Tuesday, February 9, 2010

10,000 Books on a Kindle 2?

10,000 books on a Kindle seems a bit extreme, but when you are kindicted, you have to test the limits somehow!  Why would anyone want 10,000 books on a Kindle?  Well, if Kindle memory is upgraded to 32GB (as per an older post),  it should hold (in theory) over 30,000 books (based on Amazon's 1,500 books in 1.4GB).  10,000 seems like peanuts compared to that.

Why have this many books?  If Google can do it, why can't anyone? Besides, at the current exponential rate of Twilight book releases, it will only take a few years to reach that number!

Here's the plan:
  1. Create a small prc file in Mobipocket Creator; a one character book takes up 2,728 bytes - and it's a good read too! The book challenges all previous notions about the letter 'A' (ISBN application is underway).
  2. Write a shell script to copy that book 10,000 times (with a unique filename).  The lawyers have been dispatched!
  3. Copy the folder containing the 10,000 books onto the Kindle.
  4. Eject the Kindle and make some sort of offering to Jeff Bezos (try burning the Apple stickers that came with your Apple device).
Here are the results:

Step 1
Prc file created successfully (mobi.prc)

Step 2
Here is the bash script (using OSX):

# Dup mobi files for kindle test.

# 1. If the backup directory does not exist, create it.
if [ ! -d /tmp/dup ]
 mkdir /tmp/dup

for (( c=1; c<=10000; c++ ))
echo "Copying $c" 
echo $fn

cp /tmp/mobi.prc /tmp/dup/$fn

The script ran in a few seconds.  The folder containing 10,000 files was only 27.3MB.

Step 3
The folder copy to the Documents folder on the Kindle took about couple of minutes due to the sheer number of files.  As an initial test, only 5,000 files are copied onto the Kindle.

Step 4
Eject and wait, and wait, and wait. The Kindle seemed happy to process up to 2,000 files or so, then became unresponsive.  More scientifically, the circle thingy in the corner stopped spinning.  By the way, does anyone have a name for that?  Let's call it the 'tail chaser'.

After an unplug and re-plug (and eject), the Kindle came back to life - and lo and behold, the home page lists 5,000 items, except that the tail chaser is chasing, and chasing.  Finally, after 20 minutes of activity, the tail chaser stops and the Kindle lists 5,000 items and "page 1 of 500".  The page turning is responsive, and the go to function is more than happy to comply.  However, a simple search for the number 61 brings out the tail chaser - this time for 30 minutes.

Step 4b
Flushed with success (sort of), the other 5,000 files are copied onto the Kindle.  After an eject, the Kindle tail chaser starts again.  This time, the Kindle reboots after about 10 minutes of activity (the number of documents was not noted).

The reboot took about 10 minutes, and when the home page is displayed, there are 0 items.  Plugging the USB cable in, all of the books appear intact, so maybe it just takes time to re-index?  Eject and wait, only to find that the Kindle reboots again.  Deleting the folder with the 10,000 files works fine, but then when ejected, the Kindle displays an "Unexpected Error".  After another reboot, all seems well.

Even though loading at least 5,000 books works on Kindle, its current organizational and search features will pretty much render your device useless.  Imagine trying to locate a book by searching, then waiting 1/2 an hour while the search ran.  System software updates may help, but the ability to handle a substantial number of books will more that likely require a completely new Kindle.  Project Kindictenberg will have to wait.

As always, comments and questions are welcome.