I’m putting this together because I posted a while ago about using IRC to acquire ebooks on Reddit, and there was a metric shit ton of interest from others in learning how to do it. Much of this info is available on the net, but it can be difficult to track down if you don’t know exactly what to look for.
Disclaimer: I am in no way responsible for how you choose to use this knowledge. This method can and should only be used to download legally available ebooks, as an alternative source in case other services go down for whatever reason. You use this guide at your own discretion.
Now then, to the good stuff.
Question: Why should you use IRC to acquire ebooks, there are so many different ways to get them!
Answer: IRC is the best method to find ebooks. The quality is almost always high, the selection is extensive, and finding and downloading the books is quick and easy. Put simply, unless you happen to have access to a private site exclusively made for ebooks, you probably won’t find a better source.
Question: What do I need to make this happen?
Answer: A IRC client (I’ll be using mIRC for the purposes of this guide, it’s the simplest to use and the most widely distributed as well. Besides that, the ability to copy and paste, and a bit of common sense.
- Now then, to begin, download a IRC client. I personally suggest mIRC.
- Once you do that, install it and open the client up. You should be greeted with a page like This.
- The first thing you want to do is write in a name that’s unique enough to have not already been taken. For the purposes of this guide, I just choose something random.
- Once that’s done, you want to navigate down to “Ignore” section in the DCC options, and turn the box option to “disabled”. This is to ensure that incoming files are not ignored, which is important if you actually want to receive your ebooks. Example
- Next thing you want to do is scroll back up to the “Servers” tab and pick out a server. For ebooks, I know of two servers that host channels dedicated to ebook downloads. One is “Undernet”, the other is “IRChighway”. While both have their uses, IRChighway is the one you want to use 90% of the time. The selection is generally more robust, the channels are more stable, and the downloads are faster. You generally only want to use Undernet if you can’t find the ebook you’re looking for on IRChighway. Sometimes you can get lucky and one will have a book if the other does not. In any case, select you server by finding it in the drop down menu and double clicking it. Example
Actually finding and downloading your ebooks
- Once you’ve done that, it’ll take you back to the menu that I originally showed you. This time, click the connect button, and it’ll connect you to the server and open a window offering you a chance to join a channel. Now, there are several channels you can join depending the server you’re on. On Undernet, you can either go with “Bookz” or “ebooks”, while on IRChighway, you can join “ebooks”. Type in your channel and hit join. Example
- Once you’ve done that, you’ll be presented with a channel window filled with a whole bunch of people typing in seemingly meaningless strings of text, none of them talking to one another. This can be intimidating, but don’t worry, it’s not hard to figure out! It’s at this point that you need to know the commands to properly utilize the channels bots.
- When you join one of the channels I listed, there will be channel bots you’ll use to interact with the bots that you will be downloading from. To access the commands for these bots, use the “@” symbol followed by the command you need.
To search for an ebook, Use
@Search <book name or author name>
This will have the channel bot automatically search through it’s index and return you a listing of the books available from the download bots in the channel. It will look like this. As you can see, I searched for Romeo & Juliet, and the bot went through its index and returned a list of potential downloads. Click the accept button to have it download.
- Once you’ve done that, go into the upper portion of mIRC, click tools, and go to the “received files” drop down. Click it. Example
- This will open up your mIRC downloads folder, which should contain a .zip file of the list of download options that the bot sent you. Extract it and open it up in notepad. There will be a variety of download links available in many different formats. Find whichever book you’re looking for, in whichever format you prefer (I like HTML because they’re generally the best formatted and the format is universal for mobile devices) and copy the text string up til the the end of the file. Example
- Once you’ve done that, go back to the mIRC channel window and simply paste the text string into the channel. Example
- Click enter, and wait for the bot to respond, and then click accept when a file transfer window comes up. I’ve highlighted my download query, and the bots response with relevant information for you. It should be pretty self explanatory. Example
- And you’re done! The file will be downloaded to your mIRC downloads folder in a zip or rar archive. Simply extract it and read it!
Note 1: You can also use the command
@find <book or author name>
To search for your ebook if the channel bot is down or not responding quickly to the @search command. However I do not suggest this, as it gives you a clusterfuck of responses in your IRC client as personal messages. It can work, but only as a last resort. Example
Note 2: I’ve used the public domain “Romeo And Juliet” for the purposes of this guide. This book is in the public domain, and thus is not subject to any copyright. Once again, I encourage you to only download public domain books, but cannot control (and am not responsible) for what you wish to download.
Note 3: Edit. Damnit, Reddit fucked the formatting and keeps renumbering my list. Whatever, not a big deal I guess. It doesn’t change the content of the guide at all. Just go down the list, everything is in the proper order anyway.
So, that’s how you download ebooks off of IRC. Not so hard, is it? I hope you find this helpful, I promised this to more than a few people months ago, and I finally got around to it.