Ponniyin Selvan on Kindle

My current employers, Sagitec Solutions LLC, presented a Kindle Touch as the  Christmas and New Year 2012 gift. I have been long wanting to buy one as I gifted my Kindle Keyboard to my dad when I went back home for my marriage.

I have been downloading books from Google Books, mostly classics that are free and have been reading them till now. My wife wanted to read tamil books on her iPad and I have been downloading HTML files from projectmadurai website and converting them to ePUB format that is compatible with iPad. Here I have to mention the good work of people at projectmadurai. They have a good collection of tamil literary works which is made available to everyone in unicode tamil and TSCII tamil formats.

After I received the Kindle Touch, I wanted to read the tamil books on the Kindle. So I was looking all over to get the Font Hack installed on the Kindle Touch to have it display Tamil Fonts. But the new kindle supports Unicode. So I didn’t need to jailbreak or install any hacks on the Kindle. What I needed is to convert the files to MOBI format that is parsed by Kindle.

The first book that I converted was ‘Ponniyin Selvan’, the great tamil classic by Kalki. To convert the book, all you need is the software ‘calibre’ which is a free software and the UNICODE html version of the book found in projectmadurai website. I am not publishing the books that I converted because, even though the books are released under GPL license, I have no written consent from the authors that allows me to publish the books.

I was originally not interested in reading the book as everytime I took the book, I got put off by the lengthy introduction to the hero, Vanthiyathevan. But this time, I thought I should not give up. After moving through the first chapter, I feel that this book is not the kind that I thought. It is fast paced and contains a lot of historical facts over which the story is spun. I am impressed.


23 thoughts on “Ponniyin Selvan on Kindle

  1. Hi.. Recently, I bought an Amazon Kindle Keyboard (version 3.0). I wanna read Tamil books.. I converted some books from Madurai project website but I couldn’t view it in my Kindle.. Can you post the detailed instructions? I read in some forum about hacking the kindle for reading Tamil books.. I’m afraid to do jailbreak or install font in my kindle..

  2. Karthick, check in Amazon website if unicode(utf-8) is supported on your model of Kindle. If it is, then download the Unicode version (HTML) file from the project madurai website. Then use calibre to convert the HTML file to .mobi format.

    You don’t need a font hack if your kindle device supports unicode.

  3. dude, it will be great if you can upload and post the rapidshare link for the mobi file. Would save us the trouble of installing calibre.

      1. Free or Open Source has some policy regarding publishing. What the ProjectMadurai site says is you can read/download as is. This is what the site says.

        The entire collection of works in Project Madurai (‘etexts’) are available in various formats for everyone to use. All etexts are distributed in both HTML and PDF formats. Anyone can read or download a copy of the published works, free of charge for personal use.

        “Ponniyin Selvan” is still not a free book.

        I hope your doubt is cleared Mr. Saravana Kumar. You are free to download the book and convert it to ebook. You can refer to Using Calibre post for howto.

  4. I have kindle 4th generation.i did as you said.But some of the tamil letters are not rendered correctly in the kindle.but everything is fine when i read it through my laptop.could you help me

      1. you could see ‘ru’ is misinterpreted in ‘arulmozhivarmar;(highlighted) and ‘ku’ in ‘kuthirai’ in the next line.

  5. Hi,
    Finally found the solution.The mobi format is not rendering correctly.But the azw3 format works perfect for tamil unicode.Everything looks fine.I converted the mobi format to azw3.

  6. you don’t need calibre if ur kindle supports unicode. save html and send it thru kindle e-mail id, get it automatically converted in proper format

  7. TN state government has ‘nationalized’ the works of eminent writers like Kalki, and Devan, by giving the copyright holders a one-time amount.

    Due to this, they have come into public domain and they are now free for anyone to read.

  8. Hi,
    I tried to convert the book into mobi format using the unicode html. Conversion is ok, but the chapters are not arranged properly. Example, after 10th chapter in part 2, part 3 starts not the 11th chapter. How to fix this problem, any suggestion?

    1. I had the same issue. I created a package file (OPF) wrapped everything in zip file and gave it to calibre. That solved the problem of out of sequence chapters. Here is a pack file sample.

      But I have other issue the Kindle app on my Android is not showing some letters like the one with ‘உ’. I am waiting for my Kindle to be delivered, hope it will work in the device.

      பொன்னியின் செல்வன்
      பொன்னியின் செல்வன்

      1. Because of xml tag pack file is not showing. Now I changed the tags.

        <?xml version=’1.0′ encoding=’utf-8′?>
        <package unique-identifier=”பொன்னியின்_செல்வன்”>
        <metadata xmlns:dc=”http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/”>
        <dc:identifier id=”பொன்னியின்_செல்வன்”>பொன்னியின் செல்வன்</dc:identifier>
        <dc:title>பொன்னியின் செல்வன்</dc:title>
        <meta property=”dcterms:modified”>2011-01-01T12:00:00Z</meta>
        <item id=”00″ href=”pmuni0169_00.htm” properties=”nav” media-type=”application/xhtml+xml”/>
        <item id=”01_01″ href=”pmuni0169_01_01.htm” properties=”nav” media-type=”application/xhtml+xml”/>
        <item id=”01_02″ href=”pmuni0169_01_02.htm” properties=”nav” media-type=”application/xhtml+xml”/>

        <spine page-progression-direction=”ltr”>
        <itemref idref=”00″/>
        <itemref idref=”01_01″/>
        <itemref idref=”01_02″/>


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