I wanna read on my phone!

OK, so you got a Treo, or a Tungsten, or a Palm - here's how you can stuff it with the Classics!

Why?  Well, if you're on the El, and you don't get a seat, it's a lot easier to hold a phone or a Palm than it is to hold a paperback.  Plus, you can carry the classics with you all the time - it's great when you're flying home from Talahassee, and the airport bookstore's idea of Fine Literature is Desperate Housewives - The Novelization and Chicken Soup for the Culturally Illiterate Soul.  

So how do you get the classics, portable, for free?

Free Books

Start at www.Gutenberg.org - an online repository of free text files of public domain stuff.  Download files as text files (they're easier to work with.) - Save them in My Ebooks

Make them usable

One P.I.T.A about these files - they tend to have a carriage return at the end of each line.  (That's a Paragraph Marker, for you young folks.)  This makes these things a pain to read on a narrower screen like the Palm.  So here's my patented procedure for fixing that.

  1. Open the files in Microsoft Word
  2. Replace every ^p^p with the letters XZXZ - this lets you keep all the instances where you really want a blank line.
  3. Then, replace every ^p with a space.
  4. Next, replace every XZXZ with a ^p^p - get it?  They're back!
  5. Save them - ignoring Word's kind offer to bollocks them up by turning them into Word files.  Just save them as text files.

Now everything will be much more formattable, and the paragraphs will be paragraphs again.

Convert them to Palm Files

You can simply convert the files into PRCs, that can them be loaded into your Palm, with a nifty application called DropBook.  Get it at http://www.palmdigitalmedia.com/dropbook.  (If this link changes (if Palm gets sold...again...then go to www.Tucows.com or www.zdnet.com  or some other download heaven.  If you've found Shlaes.com, you're pretty resourceful already.)

Drag and drop the files, and they're ready to go.

I want my files to be all fancy, with chapters and stuff

OK, OK, you want to be able to find your way around.  Whatsamatter - you can't remember where you were in Ulysses, which is around a gazillion screens long?  OK - you need to learn a little about the Palm Markup Language.  There's a ton of info at http://www.palmdigitalmedia.com/dropbook/pml - but the basics are these:

Work in the text file - this all happens between steps 4 and 5 above, BEFORE you make the PRC file
For a new page, insert a \p in the text.
For a new chapter, put a backslash-x at the beginning and end.
All of this will be compiled and confirmed when you use DropBook to make your PRC files.

So, you might end up with something like this:

    \p\xCHAPTER ONE \x

 I'm Lazy - just gimme some books to read

OK, Here you go.  These are in PRC format, and they're from Project Gutenberg.  

Conrad-Heart of Darkness.pdb

Dickens-A Christmas Carol.pdb

Fitzgerald - This Side of Paradise.pdb

James Joyce-Dubliners.pdb

Dickens-A Tale of Two Cities.pdb