Journey to the West: New ePub and Kindle/Mobipocket Versions

Updated December 14th! New ePub version, optimized. Adobe Digital Editions is now just as responsive at chapter 99 as it is at chapter 1.


Journey to the West Downloads
License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5
Attribution: Based from work copyrighted 2005 by Silk Pagoda (also CC Attribution Non-Commercial 2.5 Licensed).

Journey to the West is sort of the source of all the Kung-fu kool and kookiness, embodied by the enigmatic Monkey as he accompanies a monk, a sentient tool-using pig, a fallen seneschal of Heaven, and a dragon horse. ((A dragon hiding out in horse form. Cool, but not as often as it could have been. Ah well.)) The story is around 400 years old, but still kickin’ it. You can read more about it at this kick-ass post by Jason Henninger, Wu Cheng-en Ain’t Nuthin To Fuck Wit:

Xiyouji can be read by those who know nothing about Chinese religion or folklore as an epic adventure, full of humor, monkey violence and poetry. For those who study Asian culture, the story provides an even richer experience, as the subtext offers a fascinating look at the perplexing religious multiplicity of Chinese society. And poop jokes.

[continue reading]

Now quite a few people are interested in reading it, and given that in print it’s a rather thick book—100 chapters long, and in print some 1200 pages—an ebook would be ideal. But while there is a version up at Munseys in ePub, Mobipocket, and many other formats, they’re all poorly formatted. Some reading software will actually crash on page turns (including FBreader, calibre, Stanza, Adobe Digital Editions, which is a very wide swath of software to do wrongs to).

Thus, I decided to create new ePub and Kindle/Mobipocket versions of Journey to the West. Through much scripting (and re-scripting, and re-scripting) and editing (power-Vim user here), I reformatted things as nicely as I could. I think you’ll like the new versions better; here’s a side-by-side comparison gallery of the Munseys version versus mine as displayed in Adobe Digital Editions (clicky to embiggen):

Munseys S∂
Title Page Journey to the West - Munseys Title Journey to the West: Sd Title
Table of Contents Journey to the West: Munseys Table of Contents Journey to the West: Sd Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Journey to the West: Munseys Chapter 1 Journey to the West: Sd Chapter 1
Mountain Poem
(Chapter 1)
Journey to the West: Munseys Mountain Poem Journey to the West: Sd Mountain Poem
Chapter 15 Journey to the West: Munseys Chapter 15 Journey to the West: Sd Chapter 15

The ePub version is also completely compliant with the ePub standard, which is not a small feat when you’re flying without Adobe InDesign.

And here are screenshots of the Mobipocket version on the Kindle. I tend to read at the font size of “3”, which is a little bigger than most people (who would read at a font size of “2”); the differences are very noticeable, mostly because I’ve chosen to indent the poetry inwards (and the subtitles in the Table of Contents), a choice I may revisit.

Kindle Home
Kindle Guides
Title Page
Journey to the West - Kindle Home Journey to the West: Kindle Guides Journey to the West: Title - Kindle
Font size 3 Font size 2
Table of Contents Journey to the West: Table of Contents - Kindle Font Size 3 Journey to the West: Table of Contents - Kindle Font Size 2
Chapter 1 Journey to the West: Chapter 1 - Kindle Font Size 3 Journey to the West: Chapter 1 - Kindle Font Size 2
Mountain Poem Journey to the West: Mountain Poem - Kindle Font Size 3 Journey to the West: Mountain Poem - Kindle Font Size 2
Chapter 15 Journey to the West: Chapter 15 - Kindle Font Size 3 Journey to the West: Chapter 15 - Kindle Font Size 2

16 thoughts on “Journey to the West: New ePub and Kindle/Mobipocket Versions

  1. This is great! I’ve been looking for a good ebook version of this for years. Since I got my Kindle, I’ve kind of given up on making the book myself, as there is no good program for the Mac to make Kindle books.

    Well done, and thanks!

  2. Hi Blake!

    I already answered your questions on Twitter, but I’ll also put my answer here:

    Mac. I use Crossover with Mobipocket Creator (and its mobigen). Crossover lets you run Windows apps on the Mac.

    You might want to check out VMware as well; I think their integration is better (maybe perfect). For either you need an Intel mac.

    Both Crossover and VMWare Fusion have free trials you can play with before making your decision.

    An addendum to the Twitter answer: Crossover is cheaper than VMWare, but VMWare is of way higher quality (and also complexity; Crossover is pretty easy to get started with).

  3. Thank you for this – I just read the write-up on, and hadn’t made my way into Guttenberg to get a copy – appreciate it.

    Also – excellent job with Shadow Unit – I had read a few “episodes” on the main site, and then was trying to cut and paste them myself into a mobi file to read on my palm.

    My wife has ordered me a kindle for Christmas – of course, I’ll be lucky to get it by St. Patrick’s Day, but I really cannot wait.

    Thank you for all that you are doing for readers!


  4. Thanks, heresiarch and GeekDad42! (I love those user names, by the way.)

    I do my best on the ebook front. I’m glad you like Shadow Unit, Rob. :) As my first public ebook work (indeed, my second ebook work at all), I’m very proud of it.

    Journey to the West I’m also proud of, but I think I may need to split it into smaller books. The current file as a whole stretches the limit of most programs reading ePub, though unlike the Munseys counterparts they don’t actually crash said programs.

    The Kindle is pretty happy with the larger file though, because the Mobipocket format is optimized for the limited environments of mobile devices.

  5. If you buy the book in paper form it’s any where from £20 – £60, is the ePub copy free? And is it iPod touch compatable?

  6. Jamie,

    This is a public domain translation. It’s not the smoothest out there; the ones you’re talking about are either people selling it in printed format or people who have better, copyrighted translations to sell.

    It’s just an ePub file, so you can read it in any ePub reader, which includes the iPhone/iPod Touch/etc.

  7. Erm, this may sound silly, but how do I get it from the download link onto my iPod? Is there a tutorial somewhere?

  8. Not a silly question. There’s a nice little app called Stanza (by LexCycle, currently also owned by Amazon incidentally). It’s free, and once you install it, you can add this URL as a library to it:

    This will give you access to not just Journey to the West, but also some miscellaneous other ePubs I’ve created (all created with permission, a license, or were copyright-free works).

  9. Thank you very much! Just got a Kindle today, and I was really keen on this being the first title added to my collection. A fascinating story that I never could get my hands on. It’s safe to say you’ve made my holidays :D

    Thanks loads!

  10. Thanks you very much for making this. I have a print copy but it’s quite difficult to handle. Small faded type, etc. I’m reading this to my daughters to this is awesome.

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