Interview with the creator of Kinsync about his Mendeley app for the Kindle

I recently caught up with Aaron Asaro about the KinSync app that has been getting so much attention in the scholarly part of the Kindle-owning universe. Here’s what he had to say:

How many people are using KinSync now?

Our product is serving a very specific “niche” and the first milestone is 1000 active users. Less than a week after launch we’re well on the way to achieving that, which is very exciting.

How many people are on the KinSync team?

We are a tiny team consisting of two people and five machines. This is great because it allows us to iterate rapidly and keep a close eye on the mechanisms in place which keep KinSync running at full capacity.

“Hey, it would be cool to be able to access Mendeley from my Kindle” must have occurred to many people. What made you decide, “OK, we’re the ones who are going to do it.”

When I’m not working on KinSync I’m writing my PhD dissertation. This requires a good deal of wading through academic literature which I find difficult to read on standard backlit screens, so I end up printing a lot of it. Unfortunately after three years of storing useful papers my filing cabinets are filled to capacity and I’ve become rather more selective with the papers I keep. This translated into throwing quite a few printouts into the office recycling bin, and each time I felt a little guilty – there were just no good solutions out there to fix the problem. I was lucky enough to be given a Kindle for Christmas and (after the initial excitement wore off) I put together an application to solve my own problem. After chatting with some friends, who also thought it was useful, I figured I may as well put it out there (as KinSync) to see if anyone else wanted the same solution.

What is some of the feedback you’ve gotten from users?

Like us, all of our users are excited about connecting their Kindles with their Mendeley accounts. The one tricky thing often asked for is to be able to parse the standard academic literature format into native Kindle format. This is something that we’ve looked at in the past but it will require additional technical expertise, so has been put a few steps back on our roadmap. Right now we’ve got a few other things to focus on to keep the application growing at its current rate.

What are your plans for the future of KinSync?

We are focusing on getting the user experience right. In the case of the Mendeley integration we want a user to visit our site once, set things up quickly and not have to give it a second thought because it will all just work. We aren’t quite there yet, but hope to reach that stage soon. We have some grand plans, but are keeping those quiet for the moment as we adjust to our user’s needs.

What needs to happen in order for you to say, “OK, this has been a wonderful success!”

I’m more than pleased with what we’ve achieved to date. It will, however, be classed as a “wonderful success” when my Kindle-owning friends start recommending KinSync to me – that will be a great day.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Aaron! We wish you the best of luck.

You may wish to read more about Kinsync or follow Kinsync on Twitter. Is this the app you’ve been waiting for? Let us know in the comments.

3 thoughts on “Interview with the creator of Kinsync about his Mendeley app for the Kindle

  1. Such a handy tool. I am recently new to the kindle and am very excited by being able to go paperless in another aspect of my reading. Good job Aaron, I look forward to what’s next in store.

  2. Dear Aaron,
    This is wonderful to hear about. Before leaving the website, I wanted to say congratulations on the initiative. I can’t wait to try it. I, too, received a Kindle in December and it has transformed my attitude toward the ebook/epub phenomenon. Unexpectedly, it has transformed my reading experience–for the better. Best wishes–and to Mendeley, too.

  3. 1) yes, it’s the app I’ve been waiting for … unfortunately
    2) I’m still waiting for the 8.5″ x 11″ color e-ink slate that would be ideal (and is almost required) for reading scientific PDFs

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