Automatically Send Documents to Your Kindle with Dropbox & ifttt

A great feature of the Kindle is the ability to email documents to it. (That isn’t quite how it works, but the details of that aren’t important for the purposes of this post.) I send at least 5 documents per month to my Kindle. It’d be nice if I didn’t have to go to the trouble of attaching files and sending mail to the device though. If only there were a way to automate this…

Good news! There is. is a great site with a very difficult to pronounce name. ifttt stands for “If This, Then That,” and it can automate a LOT of stuff. Like monitoring a folder in your Dropbox,and automatically emailing the files.

I created a folder called kindle in my Dropbox’s Public folder. (ifttt seems to require both authentication with Dropbox and that the folder be a sub-folder of Public. That seems odd to me, but it works so I won’t complain.) Then I created a rule in ifttt to monitor the folder. Whenever a new file appears in that folder, ifttt emails it to my kindle. I also linked ifttt to my gmail account, so that ifttt can send from my account. This means I didn’t have to bother with adding a new authorized sender to my Kindle, because I was already sending stuff from that account, so it’s already authorized.

Now when the latest issue of Linux Journal is available for download, or I pull a file from Instapaper, I just save it to my Dropbox/Public/kindle folder, and forget about it. ifttt does the rest. ifttt will pick it up within about 15 minutes, and then send it to my Kindle. The delay is a little longer than that, though, because I still have to wait for Amazon to process it, but that was going to happen either way.

ifttt also allows you to create recipes, which are just automated tasks that are anonymized, so you can share them. Here is the recipe I created for this task.

For you linux users, I also created a cron job to automatically clean up that folder. This cron will run at 5:45 PM Mon-Fri and delete any files it finds that are more than 24 hours old from the Dropbox/Public/kindle folder.

45 17 * * 1-5 find ~/Dropbox/Public/kindle -type f -mtime +1 | xargs rm -f

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