dslibris: an ebook reader for the Nintendo DS

dslibris is a back-to-basics homebrew book reader for the DS, DS Lite, and DSi. Its main idea is to provide a comfortable and uncluttered reading experience.


Sample book page


  • antialiased, proportional text
  • UTF-8, so a wide range of languages are honoured
  • auto-scan for books stored on your media
  • power-save upon closing the DS lid
  • restoration of previous page on restart
  • brightness control on DS Lites
  • support for adding TrueType and OpenType fonts

dslibris supports EPUB format files encoded in UTF-8. Calibre is a powerful tool for converting a plethora of formats, including PDF, to EPUB. See the book preparation postings on Sourceforge for other methods for format conversion.

This being DS homebrew, you’ll require a media card for your DS, and you will need to DLDI patch dslibris.nds for your DS media device.

The latest news, release downloads, and source are available here on Sourceforge. Also check there for release notes, to find or post known issues or feature requests, or get help.

94 comments on “dslibris: an ebook reader for the Nintendo DS

  1. Danny Chicago & New York City Kid says:

    Hey, I’m opening up a homebrew site, with links and other stuff and eBooks in .xhtml. I was wondering if its ok to make a page dedicated to dslibris? The page on my site would have my homebrew video review of dslibris, along with a description for the app, a link to your site and I would give credit to you for making the program. Please tell me what you think!

  2. Danny Chicago & New York City Kid says:

    I’ll give you the page so you can take a look at it, its a flash page not html.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Excellent work. Reading a well-formatted xhtml sideways feels like, and is convenient as reading a real book.
    It is well worth the little effort of converting the files to xhtml.

  4. anon says:

    How does Tom use OpenOffice to convert PDF’s? What program can even open a PDF with OOO? With Writer, it only outputs junk (You can create PDFs with OOO writer, but can’t open PDFs) . Also, there’s a bunch of ‘Freeware’ products out there that only let you convert the first 3 pdf pages. PDFtoHTML has no useful documentation for installing. ./make ./configure….blah, blah. Where’s the INSTALL.readme?

    Yes, and then there’s the PDF picture…scan it with OCR, and then convert it to XHTML. Uh, Terrasect, SimpleOCR, blah.


  5. nick says:

    I’m still not finding anything for converting pdf to xhtml. I’m on a windows machine that I use with my flash cart, but I do have an old powerbook with Tiger on it if need be. What can I use?

  6. Nick and Anon, i am skeptical that much PDF can be translated into a form that will work. The limitation is in the PDF format, which presupposes a certain page size when it is laid out and throws away paragraph information in the process.*

    The exception may be tagged PDF, which can be reflowed. I have not done a full test of tagging a PDF and running pdftohtml on it. If somebody has some experience with tagged PDF, you could try and see what you can come up with and share it. OS X users can get pdftohtml via Fink as package … lessee … ‘poppler-bin’. Fedora users should look in apt. Surely a Windows version is out there too.

    I’ll post to the SF list if I find out any solution for this.

    * viewing PDF on a mobile browser or in Reader for WIndows CE/Mobile is illustrative. There’s a lot of panning and zooming involved.

  7. also, see the ‘preparing books for reading’ posting for a note about “Convert Doc” which apparently does PDF to HTML.

  8. nick says:

    I managed to find a copy of some books in lit format, then converted them with .. ConvertLit, then AbiWord into xhtml. It works now. I’d really love a more full-featured bookmark system.

  9. . the staCius . says:

    besides brandon’s MOON PROJECT site… does any one know a site where i can find other ebooks available to add onto my NDSL?

    Thanks in advance! (^_^)

    . the staCius .

  10. Demonman says:

    Why can’t yu just read books straight fom a *.txt file?

  11. @demonman: 98% of the time, TXT format is preformatted for a certain screen width assuming some fixed width font. The assumed screen width is never the width of a DS screen. TXT content can’t be reflowed into a DS-sized screen with any reliability.

  12. BlueZoidberg says:

    Love your program! Converting books can be a pain sometimes (abiword has been my best success) but it’s worth it. I only ask that maybe you put a ‘forward/back 10 pages’ kind of feature (maybe up and down?)

  13. @BlueZoidberg: fast page flipping is in the upcoming 1.3 release.

    The project has multiple developers now, they monitor the bug and feature request lists on SourceForge, so folks can post their ideas there.

    Thanks to everybody for their comments.

  14. . the staCius . says:

    I converted some books to .htm .. they didnt work. do they HAVE to be “xhtml” and what conversion prgram can i use and where to find it so i can do just that.

    thanks in advance!

    . the staCius .

