ReadBeam will be open-sourced soon.

Fellow ReadBeamers,

I do have good and bad news:

Let’s have the good news first: The ReadBeam software will be open-sourced on GitHub in the next few weeks. Maybe this may help technically inclined peeps to set-up their own version of a hosted and simplified ReadBeam service. Details will be made public on the ReadBeam blog in a few days time.

Bad news: I’ll stop the press at the end of may. ReadBeam as a hosted calibre will cease to exist in approximately four weeks.

May the idea live on in the open-sourced software - information wants to be free!

Thanks to Kovid and the whole crew. It was an amazing ride!

(Details to follow here)


Sign-up failed / No eDocs today

Dear Beamers,

tonight we reached an important milestone with ReadBeam. We reached the maximum monthly limit of our email provider. This means I would need to pay more for sending emails. Not being able to send email means a few things: You won’t get any eDocs and signup doesn’t work as well, because both requires sending out emails.

Things will immediately work again on sunday, because the monthly limit is reset on the first of each month. This is a short term fix for the current problem.

If ReadBeam continues to grow like it did in the last months we will max out the email account even earlier next month. I will make up my mind what I plan to do with ReadBeam in the next weeks.

I could either imagine open-sourcing it so you all can do with it what you please or commercializing it, so that I can further afford to pay the servers and the growing email traffic. I am not sure that I can afford to convert it to a commercial solution, ‘cause I have plenty of paying jobs currently, but you never know…

Let me know what you think!

Happy beaming,



About to unleash the next release

This is basically a maintenance release (“Freezing Cooper”):

  • Fresh off the mill: Adopted Bootstrap 2.0 from Twitter to make things more responsive on your Kindle or iPad.
  • My favorite Apple quote: “General stability and performance improvements”

Due to new hardware things have stabilized significantly. Your cherished morning read should now be ready on time.

Please let me know, if things don’t work out as expected.

Hapy beaming!


Kindle Touch - Can’t remove personal documents

Some users with a brand spanking new Kindle Touch wrote in to let me know that they are unable to delete ReadBeam documents from their Kindle.

This is not a problem of calibre or ReadBeam per se, it seems to happen once you mail personal documents via Amazon to your Kindle Touch.

One user (thanks Rainer!) just sent me a workaround: If you login to your Amazon Account and “Manage your Kindle” then you are able to delete the personal documents from there.

Give it a try, and - as always - happy beaming!


Citius, altius, fortius

I am currently in the thick of migrating to the new server. When you read this you will be most probably already working on the shiny new hardware.

Signup has been reenabled on the new system, please go ahead an get yourself something to read for the weekend.

Please be considerate though, keep yourself to a maximum of three eDocs, so that everybody can use this machine and the conversion delays are kept to a minimum.



"My morning paper arrives too late"

In the last few weeks ReadBeam.com has been swamped by new users. This led to ever growing conversion times. Just converting all the morning eDocs currently takes between four and seven hours.

To alleviate the problem I have temporarily suspended signups.

I will take measures to have ReadBeam again send morning papers in the morning - one will be switching to a freemium business model. Thats fancy for: some features of the site will be usable for free, others will cost money. This will allow me to add new servers and allocate more time on developing the service.

In the meantime I am sorry for the inconvenience.


Missing Index in News Sources

After digging around I just found an interesting tidbit about why - sometimes - the index in the Kindle files for news sources is missing:

It sounds like you are getting the book reader, and this would be because the EXTH[501] field of the metadata is not set to NWPR (for newspaper). The latest release of calibre fixes this. HOWEVER, if you email the mobi to your Kindle, Amazon will overwrite the EXTH[501] field with PDOC which will put you back to the book reader. If you transfer the mobi via USB it doesn’t get overwritten and you’ll get the news reader which is what you obviously want.

There doesn’t seem to be any way around the email issue. Unfortunate, but “that’s progress” I guess (sarcasm).


ReadBeam 0.99 Release is Imminent

Yes, we are approaching ReadBeam 1.0, but before we do, I have reorganized the backend - again. The changes are getting easier on the users though, for most of you things should simply get faster and more reliable.

For now I scrapped charging money for the service - setting up the payment infrastructure is a major hassle - so, enjoy! Instead I have introduced the concept of computime, which is a fancy word for time the converter spent on crunching your docs. This way I plan to identify recipes and/or sources that create a lot of load.

I moved over all of the users (minus spam) and most of the eDocs you set up. Only a handful of private recipes got lost in the process. So if you miss anything after tomorrow evening, log in and check what eDocs are running in your account.

Enjoy, and as always - let me know what you think.



ReadBeam 0.95 is going live in the next few hours

The next disruptive release of ReadBeam is about to go live. Currently I am doing final testing to remove the most obvious bugs; I’ll leave the others for you :). It may take a few hours until the new version (you know it when you see it) goes live at your end of the net.

The internal data structure changed, so your subscriptions went south. Please just log-in and recreate your subscriptions to have plenty of reading material for the upcoming weekend.

I hope you do like the new outfit and workings. Please let me know if you have questions or ideas. As always, I’m just an email away: tom@readbeam.com.

Downloading is now handled by a content distribution network (Akamai), and mailing by SendGrid. This should alleviate many problems we experienced while we outgrew the old solution.

Yours truly,


P.S. Kovid and many others created plenty of new recipes in the recent months. If you e.g. like Hacker News or Smashing Magazine set up your own eDocs and have them sent to your Kindle in no time. Check out the available recipes here: eBook Reader recipes.