highlighting keeps your mind agile. I found that creating a separate reading space, chair and view at home and work can help.
The small sized ipad. You can read anything by flipping pages like a physical book, including pdfs. I enjoy your NYT podcasts!
Not as good as Hamilton. Kind of a slog so far
This is my solution also
It's called a book.
Not very good at reading the room, are you...
I have ms edge read aloud my long digital papers.
The new immersive reader function allows you to adjust the speed of reading and follow along. Easy to pause and repeat a paragraph or take notes.
As a teacher and current grad student, I love Scrible Edu - it makes research, annotations, in-text citations, and source citations easy to capture. I prefer reading hard copy texts, but the tools offered in Scrible make research and digital reading more accessible and better.
strip ads, images, just text - print or save to PDF - Print Friendly chrome extension
I print everything over two pages
Get a vertical monitor! I was given one for Christmas, and it's amazing. It makes reading articles so much better.
PDF -> epub conversion makes for much better reading on digital devices.
I download PDFs to Apple Books, then read on iPhone or iPad by virtually “flipping pages”
iPad with „paper like foil“ on display
Vertical ultrawide monitor
For me it all starts w/ subject, relevance personally. If met I will hurdle clunky platform to get to those kernels that make life interesting. Your dilemma is tough in digital jungle where attention measured in nanos. Good luck, you are very good at your job.
Maybe a paperwhite reader?
pls follow up with the solution that works for you.
The Books feature on iphone isn’t terrible.
I print it and pretend I didn’t because my mind wanders too much on long digital reads
I use a pdf reader, I like it.
If you don't mind audio, you can try Speechify/MS Read Aloud. I find reading from a screen for long hours an unpleasant experience.
True Reader(s) response here, so helpful, thanks for asking Ezra! I work as a historian/geographer and fieldworker/drone pilot ID-ing historical sites. My reading, tech, narrative, maps, images & Reader methods suggested below are brilliant & worthy to pass on. RCTID-BAONPDX🌹
Well…depending on the research, I generally look at the abstract, then the methodology, and lastly the conclusion. If anything pops out, then I usually dig a little deeper…
iPad Pro on Airplane mode
I use my ancient kindle. No bells or whistles and you have to page through rather than scroll
I don’t but let us know what you learn with a column
What Adam said. I still find the hard copy versions best for reading and marking up.
Plus I spend so much of my life in front of screens
It would help to know how long the article is ahead. Pause features, a way to highlight items to go back to, and a way to make notes would be great. I much prefer reading long articles in print.
Skim more titles. A lot of articles in feed are restarting the same thesis. 1) get the gist of the point by skimming the headlines, 2) get an understanding of what is a pop story for the day, 3) when an article stands out, it really stands. Subscribe to NakedCapitalism
What platform? For PDFs, Acrobat Reader (iOS or desktop) has a mode called reader view. It allows you to flip pages instead of a continuous scroll. So, save long articles to PDF and go that route maybe. Not perfect, but workable.
You can do the same thing just with the Apple Books app. Save to PDF and open in Apple Books, it’s actually a more pleasant experience than Acrobat.
I insert pdfs into a note app on my iPad to read and scribble thoughts on the margin
i set the cursor and use the down arrow button but it’s a lotta effing tapping
An e reader helps.
I have a "Notes" app on my laptop and I save links to the articles there. Trouble is, when I go back to read them they're hopelessly out of date. (That wasn't helpful, was it?)
burn the books. in the volcano
Have you tried reading it on a tablet like a Kindle? It pages pretty much like a book and does PDFs. Also, they are dirt cheap.
Have you considered using a book reader app or kindle?
I use the onyx boox. e-ink but great for pdfs unlike Kindle. Nice break from looking at the computer screen
Remarkable 2 is very good for this. You can read PDFs and the browser extension does a good job converting web pages (except figures/images). Good for taking notes too, but reading and notes is pretty much all it does.
I convert (as able) to plain text, save & read on large tablet.
Interesting. I had seen all of that same research but only looked at the headlines.
Perhaps state the main points of the entire article at the top so people can click directly to their first interests?
I had found what you said. It is harder to focus on print after a few years mainly reading on digital device. Last summer, I had reading books while walking the dogs in quiet trail. Regain some ability - the book has to be good. I couldn't read Asimov's novel the past weekend.
I think it is the light. After reading on device, the eye's ability to distinguish the words on print material deteriorated fast. Hard to give up cell phone reading, but may be a good decision to do so.
Try Scriptation reader mode
My recent listening experience with “The History of Rome” podcast (It’s 179 episodes and I’m on episode 122) is making me think that a good text to voice app may help. I’m finding that my recall of things I listen to is better than my recall of things I read.
I actually found using audible with the speed increased and reading along physically has improved my reading speed by about 50% even when I don’t use audible and I don’t really feel any loss in comprehension.
I know this is a passion of yours. Have you figured this out yet?
Very interesting thread, thanks. Afraid I mostly print to paper if I have something important or complex to read and/or respond to. Books I mostly listen to and get hard copy when drilling down on details.
Ever since the pandemic, ive really struggled with long reading, which makes me sad. However, i can focus on audio content really well, so i listen to podcasts and audiobooks mostly
Pocket connected to a Kobo is damn near perfect. Articles go to Pocket which you can read on the Kobo, pdfs can be loaded through Dropbox which also has a Kobo app. The new 10” Kobo (I forget the name) is superb.
Yes! Or just Pocket alone, but on an iPad. Still scrolling but the bigger screen changes the reading experience and makes longer text less skim-enticing.
Kindle Oasis works for me. There's a Chrome extension to send articles to it. It makes getting through a 30-45 minute article a lot easier. The other thing I do is have Google Assistant read stuff to me while running or doing chores.
I use Instapaper, which can be configured to send articles to a Kindle periodically or on demand, that’s worked pretty well for me.
I only read offline. Physical books, or on a tablet disconnected from the internet. So with PDFs or e-books I download them, then turn off the wifi or go somewhere without wifi. Best is a park bench downstairs. Then I am reading on a simple device that is just for reading.
Faço o mesmo. Tenha um dispositivo dedicado à leitura.
não leio absolutamente nada no browser, tipo nada mesmo. Tweets e emails
Admire the discipline
I have a kobo and use pocket to save and send articles to my kobo. I can then read longform with the same concentration I read ebooks.
Sony Digital Paper is truly amazing. But if I am right it is not sold anymore in the US.
Check this out, i have tríed different digital readers and this is the best
A Samsung tablet...the best they have. I read lots of pdfs on it.
Nothing worse than reading long pdfs on a monitor.
i use onyboox but it is not really like reading on ebook reader. it is slow, not so comfortable to use (turning pages, bookmarks, change file to read..)
E-reader or tablet. I'm assumed you've tried that? But that's all that's ever worked for me
I read very few things directly I save what I think are valuable articles in Notes or Evernote. These apps also allow me to highlight and write notes if necessary.
MS Word reads to you.
Portrait oriented monitor
i keep just going back to printing it, but i do 2 per page both sides to feel less guilty about it
magazines. :)
Good perspective on this phenomenon.
Kobo with the Pocket app.
I used to email pdfs to a kindle email address for reading later … not sure if it’s still supported
Large 16:9 monitor *rotated vertically* in “portrait mode,” adobe acrobat in full screen mode
Having everything on one page then "turning the page" works wonderfully. It's what my Kindle does to to simulate reading a book.
Most monitors have the ability to pivot to portrait mode. So this and decrease the document size.
Pocket to Kindle integration
(Possibly sensitive)
Im currently testing, for the same reasons, a paper tablet (onyx boox). Maybe that's something for you
GoodReader on an iPad
Donald Trump has gotten by with reading pictures
You can send them to your kindle with a plug in. It rocks.
you can read them on Kindle which has page scroll feature and get the paper feel - like you're flipping through a page.
Set up a separate Twitter count as a "tickler file" (remember those?) Anything you want to read later or save for future use, use Quote Tweet (on phone or tablet app) to send to your other account. Twitter hates this by the way, it prefers you read before you retweet.
Inoreader + Unread + instapaper. Read on the iPad and basically have all notifications turned off.
That's what I do but send to Kindle for a much more enjoyable experience. hate reading off ipad
GoodReader swipes rather than scrolling.
Make comprehensive diagrams of whatever concepts you are trying to convey. 1 page SVG.