  15. tepkel says:

    Hi, I like your program alot, but no matter how many files I have on my sd card, I am unable to get more than 30 books to show up in my library. Am I doing something wrong? or is there some sort of limit?

  16. Tepkel, it’s not you, it’s dslibris. There is a limit on number of books. We’re going to look at removing that restriction in a future 1.3 release.

  17. Stacius, check the wiki on SourceForge for the location of an HTML Tidy online service. Or google “html tidy web”.

  18. Hangfromthefloor says:

    By the way, the Hebrew is all backwards. For example, in English it would look like “olleH dlrow” for “Hello world.”

  19. True. Arabic will be backwards too. And traditional japanese vertical layout isn’t supported. Hebrew and Arabic need to be put on the fix list.

  20. Raistlin says:

    Is it possible to launch dslibris from another directory but the root one?
    (e.g. using it as moonshell for CycloDS Evolution?)

  21. Elfen says:

    Cool Packages… i just got a question to ask.. where is the best place to get e-books to upload on my ds?

  22. My new website, kinda slow progress, but I’ll have tons of hit book in a dsdlibris compatible format. dsh-supplies.com, not open yet, I might change the url.

  23. Rose says:

    Thanks a lot for this great program, I use it all the time! I like how simple and convenient it is. I’ve seen it requested by other people, but I would LOVE it if dslibris was capable of recognizing more than 6 book files at a time–I’d love to be able to scroll through all the book files on my ds.
    Thanks again!

  24. @raistlin: Possibly, but I can’t test right now, no DS.
    @rose: The latest version now supports a lot more than 6 books, there should be prev/next buttons on the browser screen.

  25. Rose says:

    oh…I have the latest version, I just (stupidly) didn’t notice that option. Got it now, thank you!

  26. Meghan says:

    Just another vote for .txt support here, as by the time I’ve gone through the inevitably problematic conversions of one of my e-books I’ve lost the desire to read it. DSLibris seems like a great piece of homebrew otherwise, I enjoyed the books I did have the patience to convert (& troubleshoot)! Would LOVE a good .txt reader instead of being stuck with Moonshell as the “best” (ha!).

  27. Pulstar says:

    Hello Ray, this awesome project has been in hiatus for a while. I hope it’s not been discontinued. :(

  28. Ray says:

    @Pulstar: hello again. It’s still barely alive, but I’ve been without my hardware and there have been performance issues recently due to code changes, yada yada.

  29. Pulstar says:

    I’m glad to hear you’re still working on it at all :) Homebrew for the DS has certainly slowed down but your app remains my #1 favourite. I’ve read dozens of ebooks using it. It already has most of the features people want but things like auto shut-off and 8-bit colour palettes would bring it closer to perfection! ;)

    Best regards!

  30. Annoyed says:

    Can’t you somehow figure out how to use dslibris to read .lit files? All this extra bs I have to go though to figure this out simply isn’t worth it.

  31. Meghan says:

    After I realized that Open Office converts files into xhtml pretty painlessly, DSLibris became one of my most-used apps! Are there continued plans for development or was 1.3 the last release that can be expected? Thanks again for letting me carry one less device!

  32. @Meghan: great, one more point for OpenOffice!
    @Annoyed: annoying, isn’t it? Microsoft provides tools for creating LIT files but not for decoding them, at least not for people without a special arrangement with them, perhaps.

  33. Annoyed says:

    :: Gives OpenOffice a shot :: (Disclaimer: I love the idea of your application, I’m just not as tech savy as many others are. I do try though.) <3 U

  34. [...] open-source dslibris looks interesting as well; it’s homebrew, so you’d need to load it on an appropriate [...]

  35. Sandra says:

    I have a nintendo ds. How and where can i get this ebook reader for it? sounds great.

  36. adi says:

    Now where do i get books from?

  37. [...] astept replay… Homebrew care sa citeasca fisiere pdf direct nu exista. In schimb exista un ebook reader numit dslibris care citeste fisiere html care le poti obtine folosind un convertor pdf to html. [...]

  38. roberto says:

    no entiendo la pagina para k sirve

  39. wal says:

    excellent program!! ¿there will be pictures in epub support?

  40. Rj says:

    if the first ebook you install is a massive English dictionary,
    how does this affect the number of ebooks you can fit into ram? can it not be used for compression of other ebooks?

  41. erick posadas says:

    When I open the homebrew , it loads for a while then it shows:

    $ dslibris
    fatal: no filesystem.
    info: DLDI patch?

    (is shows in green font color) PLEASE HELP ? thanks.

  42. A nightmare hath no rage for a nintendo 3ds scorned :)

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