Sunday, July 15, 2012

E-Book Tools for PowerPC

If you've been here before, you may have noticed I've added an e-book ad on the right for a science fiction novel called "Timejump." Normally I don't run ads on this site, but it's my book and cue all the sticking-out-your-tongue emoticons :p >:P :-P x-p :b :-b!

To make this post slightly less insufferable, I'm going to give you a run down of some e-book tools for PowerPC. At first I didn't think I'd need any of this stuff because one site I published on, Smashwords, requires a doc file for upload, and the other, Amazon, takes a variety of file types including doc and html. I thought I was gonna be all badass and submit an html file and make whatever adjustments needed to be made in the raw code. But after using an Intel system for the Intel-only KindleGen and Kindle Previewer, I had major problems. The generated file displayed fine in Kindle Previewer but was completely fouled up when viewed on an actual Kindle. The font size was microscopic and extra spaces were inserted between paragraphs. To make matters worse, when I looked in the html I couldn't find the sources of the tiny fonts and unwanted spaces. So I retired my badass persona and rued the day I ever turned to Intel and went looking for some tools on PowerPC.

For simple epub reading, there's Adobe Digital Editions. As a reader it leaves a lot to be desired (it is Adobe, after all), but it's useful for checking your formatting before submitting epub files for publication. This isn't only good for submitting to epub sites like Barnes & Noble's PubIt!, but also for Amazon as they accept the epub format for uploads, too. The Digital Editions download link didn't work for me because it apparently requires a newer version of flash than I have (Oh, Adobe, you still kill me), but there's a PPC download link at the bottom of this page (new download link here).

For converting files bewtween formats, there's calibre. It takes odt as an input format, so you can use OpenOffice/LibreOffice to convert a doc file to odt and then convert to epub or Amazon's mobi format in calibre. If you're just interested in converting your existing library between more convenient formats, calibre is great, too. The last version that supports OS X PowerPC is 0.7.28, but Linux PowerPC users can install newer versions.

For editing the html in epub files, there's Sigil. Unfortunately they stopped PowerPC support as well, but downloads for the last versions to support Leopard and Tiger (0.30 and 0.24 respectively) are here using the "All downloads" search filter. Sigil is great if you need to make adjustments in the code but aren't expert in html. You can make edits in rich text and then switch to html view to view the changes in code, and vice versa.

There's also an AppleScript utility called epubcheck that checks your epub files for errors before publishing. You can download it from this thread. The first post seems to be updated with new versions. The latest version as of this date is 1.2 and works on Tiger.

Back to my adventures, at first I used calibre to convert to mobi, but Amazon gave me a technical error warning on upload. So then I used calibre to convert to epub, uploaded successfully, but I got a really strange issue on the Kindle where some of the text above italicized lines was smudged out. I almost didn't catch this. So finally I downloaded the epub file generated at Smashwords (they output to a variety of different formats) as a base, did some editing in Sigil, and then uploaded without a hitch to Amazon. Adventure concluded.

And finally, I'm making "Timejump" available as a free download for the next five days. Just take the code WL36Q (expires 7/20/12) to Smashwords, and you can download it for your Kindle, Nook, iPad, or other devices. If you like noir and science fiction and like them even better combined, you should like my book.

Also, I noticed MacPowerPC recently put out an e-book of their entire blog for an easy reference guide. It must be e-book season:)


  1. Thanks! Great blog!
    PPC MacOS X, PPC Linux, as well as AmigaoS 4 and MorphOS!
    Last survivors of advanced PPC arhitecuture
    If there are any guides how to GCC recompile open source to PPC please send it to

  2. For reading epubs, you can use iText Express:

    It opens epub files and converts them to RTF for easy reading. It strips links, but otherwise works for plain vanilla reading of non-DRM epub books.

  3. Thanks, I was looking for this application long time.

  4. Hello, I would also suggest trying, as a good variant to Calibre program. It's free of charge, no need for installation, just upload what you need to convert and see the results.

  5. Re: "there's a PPC download link at the bottom of this page."
    Maybe I was too late, but trying to install what I DL'd at the bottom of that page I get:
    "This Installation will only work with Intel based Macintoshes"

    1. Thanks for alerting me. I've updated with a link that goes to the old ppc version: