Creating a PDF or eBook from an RSS feed (

A couple of weeks ago I was interested to read Joss Winn’s blog post on  Creating a PDF or eBook from an RSS feed in which he highlights using the FeedBooks service. This was ideal timing as we are always looking for new ways to make RSC NewsFeed readable in as many formats as possible.

The post has generated a number of comments, in particular, James Kwak at baselinescenario mentioned that a limitation of FeedBooks was that it didn’t include the post author or date in the automatically generated eBook.

This is very easy to do using Yahoo Pipes. Here is my ‘feedbooks pipe’. You can either run this pipe entering the url of the RSS feed of your blog. This will let you get the RSS feed required for FeedBooks (step 4 in Joss’s instructions). Alternatively you can just enter{enter your blog rss feed url here}. Feel free to clone this pipe if you would like to experiment with other manipulations. I’ve already created this extended version for WordPress users to only include last months posts

feedbooks pipe[All this pipe is doing is taking the feed url, copying the pubDate (item publish date), then using Regex to edit some of the post items. The first regex replaces the long date format (e.g. Fri, 15 Jan 2010 10:03:54 +0000) by extracting the pattern ‘digits character digits’. The next 2 entries modify the post description by putting ‘the author {dc:creator} | the date {date} plus break return’ before the existing content]


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comment 5 comments
  • Liz

    This sounds a great way to share information with a group of people when some have access to the internet and others do not. However, if the blog or website belongs to someone else, is it necessary, or just good manners, to check first whether it is OK to do this? Or is it safe to assume that if they have provided an rss feed that anyone can do what they like with the content?

    • Martin Hawksey

      Hi Liz,
      Yes it is a great way to make resources accessible to other.
      My understanding is feeds are the intellectual property of the author and as such you technically need permission of the author to republish in any way. The exception to this is if the author has already given permission using something like a Creative Commons Licenses. For example in the sidebar of this blog towards the bottom you’ll see a CC logo which means anyone can republish my work without my permission as long as they acknowledge me as the author and redistribute any resulting artefact under the same licenses.
      Hope this helps,

  • Liz

    Many thanks for the information Martin – that’s really helpful to know. I have read up about the different sorts of Creative Commons a couple of times but haven ever been able to make head nor tail of what the different licences mean in practice.
    Best wishes

  • marion

    if you need something beyond the limited feedbooks capabilities, try out it makes ebooks (epub or mobi) out of any rss feed, its pretty fast and simple to use (just specify feed address and hit download button).

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