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Getting offline
angels, fly
angel_grace01
I've promised a lot of people to publish about Calibre and e-readers. I figure I'm going to be be systematic about it: first get the fic, then organise it and finally put it on your reader. So, this is the first part.

The following list discusses different means of getting content (which means your favourite stories LOL) offline. I know there are many other ways out there. If you know of a different/better method, please let me know. I'm always eager to learn. ^-^

Here's what I've got for now:

1) Copy+Paste
2) Save as HTML
3) Print to PDF
4) Squee!book
5) FLAG
6) Fanficdownloader
7) Download from site
8) Internet Archive/Wayback Machine


1) Copy+Paste
This is probably the best known method. Simply select the text you like, copy it (either by right mouse click or shortcut) and paste it in a suitable document format.
ADVANTAGE: This will work on just about any website out there
DISADVANTAGE: If the story is long (and we all love those LOL) you'll be at it for a long time.
APPLIES TO: All sites

2) Save as HTML
Go to the menu on the top of the page and hit: File > Save page as > Save as html. Make sure you give it a recognisable name and put it in a folder you'll remember, or you'll end up wasting a lot of time tracking your fic down.
ADVANTAGE: You'll get everything on the page
DISADVANTAGE: This will not work if the webpage is graphics intensive or there's a lot of other stuff like menus in there. Things tend to get screwed up.
APPLIES TO: All sites that are plain text

3) Print to PDF
Now this may be different from system to system. Apparently, this possibility is native to some computers, but not to others (like mine). Basically, what you do is you print your webpage, but instead of selecting your printer, you select PDF.
If you don't have this possibility yet, there are plenty of programs you can download. Just make sure the one you chose installs itself into your printer settings. The one I chose is called PDF creator. You can download it here: http://www.pdfforge.org/pdfcreator. I've been using it for a while now, so I'm pretty sure it's safe ;-). Make sure you click the correct "Download PDF creator" square on the bottom. The program is free, so anything asking for money, isn't the right link.
Word of caution: as with any installation, make sure you read everything before you click next, otherwise you might end up with an unwanted sidebar in your internet browser or something.
ADVANTAGE: This works on most websites.
DISADVANTAGE: You may have to download a program and it only works on the webpage that’s open. Multi-paged fic would be a problem. Also, it’s a pdf, so you probably won’t be able to edit it.
APPLIES TO: All sites. Extra tip: the KS archive is notoriously hard to save offline. The easiest way is to use the print icon that's on the top left corner of the story. If it's a multi-chapter story, you can even choose to print either per chapter or the entire story. Simply print the entire story, but do it to PDF and voilà!

4) Squee!book
This is a site that converts fic from Livejournal, Dreamwith and AO3 to whatever format you want (even if they're locked you should still be able to get them) and edits out the comments. I’ve managed to use it with other sites as well, but I couldn’t tell you what’ll work and what won’t. You can find Squee!book here: http://www.halcyon-shift.net/gift-shop/squeebook/.
Just click the link and follow the instructions. When you get to the second tab (2. Add story text) click ‘copy story from URL’ and paste the url of whatever fic you want. Make sure you get all urls if the story stretches over multiple parts and use hard enters to separate them. Edit out whatever you don’t want and make sure you save your end result (the site does offer the possibility to simply display your fic)
Update: Squee!book is going through some changes due to the overwhelming success of the site (the poor thing kept being overwhelmed and crashing!), so I'm gonna leave it be for a little while and revisit it then to give you a fresh account.
ADVANTAGE: Everything happens online, so you don’t have to download any additional program. Even if the URL isn't recognised, you can still cheat a little and simply copy+paste the text you want to turn into an e-book into the WYSIWYG editor.
DISADVANTAGE: It only works on some websites (LJ, Dreamwith and AO3, as well as some others) and Squee!book tends to choke whenever there’s art incorporated in the fic.
APPLIES TO: livejournal; Dreamwith and AO3 (maybe some others, but it’s trial and error)