Terrific thread, thanks for starting this
I'll second (or third or fourth) the suggestions about @remarkablepaper
To stop skimming I highlight names, places and words that I like. Works. I read six books at a time. Two female biographies, two male biographies and two fiction books. Makes me focus better - but on the other had it takes a long time to get through a book!
Kobo e-reader with Pocket integration.
The remarkable tablet is really good for this. Added browser extension automatically converts and sends to the tablet.
You can utilize software such as Kurzweil that reads documents out loud, highlighting the passage that it is reading as you go.
Please let me know if you figure this one out. I have the same problem
Read with a stylus and highlight on. I find it forces me to read rather than skim.
Save as a pdf, export to Books on my iPad, and use a stylus to take notes as if it were a physical book!
Read it aloud to yourself or your partner
Pocket is the only answer. Exists on every platform, easy bookmarking
Oh, I know this one, and it’s simple. Move pdfs to a kindle, which allows you to take things on a page by page basis, ensures there are no adds, and removes hyperlink temptation
I read on my iPad Pro while walking in circles around my house. I turn off notifications.
Same here; I read on iPad Pro walking on the treadmill every morning.
I’d fall everywhere on the child toys and moved furniture 😅
Remarkable 2. Can even mark up pdfs. But no paper
I use a separate tablet for this than for everything else. It's an old one so it's not super functional, but all I need is my Google synced and able to access articles I bookmark. 90% other apps removed and nothing with notifications on, so it's solely used for lengthy reads.
No trouble reading PDFs. Just don’t skim. Wrestle with the text. If you’re in a rush you just won’t absorb it.
For pdf files I tend to set my pdf reader to page format with mimics a book format of pages
One good thing would be to give relevant and important information throughout the whole read, and not leave all the valuable details the end with only a bunch of unimportant BS people have to trudge through to get to the point. That would help.
Let me download a copy that is divided into sections and lets me remember where I left off. If it also had a link it to text to voice capability that would be great so I could have listened instead of reading. Whether a synthetic voice is acceptable in this case.
I use pocket and access the articles on an ereader.
A separate vertical monitor.
No good suggestions on that but really good interview with Noam Chomsky on your podcast. I listened to it twice.
Full screen, 2 pages side by side, with a clickable “next” button. If you feel yourself slipping, highlight/make a digital note of something on the next paragraph or two. Larger text is also nice, and turning off page numbers can help.
I use Send To Kindle, and then I never read the article I sent to my kindle for easier reading
Boox large format 13” e reader and subscription to scribd
I use Pocket. You "share" the article with the Pocket app and it goes into your Pocket queue, waiting to be read offline. Avoids most pay walls too. When I have time to buckle in, I just open Pocket, even in airplane mode.
I use a Microsoft surface. If I want to skim the document, then I read in laptop mode. If I want to read slowly and carefully, then I read in tablet mode with a stylus.
As academic physician have struggled with this for years. Have tried to find the bests setup to get deep into reading journal articles, and have never quite resolved it. PDF to eInk Kindle has never quite worked technically. iPad or computer screens don’t facilitate deep reading.
Aaron I'm curious if you tried the Onyx book that others have mentioned. I haven't tried Onyx ($900), but wondering if it's responsive enough. I share your pain.
iPad with Apple Pencil and GoodNotes app. Import PDFs into the app and highlight, underline, and annotate with the Apple Pencil. I used this for grad school and in consulting, and it works great. @GoodNotesApp
Have you ever used a kindle?
Shorten them perhaps or highlight with a referral to read full article.
Dual monitors. One with the article. One with a doc to take notes, including a link back to the article. Active reading keeps my brain engaged now. The notes help me recall what I read later.
Audible that shit Ezra. I want to hear your wokeness.
I ultimately resolved to print or buy a hard copy of anything I thought was important to read in school. I just can't muster the attention necessary for pdfs.
, i do not. unfortunately i also go through that problem. i currently have many printed documents all over my room. (gravitational-wave astronomy documents, for research)
I would try one of the music-score-reading apps, like ForScore. Highlighting, annotation, and page-turning are all key parts of the process of learning music, and ForScore takes PDFs as input.
A River Raid-style autoscroll is probably not the answer.
I use Drawboard PDF. Only use single page mode.
We are developing a tool for exactly this purpose. I will DM info.
