Calibre and E-books on Slackware

Just in case anyone is thinking of running Kindle under WINE on Linux: it kind of works, so long as you want to just download books. It’s pretty crashy otherwise. And Calibre under WINE isn’t much for stability either, and the conversion plugins don’t work on the Linux version when the Kindle app is running under WINE, so you need to run ’em from the command line as described below.

I installed WINE, installed “Kindle for PC” under WINE (just run the “wine whatever-the-installer-name-is.exe” and it’ll install it under “~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files”) and then installing Python 2.7 and PyCrypto under WINE (you can run .msi files using the execmsi command, or maybe it’s misexec) and then giving the filename with the /i option).

That done, I can now run the ownership scripts from the command line using the pleasantly awkward shell script in the “My Kindle Content” directory where I download stuff (which has a hard link to my home directory so I can avoid the .wine paths:

wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Python27/python.exe /home/tom/downloads/tools_v5.1/Other_Tools/KindleBooks/lib/ $1 convert

This calls and processes the file identified by $1, dropping the result in the “convert” directory (which must exist.) The result is not an epub, but a DRM-free MOBI or awz3 file, which can be imported into Calibre and converted into an epub and loaded on your favourite e-reader after that (I quite like my Sony.)

The big note-to-self in the process is the unwisdom up upgrading to Python 2.7 in Slackware 13.37, as it breaks a lot of things, including, amusingly enough, wireless networking. “upgradepkg –resinstall python2.6.txz” and resintalling wicd fixed it, but burned an hour this morning I wasn’t really planning on.

And of course, all this is being done for one reason: so I can give Amazon money. I just want to be able to read the e-books I buy from Amazon on the device of my choice. Pirating books is copyright violation, and you shouldn’t do it. It’s just a pity that we have as yet not reasonable middle way between the insanely locked-down Amazon ecosystem and the free-for-all pirates. There really has to be a better way to make sure authors and distributors get paid without quite so massively inconveniencing readers.

About TJ

Scientist, engineer, inventor, writer, poet, sailor, hiker, canoeist, father.
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