Following are the “RSS/Periodicals to Calibre to Kindle 3” instructions for dummies we found to work. Thanks so much to “Tegan” on the Amazon discussion board for her contribution!

First, download and install Calibre for your operating system. The following instructions assume Calibre for Windows; if you use a different OS, I hope you’ll be able to find the corresponding buttons.

Click on “Preferences.” Under “Behavior,” CHECK the box by “Automatically send downloaded news to ebook reader.” For the time being, do NOT click on the next “delete news” box. Once your system is functioning correctly, you can come back and check this box if you don’t want to keep a copy of your downloads on your computer. Set the “preferred output format” to whatever your ebook reader needs. For the Kindle, it’s .mobi format. The “preferred input format” doesn’t really matter, Calibre will figure it out any time you run a conversion. Click the green “Apply” button in the top left corner.

Click on “Common Options” and then “Output Profile” and select “Kindle.” Click “Apply.”

Click on “Sharing books by email” and then “Add email.” Enter the @free.kindle.com email of your Kindle and select .MOBI as the format. Check the “Auto Send” box. If you have a gmail or hotmail account, you can easily use that to send files to your Kindle. Click on “Use Gmail” or “Use Hotmail” at the right and enter your email address and password. Leave the Mail Server settings alone. If you want to use another email account, you will need to either figure out the server settings and enter them, or set up a gmail or hotmail account and use it. There is a “Test email” button but I can’t figure out how it is supposed to work. Click “Apply” and then “Close.”

Go to your “Manage Your Kindle” at amazon.com and page down to the “Your Kindle Approved E-mail List” section. Under “Enter an approved e-mail address,” type the email you told Calibre to use to send files to the Kindle and then click “Add Address.” Unless you want to spend money having Amazon convert documents for you, also go to the next section, “Your Personal Document Charge Limit,” and enter 0.00 as the most you authorize spending on sending documents to the Kindle.

Now you are ready to send something to your Kindle! Click on “Fetch News” and then click on the triangle to the left of the language in which you want to see available periodicals. Select something that doesn’t require a User ID and password but is fairly static, such as Anchorage Daily News or Business Week. Do NOT click the “Schedule for download” button, just click on the “Download now” bar near the bottom right corner, then “Save.” You should see “Jobs: 1” and a whirling black circle in the bottom right corner of the main Calibre page. When the black circle stops whirling and you see “Jobs: 0” then you should also see the name of the publication at the top of the list of “books.”

Wait a few minutes and then turn on your Kindle and turn on WiFi, or go somewhere that has WiFi. Within a few minutes, you should have the periodical on your Kindle! If you don’t, go back and check the above settings, especially the Kindle email address and the “sender” email address you typed into Calibre – make sure they are correct and match the ones in your Manage My Kindle page.

Now you can set up the publications you really want to get delivered regularly. Click on “Fetch News” and then click on the triangle to the left of the language in which you want to see available periodicals. Select the first periodical. If it requires a UserID and password, you’ll have to go to the site and subscribe before you can set Calibre to get it automatically. If not, click on the “Schedule for download” box and select how often you want to get it, either every certain number of days or a certain day of the week. Weekly or monthly magazines you will probably check for less often than a daily paper. Once you have set frequencies for the desired periodicals, click “Save” and you are done. But you will need to leave Calibre open and connected to the Internet for it to get the periodicals on the schedule you want.

There may also be periodicals and/or blogs that you want to collect regularly but that are not on Calibre’s list. You can add them as a custom source. Click on the little down-pointing triangle to the right of the “Fetch News” button, then click on “Add a custom news source.” This is where the built-in Calibre instructions left me totally baffled. Ignore everything on the left side for the moment. On the right, look for the “recipe title” field and enter the name you want the generated book to show up as. The Oldest Article and Max. number of articles can stay the way they are for the moment.

Go to the site of the blog or periodical you want to add. If there is an RSS button, click on it and copy the http address given. If there is no RSS button, copy the COMPLETE http line at the top of the browser. In Firefox the RSS feed shows up in the URL bar automatically if it can find a feed for the website. At the bottom, where it says, “Add Feed to Recipe” type in the title of your feed (the blog or periodical name) and then paste the URL you copied into the second box. Then click “Add Feed.” You can add multiple blogs to the same one (although I prefer to have a recipe for each blog), so you have a book of blogs. When all your blogs are in the feed list, go to the left side and click “Add/Update Recipe.” The new recipe should show up in the list on the left. Now, go back to the main window, click on Fetch News, and look under “Custom.” You should see your new recipe there. Click on “Download Now” at the bottom of the right side, and see what comes up in Calibre. When you have it working, you can set it for automatic download just like the preregistered periodicals above.

Please feel free to leave comments on whether this worked for you, or if you think something should be added or changed!