Wanna Read Manga on Your Kindle?

As I’ve described before, the Kindle has a lot of potential, but it seemed to be wasted in the 1.0 version. Well, apparently that wasn’t quite true. There is more potential in the Kindle, they just didn’t want you to see it. Fortunately, there are people out there who are never satisfied with what we’re given. I learned about this while listening to Leo Laporte’s Tech Guy podcast.

Igor Skochinsky has a blog called Reversing Everything. He got a hold of a Kindle and decided to see what made it tick. Taking it apart both physically and hacking the software, he found some interesting programs residing in the Kindle, just out of reach of the user; a picture viewer, minesweeper game, and some GPS capabilities through the browsers.

The program of interest to mangaphiles is of course the picture viewer. It allows for a “picture” folder to be created, and the pictures can then be loaded into a sub folder to create a “book” that will appear on the home screen. It’s a little slow at turning pages, but will view jpg, png, and gif. So if you read a lot of scanalations, this might be worth a try.

A word of warning though. This is not a quick and easy hack. The Kindle runs on Linux and Java, and you may have to understand these programs to pull off the hack. There are some zips on the site of programs he used as well as explanations of what he did. Only the tech-savvy and/or very rich (that could afford to buy a new one should anything go wrong; this isn’t covered by warranty) should attempt this. (But if you do and it works, let me know)

17 thoughts on “Wanna Read Manga on Your Kindle?”

  1. Not a quick and easy hack? May have to understand Java and Linux?

    Let’s go over what he said in his post:


    “Picture viewer

    I’m not sure why Amazon didn’t make it public (maybe because paging is kinda slow), but there is a basic picture viewer in Kindle.
    To activate it:
    1) make a folder called “pictures” in the root of Kindle drive or SD card. Kindle also checks for “dcim” made by cameras.
    2) put your pictures for a single “book” into a folder inside that. The subfolder name will be used as the “book” name. Supported formats are jpg, png, gif.
    3) in Home screen press Alt-Z. A new “book” should appear. Open it to view your pictures.
    4) In the local menu you can toggle dithering, resize to fit and full screen mode.”


    I’m not sure if it’s the “make a folder” part, “put your images” in it part, or the “press Alt-Z” part that requires too much technical knowledge… *cough*

  2. Um…the part that lets you “create the folder”….

    I don’t own a Kindle, I can only wish. So, I don’t know WHAT can be done on a Kindle without knowing the operating system underneath. The blog seemed to imply having to work in the .root. I don’t know linux, and probably a lot of people who blog don’t either, and I don’t want anyone coming back on me claiming I broke their Kindle.

    Better safe than sorry.

  3. it works, it is that easy.
    it lets you choose between full image and the scaled (though you can’t scroll around the full image so it is kind of useless). readable, and works well πŸ™‚

  4. Cool! Glad to hear it works. It would be better is Amazon would just make the support native, and then publishers make books available to read on it…

    I can dream….

  5. The guy behind the rarearts.org website, Manuel Burgos, has published two inexpensive Kindle books that should be helpful here:

    Graphics on the Kindle (Book 1 of the “Graphics on the Kindle” Series) by Manuel Burgos (Kindle Edition – April 24, 2008) – Kindle Book $2.39


    Formatting Comics for the Kindle (Book 2 of the “Graphics on the Kindle” Series) by Manuel Burgos (Kindle Edition – Jun 17, 2008) – Kindle Book $2.39

    Full disclosure – Manny did the cover design on a couple of my books


  6. It works just fine, thanks.
    To make graphic novel readable in Kindle is great.
    I can’t use the wireless connectivity coz I live outside US, but in case someone know how can I change the setting so my Kindle can connect to local CDMA.. (wish),… that’ll make this Kindle a gem.

    Thanks again πŸ™‚

  7. I have been very happy with Mangle. It works great for converting regular images for the screen saver hack as well or to create photo albums.

  8. You can also use a great program called Calibre.

    http://www.accessj.com also has good guides on studying Japanese on the kindle, and buying and reading Japanese eBooks, and a great guide for reading manga on the Kindle 3 (including tips on where to get manga).

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