Load Emacs Documentation on your Kindle

There is a lot of free content you can load onto your Kindle. It just a matter of converting to the right format for your Kindle. It is a great device for reading manuals. I’ve loaded my Kindle with all the Python documentation as well as the emacs documentation. Here I show how to load the emacs manual. You can use the same methods for others.

These steps can be done on the Windows and Macintosh platforms as well as Ubuntu. Here are the steps in detail for Ubuntu.


  • Kindle 2, Model D00511
  • Ubunutu 10.04 LTS

Download Emacs Single Page Document

Emacs provides a single page HTML file of all the documentation. Download this page to your machine.

cd ~/tmp

wget http://www.gnu.org/ software/ emacs/ manual/ html_mono/ emacs.html

You can see the file in the tmp folder.

ll -h
-rw-r–r– 1 steve steve 3.3M 2011-09-25 11:55 emacs.html

Note: Python documentation comes in a zip file of many HTML files. From all these files you can create an ebook for your Kindle. Just point the converter at the content.html file.

Install calibre

You use calibre to convert the html file to a book (mobi file). If you don’t have calibre, you can install it with:

sudo apt-get install calibre

Here is the current version:

ebook-convert –version
ebook-convert (calibre 0.8.20)
Created by: Kovid Goyal <kovid@kovidgoyal.net>

Note: There are many options you can specify when converting from html to mobi. The options are listed here:

Convert HTML to Mobi

If you use the defaults for conversion, the index at the beginning of the book is one big table that runs for many pages. You cannot select any of the links so it is pretty useless. To fix this, specify linearize-tables option and the table will be converted to regular text.

Convert the emacs.html file into a mobi file and turn the tables into regular text. It takes a few minutes to convert:

ebook-convert emacs.html emacs.mobi –linearize-tables –title “The Emacs Editor” –authors gnu.org –comments “The Emacs Editor Kindle book generated from gnu.org single page HTML file.”

You can see the file created:

ll -h
total 4.8M
-rw-r–r– 1 steve steve 3.3M 2011-09-25 11:55 emacs.html
-rw-r–r– 1 steve steve 1.5M 2011-09-25 13:20 emacs.mobi

Copy to Kindle

Copy the book to your Kindle. Plug it into the USB port then:

cp emacs.mobi /media/Kindle/documents/
eject Kindle

The content page generated by calibre is at the end of the document. The book is called “The Emacs Editor”

Now you can store the manual under your pillow.

“Apple ID not used with iTunes Store”

When trying to use the App Store to buy the Lion OS upgrade for my new Mac I got this message:

This Apple ID has not yet been used with the iTunes Store. Please review your account information.
Cancel       Review

I just got my Apple ID so I could buy Lion, of course it hasn’t been used with iTunes. I verified my email and account information. What’s this all about?

I can log in to my id at https://appleid.apple.com without problems. I was able to use the id to log into Apple’s support forum. So at some level the id is working.

When clicking on the Review button it talks about checking cookies and checking the computer date/time but nothing that is relevant for my situation.

I launched the iTunes application and somehow entered my credit card associated with my Apple ID. Then I downloaded a free talk from Stanford just to see that things were working.

Trying iTune again and I cannot sign in to my account. I get the same old error message.

How do I get my Apple ID to work for buying things?

Searching with Goggle finds millions of people with the same error message but no solution for this case. There was no response in the support forum either.

Evenually I figured out a solution.


If your new apple id doesn’t work, create a new one and do it using iTunes.