I’m a scientist, so I’m constantly looking to improve comprehension. Was fully paper in college, then fully digital in grad school (mid 2000s). Transitioned back to reading important things on paper about 7 years ago and will never look back. No comparison. Paper wins.
In any program I’m familiar with, you can advance a full screen or page at a time. Does that still count as scrolling as far as the skimming issue? (I also prefer reading long items on paper.)
I use PDF Expert on iPad with pages changes set to a left-right swipe instead of up-down. It helps curve the urge to scroll and skim
iPad and pagination works for me. I skim much less when I’m thinking about reading something page by page.
I make word docs of standout stuff, then use various type-coloring and highlighting. Takes time, but can take you deep.
I use Kindle a lot but I tried to send pdf files into it and it doesn’t quite work. Also get tired of reading papers on a laptop.
Oldreader ( like Google reader) and can then download to kindle or just dedicate time on a vacation to read
Portrait mode on a widescreen monitor.
Print it out. Seriously.
iPad + notability + iPad covering that’s easy to write on
What kind of covering do you use? I use notability but hate the pencil on screen texture.
Not sure if this will help, but I’m taking classes with tons of online reading. Speechify has helped a lot, even at really fast speeds.
Good question. The bbc has a nice format. I pay for nyt sub and never look at it. I read theirs and Bloomberg email mash ups instead
If you think having things read *to* you would work, there are several apps out there that can read all kinds of texts. I've been happy with this one for a handful of years:
@Voice Aloud Reader (TTS Reader) - Apps on Google Play
Listen to app reading aloud web pages, PDF, DOC, TXT, EPUB and FB2 files, more.
Yes! Same problem!!!!!
I turn on Accessibility settings for auto reading, triggered by two finger swipe from the top of the screen—can set speed and choose from a variety of voices. While I like reading with my eyes, for a New Yorker-ish length article I always have it read to me via this method.
I typically Send to Kindle. I use an Oasis, so no apps or notifications. Set to “page turn”, not scroll. Feels more like a book. I can also highlight, and I save my highlights and notes thru @readwiseio.
I use a 12” iPad Pro with the Goodreader app and Apple Pencil for markup and highlighting.
Calibre for managing pdfs and ebooks + Foxit reader. I read most things in Chrome though
The @instapaper app supports pagination, and it can also send batches of articles to a Kindle device. Kobo e-readers will sync EPUBs over Dropbox, so you can EPUBify articles (never tried this myself). Kobo also supports Pocket -- but Pocket on Kobo lacks highlights and notes.
Big chair, sitting on your left leg bent under you, leaning to left, supported, and actually wanting to read it. Works for me.
For web > PDF > Kindle, open the article in the Instaweb app, which makes PDF creation easy, then email it to your Kindle account’s email address.
Ok so like...make it measure your reading speed and have it turn the pages based on your speed...also, lock any controls until finished*
Anyone have a reference for the research Ezra is referring to?
Tried @instapaper ? It strips out all the BS. Chrome plugin for saving. A much better reading experience.
Onyx Boox e-reader. Which is basically and Android tablet with an e-ink screen.
Casting another vote for remarkable
A friend suggested reading along with tts to ensure they read each word. I'd also concur on an A4-sized e-ink tablet/reader. Completely in love with my new @OnyxBoox 13" beastie.
E-ink tablets are wonderful! ONYX Boox are the best (, they run on Android, not locked in a proprietary system.
ONYX BOOX electronic books
ONYX BOOX electronic readers based on E-Ink technology
I got one as a gift over summer, and it's just sitting in a drawer. I should try to figure out how to optimize it.
Agreed. Honestly don't know how I would've gotten through my LLM and first year of doctorate without it. Impossible to really pay attention reading law review articles on a screen.
I avoid new gadgets and prefer reading on paper with a pencil, and yet I also really value the remarkable.
For some reason I read more clearly when I scroll up rather than scroll down. I have caught myself reading an article from down up after having skimmed it and realised that I hadn’t internalised anything.
I do that, too, though I do read the first-three paras first, then jump to the last para and read the article back to where I left off. I find I can get through a long read faster that way and with greater comprehension.
