Auto-send pdfs from zotero to your kindle and convert for easy reading

Lately I have been using my Kindle Touch for reading work-related pdfs in peace and quiet at home. So I faced three problems:

  1. most scientific pdfs are very hard to read on the small screen
  2. I use zotero and I want these pdfs to be included in my zotero literature list
  3. I want it all to happen wirelessly and automatically.

Here is my solution. It needs a Dropbox account, a gmail account and an iftt account. And a kindle account.

  • I add the pdf to zotero and add a unique code (in my case xk”, but anything unusual would do) to the filename of the pdf in zotero so the name might be e.g. 2345xk.pdf”
  • I added this line to my crontab on ubuntu (type crontab -e in a terminal)
    */6  * * * * find /home/myname/.mozilla/firefox/c42asdfeo9r.default/zotero/storage -name *xk*  -exec ln {} /path/to/my/Dropbox/Public/convert2kindle/ ;
  • What this does is, every 6 minutes, hardlink all the pdfs in the zotero storage folder with xk in the title into a subfolder of the public folder in my dropbox. I guess there is a similar way of doing this in Windows.
  • At iftt, I made a taskwhich, when it finds a new pdf file in that Dropbox subfolder, sends an email to Amazon with Convert in the title and the pdf as an attachment. This triggers Amazon to convert the pdf and send it to the Kindle. The Convert option is really pretty good and makes the unreadable readable, if not beautiful.

All I need now is a script to re-import the highlights and notes I make on the each pdf on the Kindle back into Zotero. Now that sounds hard.

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