Savory: Native Kindle epub and PDF Converter

In an editorial for Forbes, Tim called for the the opening of the Kindle, else it will slowly turn obsolete. Since I love my Kindle, I am happy that my friend, Jesse Vincent, a long time open source contributor and OSCON speaker, is trying to open the Kindle. (You might remember him as the guy who discovered Amazon’s USB-network easter-egg in the Kindle 2 last month.)

He is developing Savory, the first native Kindle application. Savory is an open source epub and PDF converter that actually runs natively on the Kindle. While it doesn’t add anything that you couldn’t do from a desktop, it streamlines the process, allowing you copy epubs and PDFs to your Kindle over USB or download them from the web, and immediately read them offline. (O’Reilly provides bookworm, which converts DRM free epubs to HTML and lets you read them through the Kindle’s web browser, as well as DRM-free .mobi formatted versions of much of O’Reilly’s catalog at O’Reilly Ebook Bundles.) Here’s Jesse on why he created Savory:

I’m in love with my Kindle. I’ve been reading ebooks on screens of various sorts for many years, but the Kindle2 is the first device that I actually enjoy reading as much as I enjoy reading paper books. I’ve tried other ebook readers, but for a variety of reasons, they just don’t work for me. My goal is to make it easier for readers to read more free content on the Kindle.

Savory is based on the open source project Calibre — a python application that lets you convert between multiple ebook formats. The implementation is a background daemon that uses inotify to immediately convert the file to the mobi format. To get a performance boost, it uses unladen-swallow — Google’s optimized version of Python. I find it exciting that this paves the way for 3rd party applications on the Kindle.

While I wish that Amazon would follow Apple’s path and make the Kindle DRM free, it is worthwhile to note that Savory itself does not deal with DRM at all.
Jesse says:

No. Savory does not include support for ebooks protected by DRM. DRM is an incredibly “hot” topic in the ebook world right now. There are varying opinions on its efficacy. My opinions on the matter aren’t relevant, except to say that I am not touching the topic with a 10 foot pole. It will not convert DRM-protected ebooks into a format the Kindle will read. It will not add or remove DRM from any ebook.

Personally, I’ve been using Calibre to create and convert a daily operations report for all of Wikia — and I look forward to be able to download the report from the web and just read it.

More information can be found on Jesse’s blog, with the code available at