My 12 year old son recently discovered the website FanFiction.net, and today we had a discussion about eBooks which got me thinking about the possibility of creating eBooks from online FanFiction books. It turns out this is possible and free to do, using the programs Fanfiction Downloader and Stanza. Stanza is distributed as a cross-platform application. FanFiction Downloader is distributed as a Windows-executable file, but can also run on Macintosh as well as Linux computers thanks to Wine. I used WineBottler to successfully run Fanfiction Downloader and create a .mobi formatted eBook which I was able to transfer to my iPhone for reading using the eBook reader Stanza. Note that remarkably, I did NOT have to use a Windows-emulator program like Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion to do this, or own a licensed copy of Windows. Wine software rocks!
After launching Fanfiction Downloader, you will need to paste the URL of the FanFiction book you want to download. Click continue. In step 2, click CONTINUE to check the downloadability of all the available chapters. In step 3, click the radio button to “Save as a Mobipocket eBook” and click DOWNLOAD. If you use Wine to run Fanfiction Downloader, the program should save your converted eBook in the following directory:
Your home directory / Wine Files / drive_c
Transfer the converted .mobi book to your iPhone using these steps, which involve opening the eBook on the desktop version of Stanza, enabling “sharing” from the “Tools” menu, and then browsing for shared books on the iPhone / iPod Touch version of Stanza and clicking the download link. Note the iPhone/iPod Touch needs to be on the same wifi network as the laptop or desktop computer running Stanza for this ebook sharing functionality to work.
The biggest disadvantage of this method is for “books in progress,” all steps must be repeated when new chapter(s) of a book become available. Perhaps someone will write a native iPhone / iPod Touch application which will do this in a cleaner, more straightforward way. It’s super that this CAN be done at all, however, using FREE software tools than run on ANY platform. Thanks to Wine, as a Mac user I don’t have to wring my hands and say, “Gee I wish someone would port that program over to Macintosh!” That’s quite a beautiful thing.
Note the free Stanza desktop application can convert just about any text file into an eBook which can be read on mobile devices like iPhones and iPod Touches. Gary Stager boldly challenges educators and students engaged in 1:1 laptop learning programs to write novels with their technology devices. Now you know how to take those novels and share them with each other via free eBook Reader applications.
Now go and write them, and empower others to write them! Our children and students need to be PUBLISHING on websites like fanfiction, not simply reading and consuming the stories there!
H/T to a MobileRead forum post thread from last month for the reference to FanFiction Downloader.
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