Make Subscription to Daily News with Scrapy and Gitbook and Push it to Kindle

About four years ago, I used Gouerduo Daily Report for subscriptions to daily news for a period of time after I bought Kindle. I canceled it because of its uselessness. I found my isolation three months ago. However, about three months ago, I found my isolation and want to get more information about outside world.

I searched and compared with some productions for news subscription. I finally choose Kindle4rss and ordered it for one year.

I’m so careless to find that a lot of articles are uncomplete until nearly one month later. Some of them contain only first one of the multiple pages in the article of webiste. I mistook it for the invalid news from CanKaoXiaoXi for there is no hint of that. I also sent a email to Kindle4rss but there is no result. As a programmer, I decided to make it by myself.

Principle: Simple, easy to develope. It should be completed within a week during my lunch break.

The thread is simple:

graph LR;
  id1(fetch articles)-->id2(write them into an ebook);
  id2(write them into an ebook)-->id3(push to my Kindle);

I find some tools according to above, :

graph LR;
  id1(Scrapy for the fetching of articles)-->id2(Gitbook for ebook);
  id2(Gitbook for ebook)-->id3(send an email to my Kindle);

Fetching of Articles

I plan to fetch articles from the World News column only in the first version.


After parsing some pages of the column of, I found that the multipage is powered by AJAX. The site send an asynchronous request to get a json file, in whitch is what we want.

start_urls = ['']

I want to deal with it simpily. So just extract all links of the list.

body = response.body[1:-1]
body = json.loads(body)
data = body["data"]
links = Selector(text=data).xpath("//a/@href").extract()

What I realy want is the news that is published most recently. Old ones are not needed. Just fetch the first page, and filter with their published date.

date = datetime.datetime.strftime(, "%Y%m%d")

for link in links:
    if date not in link:
    yield scrapy.Request(link, self.parse_article, dont_filter=False)

Get the links and put them in the fetching links stack. Then parse them by the method parse_article. There is a challenge here which caused the problems in subscriptions of Kindle4rss. Some articles have more than one page. I also need to fetch the rest of the pages. Some of the these pages belong to Extra Readings which are not useful for me and need to be cutted.

def parse_article(self, response):
        item = KindleItem()
        item['resource'] = "参考消息国际版"

        # parse the content
        item['title'] = response.xpath("//h1[contains(@class, 'YH')]/text()").extract_first()
        item['content'] = response.xpath('//div[contains(@class, "article-content")]').extract_first()
        item['url'] = response.url

        # drop the extra readings
        if '延伸阅读' in item['content'] :

        # get the next page
        next_link = response.xpath("//p[contains(@class, 'fz-16')]/strong/a/@href").extract_first()

        if( next_link ):
            yield scrapy.Request(next_link, self.parse_article, dont_filter=False)

        # put them into the pipelines
        yield item


The items extracted will be put into pipelines for further processing. What we usually do is storing them with database. However, we can just write them into markdown pages here for making an ebook according to the specification of the Gitbok. What we get here is with markup of HTML, which can be parsed correctly in a markdown file.

class KindlePipeline(object):
    def process_item(self, item, spider):
        date = datetime.datetime.strftime(, "%Y%m%d")

        d = sys.path[0] + "/posts/" + date + "/"

        # Extract the filename from the url and cut the underline with integers in format '_1'. That will be the criteria of whether two pages belongs to one article.
        result = re.findall(r'(?<=\/)(\d+)(_\d+)?(?=.shtml)', item["url"])
        filename = result[0][0]

        # If there isn't any underline with integers, create a new file and write the contents into the file. The title and filename also need to be written into the file
        if ( not result[0][1] or result[0][1] == "" ):
            f = open(d + filename + '.md', 'w')
            f.write('# ' + item["title"] + '\n\n')
            summary = open(d + '', 'a+')
            summary.write('* [' + item['title'] + '](' + filename + '.md)\n')

        # Or just find the file with the extracted filename and append the contents.
            f = open(d + filename + '.md', 'a+')

Make an ebook

That can be done with one line of command with the power of Gitbook.

$ gitbook mobi ./

Push to Kindle

Send an email with the attachment by mutt and msmtp to Kindle.

Then I need to integrate all those scripts with a shell file. The shell file will be excuted every day with crontab.


ls_date=`date +%Y%m%d`

cd posts
mkdir ${ls_date}
cd ${ls_date}
gitbook init

echo "{\"title\": \"kindle推送-${ls_date}\"}" >> book.json

cd ../..
/usr/local/bin/scrapy crawl ckxx

cd posts
cd ${ls_date}
gitbook mobi ./ ./../../ebooks/${ls_date}.mobi

cd ../..
echo "kindle推送-${ls_date}" | mutt -s "kindle推送-${ls_date}" -a "ebooks/${ls_date}.mobi"


There is no exceptional handling here for I’m too lazy to do that!

Complete code and files can be found here: kindlepush