Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to the Books

A long time ago, possibly in a galaxy far far away, I bought a couple of old H. Beam Piper books and started reading them.  Then Return of the Jedi came to the theaters and ruined it for me.  The Little Fuzzy characters prominently showcased on all the book covers reminded me way too much of those insipid ewoks!  So I packed them all up, never to be seen again until recently when I stumbled upon them buried in the attic.  I was well over my ewok phobia by now; watching the even more insipid Jar-Jar character with the kids had cured me of that eons ago.  So, to make a long story short, I finally finished reading the books, and enjoyed them enough to start searching for more.

Well, I visited the local bookstore and they had nothing so I went shopping on the internet.  Apparently many of Piper's books have lapsed into the public domain and are available for free at Project Gutenberg.  WhoHoo!  Score!  So I nabbed a few of the zipped .txt files and started reading them on the zipit with greader2x.  Not bad, but they're also available in epub format, and some of those come with pictures!  I had to have it.

After a tiny bit of research I discovered that epub is really just a zipfile with some xml packaging around html formatted books and/or chapters.  Once unzipped it can be read in a browser.  I found the ebook-tools C library which I might use someday to add epub support to greader2x.  But meanwhile there's, a simple shell script to unzip, parse, and browse the contents of an epub file. 

The script uses frames and javascript to provide a the table of contents, so I simplified it a bit for the somewhat limited browsers available on the zipit.  And thus zpub was born.  It works ok in glinks, but the text is kinda small for me.

You can edit the script and replace the call (near the end) to the glinks browser with links for text only epub reading, or with netsurf for something that looks more modern.

1 comment:

  1. Bonjour,
    My prefered ebook reader is nupdf. I must have it too to refer to my pro tech datas at work. Because nupdf weights some MB, it will not fit in ffs, but the binary can be on a SD card (with some ebooks), and nupdf can be launched from iz2jffs with this little trick where I just made small the mandatory system part of the prog:
    Now, with the plethora of readers and formats, the ebooks sites adapt, ex. this one let me build my own custom pdf !!!!