Mangle – a better manga reader for the kindle

As a slight break from KIF, I decided to fix another annoyance with my kindle: the built in manga reader.

Note: Mangle 0.2 is now available.

I was really quite impressed that it natively supported CBZ files (thanks to whoever on the dev team sneaked that in! 😉
However, it does seem a bit buggy:

  • It  frequently forgets to refresh parts of the page.
  • It frequently forgets to hide the top bar in fullscreen so you have to turn it off and on or you lose the top of the image.
  • It doesn’t remember where you got to with multiple-volume CBZs (e.g. individual chapters of something).
  • I don’t really want *every* chapter showing up as an individual entry in the main documents list, and moving them into collections is a total pain.

Mangle attempts to fix these:

  • Manga are stored in separate subdirectories of <kindleusb>/development/mangle/work.
  • It remembers where you got to across multiple CBZs.
  • No screen refresh issues (barring bugs, which can be fixed!).

It does currently have a few issues of its own though:

  • I can’t see an API to put a kindlet in "full screen" mode so the top bar stays there always.
  • Navigation is a bit limited; you should be able to seek to specific CBZs/pages/etc instead of just page-by-page.
  • Only been tested on a Kindle 3 (so far…).
  • For some reason the "busy" spinner vanishes when it first opens a manga: it sits at a white screen for a few seconds looking like it is doing nothing.

As with KIF 0.1, treat this as an early alpha: functional, but with a fair amount remaining to do.
Note: as I cannot access the normal "documents" folder from a kindlet, you need to put your CBZs in a subdirectory of <kindleusb>/developer/mangle/work. For example, if you have a comic called "fred", put the CBZs for it in the <kindleusb>/developer/mangle/work/fred directory.

To install it: (as with KIF, you will need to jailbreak and install my developer keys)

First of all, lets jailbreak: The kindle jailbreaking was developed over at the mobiread forums, here. The following is a very quick summary, see the mobiread thread for more information:

  1. Download from that thread.
  2. Extract it on your computer.
  3. Copy the correct update_*_install.bin to the root of the kindle over USB. See the thread for information on which. (For my UK Kindle 3 with 3g, I use update_jailbreak_k3gb_install.bin).
  4. Safely remove and disconnect the kindle.
  5. Go to [HOME] -> [MENU] > Settings -> [MENU] > Update Your Kindle.
  6. It’ll take a wee while, and the update will fail with a U004 or a U006 error (this is expected).

tada, your kindle is rooted. Now, normally at this point you’d wonder what to do now… well, lets move on to stage 2:

  1. Download from here.
  2. Extract it on your computer.
  3. Copy the correct update_adqdevkeys_*_install.bin to the root of the kindle over USB. It’ll be the same code as for the rooting.
  4. Safely remove and disconnect the kindle.
  5. Go to [HOME] -> [MENU] > Settings -> [MENU] > Update Your Kindle.
  6. This time, the update will succeed, and will install my developer keys into /var/local/java/keystore/developer.keystore. In case you already are an official KDK developer, any existing developer.keystore file will be backed up into that directory. 

At this point you should have escaped the maze of twisty updates; installing Mangle can be done entirely by copying files over usb:

  1. Download from here.
  2. Extract it to your computer with the full directory structure.
  3. Copy the extracted directory structure onto the root of the kindle USB drive. (e.g. "mangle.azw2 should end up in your kindle documents folder). 
  4. Disconnect, and wait for the home screen to refresh.
  5. "mangle" should appear as an option… click it! 

Oh, the source is available from here.

3 thoughts on “Mangle – a better manga reader for the kindle

  1. Pingback: Mangle 0.2 – adq

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: