July 8, 2007

iPhone, eBooks, stopgap solution

My major gripe about the iPhone (well, after the completely abysmal nature and quality of AT&T's cellular service, more on that later) is that on my Palm Treo I have around 150 ebooks for use in emergencies. You know, stuck on trains, in airports, in boring meetings, just sitting around? Yeah. Around 100 sci-fi novels of various quality, some reference books, and some classics from Project Gutenberg. The iPhone doesn't offer any way to load them on, much less read 'em.

Well, the trashy sci-fi novels are the easiest to deal with. I've purchased a large chunk of 'em from the Baen Books online WebScriptions service, and downloaded many more from their excellent free library. I had them all in Mobipocket format because their reader was nice on the Palm, but they offer the books in zipped HTML archives. Since they're not DRMed, and since they keep track of books you've bought and allow re-download, I grabbed a bunch of them as zipped HTML archives, stuck them up on a private server I have (thank you Linode!) and wrote a quick index page into the archive folders for them. So as long as I'm on WiFi or EDGE, I can at least read these using Safari.

Now, for next steps, I'd love to find a way to write a not-an-app that at least knows how to download and cache the HTML and/or text format ebooks on the iPhone so that I can easily leave network coverage (again, thank you AT&T for your completely shit-tastic service) and not have Safari dump the book I'm reading, as well as take care of basic bookmarking and stuff like that.

Maybe in my copious free time.

Posted by jbz at July 8, 2007 6:48 PM | TrackBack

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