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I'm able to view an epub file in, say, okular, select all the text and copy-paste into a text editor. I'd like a command line method - anyone know of such a thing?

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I'd recommend You to use some firefox epub-reading extension instead of an okular. – Adobe Mar 31 '12 at 15:49
up vote 20 down vote accepted

I don't know if Calibre is worth installing for your job, but if you have it you could use the powerful ebook converter:

ebook-convert input.epub output.txt

Output format is deducted from output file extension

I imagine there could be some XML tools/scripts (XSLT) that can transform epub in text as epub is basically XHTML in ZIP archive

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Calibre (and it's "ebook-convert") is very powerful tool indeed! Thanks! – drevicko Feb 10 '12 at 7:28
nice question and nice answer – niccolo m. Aug 21 '12 at 12:28
If you've installed calibre on OS X, the command line tool can be found here: /Applications/ – funroll Jan 2 at 18:15

Maybe Calibre can suit your needs?

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Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. – hhlp Mar 23 '13 at 10:49

An alternative is epub2txt - Extract text from EPUB documents by Kevin Boone, also available on Github.

epub2html is a simple command-line utility for extracting text from EPUB documents and, optionally, re-flowing it to fit a text display of a particular number of columns. It is written entirely in ANSI-standard C.

Usage example:

epub2txt input.epub > output.txt
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