Next of Kindle

11 05 2009

I have not yet succumbed to iPhone mania. I’m just not out and about often enough to make any use of an iPhone — any app or game I could want is typically right in front of me, unless I’m driving, in which case I should probably not be browsing the web anyway.

I have, however, succumbed to Kindle mania. My mother got one for Mother’s Day, and I spent an hour browsing a rough text conversion I did myself of Hitchhiker’s Guide. It was… sweet. Not just ‘zomg, I am readink an ebooks’ but the ergonomics of it worked VERY well for me. The device itself was just large enough to fit in my disabled hands without the troubles I have with holding open paper books and constantly adjusting the angle on them to read them. The print was nice and large and legible, good for my horrible eyesight. And the concept of having 80% of my reading library in one tiny form REALLY appealed.

So, while mine’s in the mail on its way here, I’m assembling a library of various hacked together books in various formats. Gutting LIT files, converting PDFs, shunting Text into Mobi form (so I can properly tag it with an author and title and cover art), the whole nine yards. My paper library largely consists of the complete works of Terry Pratchett, William Gibson, and Douglas Adams — I have no compunctions about taking yohoho yoinked versions and prepping them for Kindle, given I’ve paid for various first editions, hardcovers, or softcovers of everything under consideration. (I will however be buying Neil Gaiman’s latest books, since I’m just borrowing those from my sister, and neither of us have the Graveyard Book yet.)

I look forward to reading again. I used to read tons in college; I’d go to the university bookstore and grab some random thing from the scifi section that looked good, read it during off hours. But age set in, and reading books became a bit physically difficult for me. Having everything I wanna read in one device, one which works to my disadvantages? I’m sold. It may be pricey, but I am Virtual Fishing Rich(tm) and this would enrich me in turn.

Anybody know some good eBook resources? Places where I can get some quality content for this thing other than the Amazon store, like fansites, or indie book sites, or such?

EDIT: Massaging files into a Kindleable format involves a HELL of a lot of editing through Dreamweaver (only thing that can search and replace a carriage return) and Notepad++ (unwrapping functions). The Mobipocket builder which makes a nice metadata’d and coverimag’d version of the book, rather than “BookNameHere.txt”, also gags on anything other than text formatted in a specific way.

I’d just use the Amazon tools, but my test runs with those had mixed results, there’s no metadata, no sorting by author as a result, etc. Plus I don’t feel confident about routing THIS stuff through email.

So, I doubt I’ll have my 200+ book library of Legally Purchased But e-Ported books ready to go initially. I’m focusing on a few series (Phule’s Company, Hitchhiker’s Guide, SOME of the Pratchett, etc)

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21 responses

12 05 2009
ninjarat

Baen Free Library: http://www.baen.com/library/
And Project Gutenberg, of course: http://www.gutenberg.org/

12 05 2009
ranneko

The more I hear about the Kindle the more I wish it wasn’t a US Only device. I do love my paper books, but I would like a decent e-reader which doesn’t have silly high book prices.

12 05 2009
kowh

*token lazy angryfist Re: Kindles not being available in Canada*
Off the top of my head:

Project Gutenberg
Baen Free Library
Cory Doctorow’s books

I was going to link to Tor.com as well, but they’ve since taken down the free books they had to promote their new site.
What I’ve been reading on my Nokia N810[1] lately is actually a retelling of a RPG campaign: Welcome to the Halmae. Not because I have any connection to the game, but because it’s a pretty good story in and of its own right.
1: An “internet tablet”, but really just a smartphone minus the phone. The main thing is that it runs Linux and a slimmed down Firefox[2], so I use it as a PDA-sized laptop-equivalent for surfing the internet, chatting on IRC and reading ebooks. For the first two uses it’s pretty good, but for the latter a Kindle would be far better.
2: It comes with Flash support, and ports of extensions like Flashblock and Adblock are available.

12 05 2009
kowh

Heh, figured someone would post those while I got distracted in the middle of composing. Ah well, at least my post wasn’t completely redundant.

