If You Read Email Newsletters, You Need This FREE App
If managed correctly, your email newsletters can become an information treasure trove.
On the other hand, a thoughtless approach can turn them into distractions and one of the biggest productivity killers.
Don’t worry, I won’t tell you to pay for some app, or even worse, a new subscription. This is also not some sponsored content or an article peppered with affiliate links.
Instead, I want to tell you about a free and open-source app that truly changed the way I interact with email newsletters. It helped me get rid of my Readwise subscription, so it literally saved me money.
It’s called Omnivore.
How Does It Work?
Omnivore is a free, open-source, beautifully designed, and minimal read-it-later app.
You can use it as an alternative to Pocket or Instapaper. However, it also has an unconventional use.
I use Omnivore to manage all my email newsletters.
After signing up, Omnivore will give you a randomized email address. For instance, if your first name is “John”, you will be assigned a unique email, such as “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Now, whenever you are signing up for an email newsletter, you can use that email.
Once you do that, all the newsletters will directly arrive in your Omnivore inbox, skipping your primary email accounts. This is a great way to declutter your primary email.
In Omnivore, you will have a beautiful “Inbox” with all your newsletters. It essentially becomes your own personalized RSS feed.
Superior Reading Experience
When parsing email newsletters, Omnivore strips away all the unnecessary content, leaving you with only what’s important for you to consume.
The reading experience is more pleasant than reading straight from your email inbox. You are also able to highlight and annotate, hence having a more engaging experience. I will elaborate on this a little later.
Easy to Unsubscribe
Our interests and habits change over time. You might have subscribed to some newsletter months back that does not interest you anymore.
Omnivore makes it incredibly easy to unsubscribe from these newsletters.
You don’t even have to go to the newsletter’s website to unsubscribe. You just hit a button within Omnivore, and BAM, you are done. That newsletter will stop showing up in your inbox.
Highlight, Annotate, and Take Notes
There’s no point in consuming email newsletters if you cannot retain at least some of what you read.
Otherwise, it’s pretty much garbage in, garbage out.
When reading newsletters in an email client, there’s no way for you to actively engage by highlighting, annotating, or taking notes.
Omnivore lets you do all these and more.
It also gives you a dashboard to look at all your highlights and notes for any active or archived newsletter.
RSS Feed Across All Platforms
As mentioned before, Omnivore essentially turns your email inbox of newsletters into an RSS feed, ready to consume.
Even better, the data is synced across all your devices. In my case, it’s synced across my Macbook, iPhone, and iPad.
Whether I am on the go or sitting on my couch, I can consume my newsletters distraction-free whenever I want to.
Viewing Original Source
If you have used a read-it-later app before, you must have run into bugs when the original source is not parsed well.
That’s a problem difficult to get around whenever something is being parsed.
Omnivore’s parsing algorithm is really good in most cases. However, I have run into issues a few times related to certain images not showing up, or certain sections not being divided up correctly.
In these situations, you can easily access the original source with the click of a button.
It’s super straightforward, and you get the correct HTML rendered on your browser in a matter of milliseconds.
Omnivore has native integrations with popular note-taking or personal knowledge management (PKM) apps, such as Readwise and Obsidian.
I personally don’t use these integrations, yet.
However, there’s one integration that is truly unique — Webhooks!
I won’t dive into Webhooks too much in this blog post to spare you some gnarly technical details. Simply put, custom webhooks allow me to write programs and software to transfer data from Omnivore to my custom productivity system without relying on some integration tool like Zapier or IFTT.
The Power of Text-to-Speech
For a free app, Omnivore has a pretty powerful text-to-speech feature.
Some newsletters that I subscribe to are news briefings. These are not super in-depth or insightful articles. These are just a list of events or incidents that happened over the course of some time.
These newsletters tend to be very short and dry. They are boring to read.
Using the text-to-speech feature for these newsletters can be a huge time saver. Whenever I am cooking or just doing some errands, I can quickly consume a bunch of these news briefings back-to-back using text-to-speech.
There you go, folks!
I hope I have convinced you to give Omnivore a try. If you do, please let me know how you find it.
If you already have a system that works for you, I would love to know about it in the comments below.
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