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Old 12-10-2007, 10:58 AM   #1
Hadrien
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Mobipocket/Kindle support on Feedbooks

Mobipocket support is now available as an output for public domain & creative commons books on Feedbooks: http://www.feedbooks.com/discover

Here's a few interesting points:
- TOC: there's an inline HTML TOC at the end of the book, a link to this TOC at the beginning of the book and it's also included in the guide (it should display the TOC icon on the iLiad for example)
- Page break/Chapter: unlike some of the machine generated Mobipocket books that I've seen (Manybooks.net), there's page breaks at the right place, and parts/chapters/sections are displayed in a different way
- Direct link to other Mobipocket files: that's actually one of the coolest things. If you're using these Mobipocket files on the Kindle or on a PDA/Smartphone, you'll notice that you can directly download a new book while reading. For example, let's say that you've just finished reading a book. At the end of the book, you'll notice recommendations. Click on one of these books and it'll be downloaded on your device. The more people register and download books on Feedbooks, the better the recommendation system works. In the end, it should provide a seamless experience for the readers: as soon as you've finished reading a book, you can directly download and read something related.

What's next:
- Covers: we're working on a system that'll generate covers for our Mobipocket books (should look much better on the Cybook)
- We'll improve over time the template for these Mobipocket files, feel free to send us any kind of feedback
- Mobipocket output will be available for amateur books too. You've just finished writing a short story or a novel ? Publish it on Feedbooks, and it'll be available for your readers in PDF/Mobipocket/epub.
- RSS feeds support: we'll generate Mobipocket files with multiple RSS feeds. Should be very attractive for those of you who'd like to read blogs on their Kindle, but believe that the price is way too much for a blog. We can imagine multiple ways to sync the content: through a USB cable with a dedicated software on your desktop computer, through a webpage or a Mobipocket file that links to the RSS feeds you'd like to read, directly on your Kindle through automatic delivery using the e-mail address (0.10$*30 days = 3$ for an unlimited number of blogs).
- A mobile version of Feedbooks: should be much easier to download books on your PDA/Smartphone/Kindle through this template dedicated to mobile devices.
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Old 12-10-2007, 11:11 AM   #2
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That's amazing!

Exactly what I was hoping for.

Thanks Hadrien

Is there any way (other than uploads) we can support FeedBooks?
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Old 12-10-2007, 11:19 AM   #3
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@Hadrien: Are you going to support RSS feeds that don't have content embedded in them? That way you can undercut Amazon's newspaper service as well.
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Old 12-10-2007, 11:31 AM   #4
Hadrien
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@Hadrien: Are you going to support RSS feeds that don't have content embedded in them? That way you can undercut Amazon's newspaper service as well.
You mean extracting the content like you do with web2lrf ? My first priority with RSS feeds is to create a real cache system and improve the overall speed and support of the feeds.
The only problem that I have with extraction pattern is that they're really geeky, it's hard to make any of this easy to use for a normal user. Some partial feeds are transformed and redistributed as full content feeds by random people on the net (BBC). It's also possible to create your own extraction pattern using tools like Dapper.
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Old 12-10-2007, 11:36 AM   #5
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Yeah but since you have a website, you can always offer a few pre-configured feeds. SO the people using them wont know about all the geekiness powering them :-)
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Old 12-10-2007, 11:45 AM   #6
Hadrien
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Yeah but since you have a website, you can always offer a few pre-configured feeds. SO the people using them wont know about all the geekiness powering them :-)
True. But I must admit that making the cache system for all of the RSS feeds is already a challenge (although we have one dedicated server for Feedbooks, downloading thousands of RSS feeds and wget of evey image in these feeds is tough). We would have to add even more dedicated ressources (multiple servers, one for the database, one for the website, one for the file processing etc...).
The person who republish the BBC feeds as full content feeds just parse them locally, and publish them through Feedburner. With your application Kovid, you already have a way to parse the content. Maybe you could also republish these feeds, and make them available for everyone, through Feedbooks or on their desktop RSS reader.
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:23 PM   #7
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Interesting what is the difficulty with caching? Presumably the algorithm would be something along the lines of user requests feed. Fetch feed.xml, see if copy is older than TTL if not return previously generated ebook, if yes re-generate. You should probably not use wget for fetching, as that must impose a lot of extra process overhead on the server.
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:30 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
Interesting what is the difficulty with caching? Presumably the algorithm would be something along the lines of user requests feed. Fetch feed.xml, see if copy is older than TTL if not return previously generated ebook, if yes re-generate. You should probably not use wget for fetching, as that must impose a lot of extra process overhead on the server.
Problem is not with caching the feeds themselves, but the images. Right now, what's slowing us down is the need to download the images before generating the files. Wget is not for caching the feeds but the images themselves. Updating the feeds when someone ask for them isn't the best idea either, if there's images in this feed, the user will have to wait much longer. The best thing is to automatically update the cache in the background.