While my Kindle app on my Android tablet allows scrolling, I prefer to read entire pages & "turn the page" by swiping. I get it, it's a workaround.
just dropping my remarkable referral code for those interested:…
For digital content but not PDFs pocket is hands down the
Have you tried the Remarkable 2? You can load items to it, and it is great for reading and taking notes. But it isn’t a phone or iPad, so there’s less room for distraction (that is, there’s not yet a Twitter app for it.)
I use the Instapaper app, which gathers stories you like, can be read on a phone, tablet, laptop, or monitor. Simple to use, too, and with the ability to change font size, line spacing, and so on.
It syncs among devices, too so you can start something on a phone, and automatically pick it up at the same point on a tablet or PC.
And finally, it's free, and let's you "flip" pages rather than scrolling, if you want.
I have a full version of Acrobat. It allows me to annotate, write, and insert links to cross reference. This way, I can engage with the material.
I’ve tried everything and nothing is perfect but my current setup for is pretty close: aRemarkable2 (for reading and annotating) and PDF expert on an iPad (for blowing up graphs to look at more closely)
Chromecast them to a 52” flat screen?
Bookmarking your tweet,will come back later to read new ideas. I have a kindle, and combined with sw that sends you articles in mobi format is not bad (for example Push to Kindle). But the problem is that you cant send to specific folder,so you will have milions of files on root.
Then I have Onyx Boox 3 but is not easy to use and needs a lot of configuring to get a good setup. And finally I have a Samsung A6 tablet, that combined with blue filter lightning is great. I usually read in PDF format with both. Cant use the browser.
I'm still searching for a browser that lets me turn pages like a book. Maybe I should create one, I think it would be a game changer in browser reading.
When my income depends on what I'm reading, I don't skip anything 😆
IPad + GoodReader for annotation/organization. Also syncs to Google Drive.
The worst part of digitally programmed skimming is re-reading my own work and submitting it with stupid errors. My best routine: Write, edit, proofread, print, SHOWER, copy-read print, correct digital, submit. Takes forever.
epub format using AIReader works well for me.
I listen using the @Voice app on Android... :-)
Print as a pdf and treat it like a book. Still have to scroll, but now you have a page count to pace yourself.
I load long digital articles, books, and PDFs onto a cheap paperwhite. It also allows notation and highlighting. It’s impossible to scroll on a paperwhite, because every turn of a page has a slight delay, so I have a more immersive (albeit delayed) experience.
Swiftread is great. I imagine any speed reading extension will prevent scrolling.
Julian Lucas in the New Yorker this week makes a strong argument for using a reMarkable tablet for annotating.
Large 2nd monitor, even try flipping it tallways (most websites are designed to read vertically... yet most people who aren't developers have our monitors set up for watching widescreen film?) Then make notes with an annotation tool like @Punchlist.
How big and how certain are the effects of scrolling? Maybe the extra time spent looking for a solution isn’t worth the effort.
For longer reads, I usually convert to PDF and email to my kindle.
Tons of people might recommend the Remarkable tablet. I have one. I find it's suboptimal for reading, tbh, better for note taking. But it has a great screen and a pen for notes.
yeah it is called a printer or else two large monitors
An iPad with a good pdf reader app, and being trigger happy with the highlighting.
My Kindle Paperwhite from 6 years ago still works great for me!
Don’t print *everything*. But print a hell of a lot more than you are now (which I’m assuming is zero). Reading on paper cannot be duplicated, not even close.
I keep a display in portrait mode. I’m usually in a dark room, so I drop the brightness a bit. I’ve got a lot of expensive monitors, but I gravitate to a cheap 23” Asus monitor with “eye care”. Portrait mode side monitor is the big part though.
If reading journal articles, I’ll often transfer it over to my iPad to scribble on or occasionally my kindle, but my stuff is often image intensive (medical imaging/radiology).
You are right. Americans are having a comprehension problem. No one watches a TV show-they look at their phones throughout. Reading a book, an article, or anything is just skimming. Conversations at the office with coworkers looking at screens. Awful.
Tell us what you land on. Totally agree!
I swear I got my Instapaper-to-Kindle reading flow from you years ago and I love it. Is that an option or do you mean for something different?
I read Red Mars on my phone. On the Kindle reader I think? Somehow managed to make it through. Twas many years ago but seemed to be ok. Just whatever text fitted on the screen and tap for next page.
