Open Source Kindle?
March 10, 2009 7:44 PM   Subscribe

Is there such thing as an open source Kindle that uses texts from things like Project Gutenberg and the like? Perhaps after you bought the device the books would be free because they would all be out of copyright.
posted by samchase to Technology (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Actually, Kindle itself can do that. It's quite a versatile reader.
posted by exphysicist345 at 7:52 PM on March 10, 2009

I use my Kindle to read free out of copyright books all the time.
posted by peacheater at 8:10 PM on March 10, 2009

Seconding exphysicist345. I move books from Gutenberg to my Kindle all the time. It's very easy to do, free, and the texts are formatted correctly.
posted by Houstonian at 8:11 PM on March 10, 2009

Check out fictionwise and feedbooks.
posted by Raybun at 8:19 PM on March 10, 2009

If you already have an iPod Touch or iPhone you can download Stanza and do that or the Kindle app. There are other e-readers out there too, if you don't want to read on your computer.
posted by CoralAmber at 8:19 PM on March 10, 2009

Any Palm device can do this.
posted by rfs at 8:58 PM on March 10, 2009

nthing Kindle as an alternative to Kindle.

Each Kindle can be assigned an email address -- two email addresses, actually. One has Amazon convert the book to a native format and send it to your device, wirelessly, for $0.10. The other has Amazon convert the book to a native format, then send it back to you, for free, for you to transfer to your Kindle. Many formats such as PDF, HTML, and RTF are supported. Kindle can handle MOBI and (for audio books) mp3, natively.

Project Gutenberg is a great source, of course: HTML, sent via Amazon, gives what I feel are the best results. The Baen Free Library is a great source if you're into genre stuff.

There are legitimate reasons for concern about Amazon's DRM, but lack of support for open formats is not one of them. After buying the hardware (look for a used Kindle 1 if you want a bargain, and to reduce your footprint) you can get by just fine not giving another dime to Amazon.
posted by quarantine at 9:17 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

Check out Calibre, a multi-platform open source app which lets you organize ebook collections on the Kindle and other ebook devices. You can just grab, e.g., Project Gutenberg texts and move them onto the reader this way.
posted by korpios at 9:17 PM on March 10, 2009

ManyBooks provides free pre-kindleized versions of their books as well.
posted by nomisxid at 10:21 PM on March 10, 2009

I came to recommend ManyBooks, as well; great, great resource.

Also, the free Mobipocket Creator software will convert a lot of html, pdf and doc stuff to prc, which is the main file type that Kindle reads (quality will vary). The Kindle also reads txt files.
posted by taz at 4:13 AM on March 11, 2009

I use my Sony Reader for this. I've never purchased an eBook, they're overpriced compared to even a hardback. Instead I use calibre to convert out of copyright and otherwise free books and copy them to my reader.

There are enough classics out there I want to read to keep me occupied for the rest of my life.
posted by beowulf573 at 5:42 AM on March 11, 2009

Plucker for Palm OS and WinMob devices does a good job with HTML versions of Gutenberg books. I've been using it for years on my Treo.
posted by tommasz at 6:48 AM on March 11, 2009

I've been using a Palm (various models) for years. It's pocketable and I've read thru numerous books this way, all free. Having a small library in your pocket eliminates the boredom you would otherwise be subjected to while waiting in lines and so on. has texts already in several formats which saves having to convert them.
posted by cdc at 11:28 PM on March 12, 2009

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