Downloading Tools

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(These are just my own quick notes.)

Google Books which have no "PDF" download option:

To download public domain Google books when Google has neglected to include a "Download PDF" option or has included only the entirely inferior "EPUB" option (which typically has really, really bad images), use pySheng. It grabs each page one at a time as an image file. Use ImageMagick "convert" to reassemble them into a PDF if desired.

US Patents:

As of 2013, the USPTO changed its presentation yet again, breaking the pat2pdf script (which is presently hosted at: Until someone fixes it (again), the disquietingly anonymous but functional (not .com) website works to get the actual USPTO digital images. These are bad, but the reprocessed versions in the PDFs in Google Patents are worse.

USPTO patent images can be downloaded directly from, but their interface is poor. It is easier to search for patents using Google's Advanced Patent Search page ( and then once you have the number to download them using (or the pat2pdf script directly at such point as it's fixed again).

See Researching and Downloading Old Patents for notes on patent searching beyond Google; it gets tricky.

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