5) FLAG
FLAG is an online alternative for Squee!book. While I'd advice Squee! for LJ-related stories, if you want to create an e-book from a fanfiction.net story you'll need this one (Squee! doesn't work well with ffnet). It's rather easy to use, too. Simply go to the website: http://www.flagfic.com/. On the top right you can imput either an entire URL (doesn't matter whether it's part 1 or part 37, the program will include the entire story) or the story's number (this is a string of numbers in the URL of the story) and pick your preferred output format. Then hit 'download' and it'll ask you where to save the new e-book. If you prefer to have the story e-mailed to you (kindle anyone LOL), you can give your email adress. I'm quite happy with the results I've had.
ADVANTAGE: Everything happens online, so you don’t have to download any additional program. You also only need a single link to download the entire story.
DISADVANTAGE: It's limited in the amount of sites it supports. You also can't include cover art.
APPLIES TO: I only use it for fanfiction.net, but you'll find the comprehensive list of sites here: http://www.flagfic.com/sites

6) Fanficdownloader
It’s been a while since I downloaded this program and I haven’t updated it, so I can’t vouch for how user friendly it is now. I rarely visit these sites, anyway. You can find the program here: http://www.fanfictiondownloader.net/download.php. As with all downloads, always read carefully before agreeing to anything.
I’m not wildly enthusiastic about the version I have. If you only want one or two stories, I’d simply use the copy+paste method, but if you regularly use some of sites described below, it’ll get the job done. All you have to do is copy the link to the first chapter in the program and it’ll automatically detect all chapters and download them together in whatever format you want. Unfortunately, it only works with some sites.
Update: There is now a fanficdownloader plugin available for Calibre. I've started testing it and it seems to work as advertised, so if you're using Calibre already, there's no need to download another program, only the plugin.
ADVANTAGE: Simply adding the link to the first chapter lets you download all gazillion chapters your fic might have without additional effort.
DISADVANTAGE: It’s an additional program cluttering up your computer (unless you use the Calibre plugin) and it’s rather limited in its application.
APPLIES TO: FFnet; fanficauthors.net; WWOMB; Mugglenet; adultfanfiction.net; FictionPress; MediaMiner.org. The rules tend to vary according to site. Check here: http://www.fanfictiondownloader.net/archives.php#ffnet to find out what the rules for downloading are.
 
7) Download from site
Some authors/sites do offer the possibility to download their fiction.
ADVANTAGE: If it’s created by the site/author, you can be sure it’ll look good.
DISADVANTAGE: It’s hit and miss who’ll offer them.
APPLIES TO: Some sites. Sorry, no rule of thumb.

8) Internet Archive/Wayback Machine
This isn't exactly a way to get your fic offline, but it IS a way to retrieve fic apparantly lost forever, which you can then get offline by one of the methods mentioned above. We all remember the devastation that was geocities. So much good fic was lost over the years as the domains were no longer maintained or simply shut down. The Wayback Machine isn't a cure-all, but it may offer some hope if you still have an URL to the lost website. Open the Wayback website here: http://www.archive.org/web/web.php and simply paste your URL in the space that says 'http://.........................................take me back'
If your website was archived, you'll see a calendar with the dates of archiving highlighted in blue. Simply click one of those circles and you're taken back to site as it was on that date. It'll even allow you to click through to other links as long as they've been archived as well. Or you may want to chose another year on the top of the page. Remember that whatever date you've picked, that's what you're seeing, so any updates past that date aren't visible. Once you've found you're fic, you can simply close the wayback bar that's at the top of the page and do that voodoo that you do so well ::grins:: to get the page offline.
ADVANTAGE: You can go back in time without any nasty 'crush the butterfly, wipe out the human race' consequences. LOL. A plethora of fic, thought forever lost, is at your fingertips.
DISADVANTAGE: Not all sites can be archived and not all links/pictures work. Also, it works best if you have a complete URL.
APPLIES TO: Some sites.

Next up: Downloading, installing and customising Calibre


  • 1
Thanks for the tips - I'll try some of these. :-)

  • 1
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