12 05 2009
meredy

Well, depending on your…err…larcenous ways, alt.binaries.e-book, alt.binaries.e-book.fantasy, and alt.binaries.e-book.flood can be useful…
*eyes stack after stack of books all over the house* Then again, if you’re like me, it’s not so much larceny as trying to have everything in a format that’s easy to store and read while playing on the compy. Which it sounds like it is.

12 05 2009
jaeai

Tech question for Later: Can you switch back and forth between fonts easily? I need large (read: dear god, I can read that from Mars / sized ) font sometimes, but I prefer smaller font/faster reading.
Rock on. <3

12 05 2009
raigne

I was an early adopter of the kindle. Early in the sense of bought it after it had been out 6 months, rather than when it was first released and had to wait for six months for them to mail it to me…
I love it. My major reason for getting it was for wikipedia though. I don’t think there’s a single time I’ve been out of the house with my Kindle that I haven’t looked something up. My area’s got good coverage though. YMMV.
There is only one thing I don’t like about the Kindle and that’s the lack of native support for PDF. I have a lot of stuff in PDF format (like, a whole bunch of pen and paper roleplaying game books, a couple graphic novels, etc) that will not be useful in any way without PDF support. Which is why I’m drooling over the DX, despite the gigantic form factor, and fear that I will snap it in two.

12 05 2009
raigne

Incidentally, occasionally if you go to the kindle store and browse a category, then sort by price: lowest first, you’ll find free copies of newer books. Sci-fi, fantasy and romance novels usually have a couple of those. I used to do it from the browse all books category, but they now have versions of like, every public domain book in existence, so that’s not as useful any more.

12 05 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I’m not sure; I didn’t want to mess with my mother’s Kindle settings. I’ll get to that when I get mine and post more about it.

12 05 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Thanks for the tip. I intend to load up on the free classics and get myself Well Read.
I have a lot of PDFs too, but native support wasn’t worth the larger form factor and heavier weight to me. The existing Kindles are exactly the right size for my casual reading.

12 05 2009
raigne

I loaded up on them from the aforementioned Project Gutenberg. Instead of being well read, I just have a well stocked Kindle. :3 I kinda feel like those people who have libraries filled with books they’ve never read…

12 05 2009
nekoneko

If you haven’t already, read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. My favorite book ever.

12 05 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Yah, I’ve read it. Good stuff. :)

12 05 2009
jengagne

appropriate icon FTW
RE: Gaiman, you said in your post neither of us has the Graveyard Book yet. Au contraire — I have it. Just assume by default that I have every Gaiman book and graphic novel for adults or children on the day it comes out. :)
Speaking of which, Andy got me Blueberry Girl for Mother’s Day. ZOMG so sweet and really lovely illustrations by Charles Vess, who I met last year. (The illustrator for the fancy version of Stardust.)

19 05 2009
Anonymous

“… can search and replace a carriage return) and Notepad++ (unwrapping functions)”
There are also a *lot* of linux command line tools for similar purposes. A quick check shows that some of them have windows ports.
‘awk’ specifically could probably combine most of the process in one go. Could you describe what you go through and I could come up with a script for you?

19 05 2009
Anonymous

This describes how to use an awk script to un-wordwrap, does this sound like what you would want?
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-general-1/another-awk-question-un-word-wrap-lines-604967/
Replace ‘\n’ with ‘\r’ or ‘\r\n’ if the text files are using microsoft-type carriage returns.

20 05 2009
kowh

The Vim text editor will also do this. But Vim has a bit of a learning curve so it may not be the best tool for everyone.

20 05 2009
Anonymous

VIM is what I thought of first, but I think twoflower has previously stated he does not prefer linux :-)

20 05 2009
kowh

I use Vim under Windows these days far more than under Linux, but yes, one generally only uses Vim if one uses Linux.

11 07 2009
tozetre

I am flipping through your archives on account of I reactivated my COH account and I want to play your arcs, and I saw this as I went by.
VIM is… well, it’s Vi, right, so… not exactly easy to use, but powerful… Anyway. It’s got a Windows version, and can handle carriage returns. You can also script it fairly well, too- ymmv, but I find it to be a very useful app.
http://vim.sourceforge.net/

11 07 2009
tozetre

Aaaaand kowh already mentioned it. :P

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