Converting eBooks to Sony Reader format

Since yesterday, I made nice progress in solving my issues with content creation for PRS500 and it’s readability. There are several ways how to proceed:

The simplest is to download Book Designer. It is free for non-commercial use and current version 5.0 Alpha does the job very well. It allows you to load source in text, HTML, Lit, PDF, PalmDoc (prd/prc), rb and few other formats and process them into native LRF format – plus few others I do not really care about. The result is nice, readable LRF file with three sizes, nicely formatted, with metada. As added benefit, because the author is Russian, the program does not assume that English alphabet is the only one in existence and allows to select encoding. The result is quite good – most of the extended characters from Czech/Slovak are there, some are missing and displayed as space (namely ř,ě,ľ …) but it is readable. What is maybe better option is that with English as language and default encoding, the software “downscales” the extended characters to closest English pairs: ř -> r,ě -> e – which results in familiar computer Czech/Slovak. I am very comfortable with option 2, and will work on getting correct font for #1.

If you want to read more about the program go here and here – as long as you can read Russian. I found out that even after 22 years of not using Russian, I can still reasonably well read and understand it …

The program is useful for creating Palmbooks as well as Microsoft Reader Lit book. I did not try that yet. User interface of Book Designer is not exactly Apple-made – extremely technical,  geekish – looking like designed  by engineer for engineers 🙂  – here is how it looks like.  But it is the functionality that counts. Thank you – whoever made this possible :-).

If you want actually understand how the LRF format works and how the book is formatted on very low level, read the format spec and then download the BBeBinder from Google Code. It is C# 2.0 project, which aims to create something similar that BookDesigner – but as opensource, GPL-ed application. It is very early version (0.2) but in the true spirit of opensource, it actually (mostly) works. I have downloaded it and looked inside the code. The solution contains BBeB encoding/decoding library and main program, which was nicely designed with extensibility in mind. Using plugins, it allows to add additional input data formats (currently works well for text files, some HTML and I had mixed results with others).

If both of my projects were not in C# space (which is causing me being slightly over-see-sharped at the moment), I would not mind volunteering few hours into this – to make sure that Central European encoding is handled OK :-).

7 Responses to Converting eBooks to Sony Reader format

  1. matt miller says:

    I have a sony ebook reader and would like to buy e books from other e book sources. The problem is that other ebooks are not in sony compatible format. Can I use this program to solve this problem ?

  2. Miro says:

    It depends on format and whether it is protected or not. If the original is DRM-ed, conversion is almost always problematic – not speaking of legality of the process.

    If you are lucky enough to have the source as text or HTML or unprotected LIT (or have other tools to produce it), you will find it useful.

  3. Maria says:

    for non-drmed books i use the online converter
    it works pretty good (mostly)

  4. Chris says:

    I downloaded the book designer, but couldn’t find any option for creating .lrf books… How does this program work?

  5. misterkibe says:

    I havey a sony pr-505, and mostly PDF files and books. But I could´nt find a way to rename my file to Sony reader so it quem read name of the book and auyhor correctly…any Ideia?

    Thank You

  6. Harlequin Felis says:

    MisterBike! I have the solution for you – I used to have the same problem, mostly with my Dresden Files ebooks I converted from what I typed in word… I fixed it by using this

    Install it, right click the PDF and select “edit metadata” You can then change the title and author tags, save the pdf and it’ll show up properly in your menu. Something else I learned too – if you set up bookmarks for a pdf in Foxit or Adobe, they’ll be converted into the contents links in the reader too. Spiffy. anyway, lemme know if it works out for ya, and if you need any more help, mail me at wtfshow (@) and I’ll be more than happy to assist 🐱

  7. Alatah Sta-Weeches says:

    Dear Harlequin Felis!

    Thank You so much for the hint and the link.
    It’s a more than helpful tool 4 me 2.
    Do You have any idea about a simple way to format own content in a way it perfectly fits to the size of the PRS-505 screen ?
    Your assistance is highly aprecciated!

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