Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Free Hugh Nibley (and other authors) ebooks

Update (20 Feb 2014): It looks like the Maxwell Institute changed their website and the script no longer works.  It's fixable, but I don't know when I'll get around to it. 

I posted about this elsewhere a little while ago, so apologies if this is old news for some of you. I recently discovered that the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, formerly the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies or FARMS, has made the text of many or all of the books they publish available online. This includes the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley.
I've been wanting the read Nibley's books for some time. Now that they were available electronically (and for free), I wanted to be able to read these texts within FBReader, the ebook reader that I have on my Nokia N800. I put the first one into a epub-formatted ebook by hand, but then, seeing as there are many more of these books that I am interested in reading, I decided to write a Python script, GetBook.py, to generate ebooks directly from the website. Given the book ID encoded in the book's URL, it grabs the book title, author, chapters, and text, and formats it into a epub ebook. It works quite well, although I am aware of at least one small bug that I haven't fixed yet. The script and instructions for using it are posted on my website. Let me know if you need any help with it or have any suggestions for making it better.

NB: I've had a number of requests for me to send the epubs to people. I don't know whether or not it's legal for me to distribute the generated epubs, so I'm not sending them to people at this point.