And you can hardly cache the generated files themselves in this situation: most people create customized newspapers with multiple feeds in them.
Once we have the feeds and the images in cache, generating a file out of it is pretty easy and fast (yes, unlike a software, people expect a website to be fast, 10-20s top).
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:42 PM   #9
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Hmm, I see. Custom newspapers are what is causing the difficulty. But continuously updating thousands of feeds (presumably most of them at half hour intervals) is going to mean a lot of bandwidth/cpu time.

Perhaps a better idea is to offer this functionality in an app?
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:50 PM   #10
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The bandwidth is not much of a problem. And to create something that'll send you newspapers on the Kindle, or through our dedicated application on the iLiad you need a service, not a software.

Basically we'll keep tweaking the system and add more CPU and it should work.
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Old 12-10-2007, 05:39 PM   #11
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Just add "If-Modified-Since" header to the request, and you won't have to redownload the image if it's not changed.
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:46 PM   #12
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Sorry to be a bit off topic, but are there plans to add the ability to download all the books under a list?

Sorry if this is not possible/very hard, I have no idea of the work involved but I love the site.
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Old 12-11-2007, 05:06 PM   #13
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Sorry to be a bit off topic, but are there plans to add the ability to download all the books under a list?

Sorry if this is not possible/very hard, I have no idea of the work involved but I love the site.
I've thought about this a few ways. I think the best solution in this case, would be to download the whole list as a zip file with all the included books.
Not sure that this would work as a direct download on a Kindle though.

Which list are you trying to download ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BKeeper
That's amazing!

Exactly what I was hoping for.

Thanks Hadrien

Is there any way (other than uploads) we can support FeedBooks?
There's multiple ways indeed.
Uploads are nice since we need to keep on extending our selection and we don't strictly use txt/html files, we have to divide the books in parts/chapters/sections.
Simply downloading and redirecting new users to Feedbooks also help. If you're logged in, it helps the recommendation system to get better. Yep, it's not much, but simply signing up and downloading books helps.
Making comments on our books, to help future users would help too.
And if you find a bug, see something wrong or that could be designed in a different way, feedback can also be very helpful.
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Old 12-11-2007, 05:45 PM   #14
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I've thought about this a few ways. I think the best solution in this case, would be to download the whole list as a zip file with all the included books.
Not sure that this would work as a direct download on a Kindle though.

Which list are you trying to download ?
I have downloaded the Sherlock Holmes books in epub (ready for when the Sony supports it) and was going to get it in PDF's along with the Conan the barbarian books to use on my reader when it arrives.

Great site, makes the reader a money saving device instantly.

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Old 12-12-2007, 02:34 AM   #15
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I have downloaded the Sherlock Holmes books in epub (ready for when the Sony supports it) and was going to get it in PDF's along with the Conan the barbarian books to use on my reader when it arrives.
Good though "Feedbooks" is, I think you'll find that my hand-formatted "Complete Sherlock Holmes" (available in both Sony and Mobi formats) is nicer. Available from the "Book Uploads" forum here.
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