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Builds epub book out of Paul Graham's essays.
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
Builds epub book out of Paul Graham's essays:
Author: Ola Sitarska <>
Copyright: Licensed under the GPL-3 (
This script requires python-epub-library:
import re, ez_epub, urllib2, genshi
from BeautifulSoup import BeautifulSoup
def addSection(link, title):
if not 'http' in link:
page = urllib2.urlopen(''+link).read()
soup = BeautifulSoup(page)
page = urllib2.urlopen(link).read()
section = ez_epub.Section()
section.title = title
print section.title
if not 'http' in link:
font = str(soup.findAll('table', {'width':'455'})[0].findAll('font')[0])
if not 'Get funded by' in font and not 'Watch how this essay was' in font and not 'Like to build things?' in font and not len(font)<100:
content = font
content = ''
for par in soup.findAll('table', {'width':'455'})[0].findAll('p'):
content += str(par)
for p in content.split("<br /><br />"):
#exception for Subject: Airbnb
for pre in soup.findAll('pre'):
for p in str(page).replace("\n","<br />").split("<br /><br />"):
return section
book = ez_epub.Book()
book.title = "Paul Graham's Essays"
book.authors = ['Paul Graham']
page = urllib2.urlopen('').read()
soup = BeautifulSoup(page)
links = soup.findAll('table', {'width': '455'})[1].findAll('a')
sections = []
for link in links:
sections.append(addSection(link['href'], link.text))
book.sections = sections

I'm getting an error about an invalid java call, I suppose the "['java', '-jar', checkerPath, epubPath], shell = True)" in I have java installed. Details: java version "1.6.0_24"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (IcedTea6 1.11.5) (6b24-1.11.5-0ubuntu1~10.04.2)
OpenJDK Client VM (build 20.0-b12, mixed mode, sharing)

Any ideas?

sarp commented Nov 23, 2012

On iPhone 5, I get "This page contains the following errors: error on line 13 at column 7: Opening and ending tag mismatch: font line 0 and p" this error when I open the generated epub file in iBooks

c10b10 commented Feb 16, 2013

What deps does this have?

gsdatta commented Aug 27, 2015

Quick fix - it should be width 435 now.

SergeAx commented May 30, 2016

One should change '455' to '435' at lines 28, 33 and 59 for this code to work.

In order to get valid HTML (which is what .epub contains) you also need to remove the <font> tags (beyond just changing the table width to 435 as @gsdatta and @SergeAx said).

As of today April 12th, 2017 only 4 forks of this gist actually changed the code:

Forks that fix the table width and removes <font> tags:

Forks that fix the table width (but doesn't remove <font> tags):

Very interesting fork – very large script that does a lot of stuff and is basically a rewrite:

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