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How to automatically sync your ZEIT Newspaper to your Tolino Cloud?

This guide will outline the steps needed to set up a scheduled syncing mechanism that downloads the ZEIT newspaper and uploads it to your Tolino cloud. This mechanism will run once per week on GitHub Actions, so you don't have to worry about execution or deployment. The automatism is based on Selenium, which takes care of clicking the relevant browser buttons for you.

ZEIT Tolino Cover Picture

Let's make reading the newspaper on your Tolino even more fun!


Reading the newspaper on an e-book reader device has many advantages. First, the device is small and can be used almost everywhere, while the printed edition usually comes in a not-so-small format. Second, depending on the version of your device, it might come with inbuilt background light, which allows for reading in gloomy areas. Third, in the case of ZEIT, the digital epub edition does not even contain any advertisement at all (by the time of writing - let's hope it stays like this). And fourth, having a newspaper in a digital format enables searching through the document very easily.

While e-book readers became more convenient over the past few years, using them for reading the newspaper is still not very common. One huge disadvantage is the missing integration of publishers with the ebook reader cloud providers. Taking care of manually uploading the newspaper to the Tolino cloud is cumbersome and probably leads to the fact of reading less. While this seems automated for the Amazon Kindle, there is no automatism for Tolino devices in place. This guide will bridge this gap.


This guide will explain the usage of zeit-on-tolino, a little application I built recently. The app is based on GitHub Actions and Selenium. It requires a few manual steps to set up the syncing mechanism. Once configured, it will run in a cron-based fashion to download your epub newspaper and subsequently upload it to your Tolino cloud every Wednesday evening (after the release was published).


This guide assumes the following prerequisites to be fulfilled:

  1. You are able to log in at and download the epub edition of the ZEIT newspaper.
  2. You do own a Tolino e-book reader device and have access to the Tolino cloud.

Fork the zeit-on-tolino GitHub Repository

Go to the zeit-on-tolino repo and hit the fork button (or follow this link).

Fork GitHub Repo

On the upcoming Create a new fork page, fill the form with values of your choice and hit the Create Fork button.

Allow GitHub Actions to Run

Once the forking was successful, navigate to the GitHub Actions settings page (Settings → Actions → General) of your repo and allow all actions and reusable workflows. This step is required to allow the execution of GitHub Actions from the upstream zeit-on-tolino repo in your forked repo.

Allow GitHub Actions

Now head over to the GitHub Actions tab and enable the workflows to be executed for your forked repo. GitHub has a few security measures in place which disable workflows on forked repos per default. You will be prompted the following warnings:

Feel free to take your time to read through the workflows before approving.

Enable GitHub Workflows 1

And also explicitly enable the Periodic Sync workflow by hitting the Enable Workflow button:

Enable GitHub Workflows 2

Before executing the workflow for the first time, ensure to add your credentials to the repo. Otherwise, the workflow will fail.

Add Tolino and ZEIT Credentials to GitHub Repo Secrets

For the application to down- and upload the epub file, your login credentials for both Tolino cloud and ZEIT are needed. This step shows how to add them to your repository secrets. Note, that repository secrets are kept secret and can only be accessed by the repository owner and within the GitHub Actions workflows.

Navigate to the Actions Secrets page of your repo (Settings → Secrets → Actions) and add a new secret by clicking on the New repository secret button:

Add Repo Secret

The following secrets are required:

Secret Name Description
TOLINO_PARTNER_SHOP The name of the Tolino partner shop, e.g. thalia (see supported shops)
TOLINO_USER The username (usually an email address) you use for logging into the Tolino cloud
TOLINO_PASSWORD The associated password
ZEIT_PREMIUM_USER Your ZEIT premium username
ZEIT_PREMIUM_PASSWORD The associated password

Once you are done entering the five required secrets, they are ready to be used within the GitHub Action workflow. Your list of repo secrets should now look like this:

Repo Secrets List

Execution of the Periodic GitHub Actions Sync Workflow

Everything should be in place by now and the sync mechanism should be triggered every Wednesday evening. To inspect the exact time the workflow is scheduled to be executed, have a look at the configuration file of the workflow.

To check whether the workflow is executed in your repo, navigate to the Periodic Sync workflow in the Actions tab (Actions → Workflows → Periodic Sync). Note, that the Periodic Sync workflow offers to be triggered manually, by clicking on the Run Workflow button. This is potentially useful, after initially setting up the project.

Workflow Dispatch

I hope you were able to successfully set up the auto-syncing – happy to receive comments and feedback. 🐙


In case some of the above steps do not work as expected, I'd suggest using the comment section of this blog post for discussions.

For frequently asked questions check out the FAQ section of zeit-on-tolino.

If you happen to have issues with your workflow run, feel free to open an issue for further investigation.