Academic papers on the Kindle

The newest Kindle Paperwhite (as of August 2016) can be great for reading academic papers as well as books, but you have to do a bit of work to make two-column PDFs look nice. The first option is to convert your .pdfs on your computer using k2pdfopt, but I know I’ll forget to do this.

The second option is to jailbreak the Kindle and use a custom PDF reader like KOReader that can reflow your PDFs on-the-fly. The best resource for this is the Kindle dev forum on MobileRead.com. Check the forums for up-to-date details!

I used this post. The steps were:

  • downgrade to an earlier, exploitable version of the firmware
  • jailbreak: copy a .bin file to the Kindle, then update it through the settings
  • hotfix: do the same with another .bin file!
  • update to a newer firmware version, in the same way
  • install the MobileRead Package Installer
  • install the Kindle Unified Application Launcher
  • finally, install KOReader (drop it in the /mrpackages directory, then install through the MRPI settings)

Phew! That took a little while but it works very well. To reflow a PDF, open it in KOReader, tap the top of the screen, then tap the gear icon in the lower-right and select “reflow”.

Note that:

  • Amazon can automatically convert PDFs you email to them, but they tend to turn out badly formatted so I prefer this method
  • After jailbreaking, never use the reset button in the Kindle settings!