You deleting all of your social
Miracast to your TV
This isn't "new" anymore, but saving things to the Pocket app and reading them in full later when less rushed is something I've been doing and enjoying that.
Monitor placed vertically.
I’m trying to get into Reading List on iPad as a different “scrolling”, but still feel it. Eager to hear what you come up with.
Shorter paragraphs. Minimize the background
Send articles to Instapaper. Have Instapaper send those articles to your Kindle. Or there are extensions out there that will send the articles directly to your kindle. Not sure about PDFs though.
Flipboard once was great at that, but I stopped using it and I’m not sure why.
More intentional concentration to well read message. Just in case one might miss an important detail.
I tried rotating my screen 90⁰ into portrait and have been thinking of going back to that. Bigger font but still see a whole page at once. Not so good when you want things side by side.
I agree, digital is harder to engage in deep processing with but being able to annotate does help. I use notability on my iPad with an Apple Pencil to highlight & write notes.
If I understand the question- try GoodReader. Great tool esp for pdf
All I know is most articles don’t get going until the 3rd paragraph
24in portrait mode monitor for reading. usually print in pdf format, then read the article. I use chrome plugin "print friendly & pdf" plugin to print in pdf, I can remove all pics/ad. for ebook, I use epub-calibre format for reading, can read multiple page as single screen page.
I discovered this paradigm shifting platform with killer use cases the other day "Physical newspapers" I'm calling them
Same. Print it onto paper. I also do that for anything I’m proof reading.
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on an iPad has intuitive UX for reading pdf files. You can annotate, save parts of the articles, and group notes.
Tapping instead of scrolling works for me
I have Hazel (the app!) send pdfs to DevonThink… which I read on an iPad with PDF Expert and annotate with an Apple pencil. All scribbles are saved in place in the DevonThink folder. Multiple annotated pdfs then opened in the Muse app (also iPad)
I read on Apple’s Preview App and highlight (virtually,) and take notes as I read. Also, I can highlight and write notes in margins with my Apple Pen on my iPad Pro.
Put your devices down and read books.
Ezra, any improvement on digital reading would be wonderful! I have students who get headaches during long, digital reading tests.
Thanks I’m having this issue with long reads. I love my kindle but do miss not being able to hand write notes. I love the idea of the e-paper tablets and the remarkable sounds really good but I need color. What’s my best option? Looking for lightweight in device and stylus.
Notability on large ipad pro so I can highlight and take notes in the margins.
Checkout the Remarkable e-ink tablet.
I have a third monitor set up vertically. It’s a basic solution but worked so well for me when I was buried in research articles for my dissertation this year!
Remarkable2. Pricey, but solved the exact predicament for me.
I've found Pocket very helpful. Really easy to save articles, can change the font, and they have page flip viewer options that suit what you're looking for.
Fit doc to page. Scroll by pages.
Print to pdf files and set up pages for horizontal scrolling. It’s more like a real book this way.
I use Sony digital paper
- as an avid reader and technologist, thought you might have some good suggestions.
What works for me: I take frequent breaks when reading long pieces on a screen (esp on my iPhone). And every six or seven paras, or when I come across a particularly interesting para, I read it aloud.
I use Pocketbook+Koreader (FOSS), can't look back. Koreader works on tons of other devices and seems to have every feature. (IME highlighting things helps retention.) Also supports Wallabag (like Pocket but FOSS) for Read It Later stuff - can selfhost it or get hosted for $10/yr.
Develop an editing program that shrinks some of those exceedingly long articles.
Get a kindle. Read the PDFs on it. Just like paper.
Try the @remarkablepaper tablet. I’ve used one for years and enjoy my reading and writing experience.
Story maps. More of an exploration than a scroll thru.
I've got one vertically oriented monitor so I can see at least a whole page at a time... I think it helps.
A reMarkable tablet might be a good option. No scrolling, only the ability to flip between pages. Can mark and annotate and have them all saved to your computer.
Setup a side swipe?
Focus less on the set up and more on being aware around that window of time when you are willing and able to commit to a long read. Self awareness of being in the right “long read flow state” is another way to frame it.
Forward as PDF to kindle and either read on kindle or via kindle app on iPad. See kindle settings for forwarding address associated with your kindle account.