Collecting Award Winners

I’ve been playing more with the Kindle the last few days. It really needs a better interface for navigating books. Three things I think the Kindle should have:

  • The ability to manage the document collections through the filesystem
  • Nested document collections
  • HTML support

I’m really hopeful that the noteslate doesn’t turn out to be vaporware. With the solar-charger cover, it is essentially the lightbook. It claims to be open-source, but there’s no access to the code from their website.


The interface I’d like would dynamically filter my document collection based on the path. For example if I create the directory /author:Nancy Kress/ (or /author/Nancy Kress) the software providing the list of files generates the appropriate collection.

I’m working on mocking up a web-based version. For my initial corpus I’ve been collecting the Hugo and Nebula award winners. I wrote a little download bot that pulls the nominees from Freebase, searches a irc channel, unzips the result, filters the options, and attempts to download and rename the book.

There are a surprisingly large number of missing stories. The program has run through everything and I’ve only got about 50% coverage. I’ve been working back from the most recent awards trying to fill in some of the holes. Good sources for finding books are:

  • Fictionwise is my old favorite. Most of their books are DRM-free and they’ve had a few stories. Quite a bit is missing from their catalog though.
  • Google EBooks: The search is surprisingly bad. A couple times I’ve found a book after the text search failed by looking up the ISBN on Amazon or Open Library.
  • Scribd is sort of hit and miss. It has some stories, but nothing that wasn’t on the irc channel.
  • EBook 3000 seems to have quite a collection, but not of old sci-fi. It’s a great place to find magazines in other languages though.
  • OverDrive is the distributor for many digital libraries including Maryland’s. The books seem to be mostly PDFs which don’t reflow and are harder to read. There’s a good selection of audiobooks.
  • For the last ditch efforts, WorldCat can find books in brick and mortal libraries. I’m going to hunt down The Bone Flute some time this week.

I’m tracking my progress in a git repository. I figure it’s arcane enough that no one will care. You can pull a copy using TortiseGit or with the command: git clone book

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