Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fan Fiction a GoGo: A Quick Guide to Reading FanFic on Handheld Devices


Reading Fan Fiction on the go...
Many fan fiction readers, like myself, want quick and convenient access to our favorite stories, no matter the genre, fandom or the handheld device we use. You would think, with the growing availability of ereaders and smart phones, we shouldn't have to work so hard to read the fan fiction we love.

I’ve compiled a quick list of various options, old and new, available to help my fellow fan fic lovers navigate the choppy waters of reading fan fiction in this new age of handheld devices.

Old School to New School
In the days long before ereaders and cellphones (aka the age of the dinosaurs), we had to do the ol' copy and paste to transfer text into a word processing document. You can save it to read on your computer, or print to read hard copy. I had a friend who literally had an entire bookcase filled with three-ring binders filled with printed out fan fics. It was her fandom library and it was kind of awesome.

Conversion & Reader Apps
Luckily, there are a lot easier ways to download, read fan fiction. In fact, the fan fiction archive website AO3 (Archive of Our Own) allows readers to download a copy of a fan fic, in several formats directly from the site. However, if you want to read fan fiction that is not posted to AO3, you can download a copy in the format you want using a conversion website. Or download conversion software to a convert the file into a format that is compatible with you ereader.

Conversion Website
FLAG: a free web based service that email you a copy of the fan fiction in format of your choosing. All you need is the url of the fan fiction and an email address. Here’s a list of the supported fan fiction archive websites.

Conversion Programs
Calibre: free file converter software.
FanFiction Downloader: free software that works similarly to FLAG, but requires you to download it to your computer. Here’s a list of the supported fan fiction archive websites.

Reader Apps
If you have a smartphone, there are apps that will read many different file types. There are of course, the brandname reader apps (KindleNookAdobeiBook, etc), but there are also several reader apps that read multiple file types available for both iOS, and Android. Many of them can also can be used on your computer.

Multi-format Apps
I have only used Stanza, but the other apps look just as flexible and functional.
Stanza: Desktop, iOS.
Plucker
Ehon: Reader for Macs
Bluefire

In the end, even with all these options there's still a lot of work. You have to copy, download, convert and move files onto your devices. Technology should be making it easier.

The Future?
A lot of readers and smartphones have access to the internet, which cuts out the need to transport fan fiction to your handheld device, when you can just go right to the source to read.

However, this doesn’t help when you’re offline (on an airplane, away from wifi, etc). That’s where the new generation of fan fiction apps come into play. Or at least I hope they will, once they work out the bugs and designers better understand the market.

Fan Fiction Apps
Most of these apps are directly linked to a fan fiction/story archive website. I have yet to find an app that allows for accessing the archives of various sites. Sadly, AO3 has yet to release an app, but I’m holding out hope.

FanFiction.net: (iOS, Android) I like this app. The free version allows you search for fic, and even store a several “favorites” to read offline. It even remembers the exact point in the fic where you left off reading last. The full version ($0.99) allows you to access your own FFnet account, including your favorites list. However, it crashes on me one out of every five times I tried to used.

Wattpad (Also for original works) The app works nicely, but I wish there were more fan fics that I like to read on the site itself.

Movellas (also for original works) I’m not familiar with this site, but the app works nicely. The content of the site seems to be aimed at younger readers (of the One Direction, Justin Bieber kind).

As technology becomes cheaper and easier to access, and as developers of apps come to understand fan fiction and the reader's needs, I think the future of fan fiction reading will brighten.

What's your favorite fan fiction sites? How do you like to read it? Do you prefer using a reader or your phone?

Let me know in the comments.

3 comments:

thank you this was really helpful.
I am also waiting for AO3 to make an app, if I know them right they will make a good one. Hopefully one that can DL whole series, as that is still a bit of a hassle.
I read almost all stories on my iPad, and AO3 does make it so easy to DL epub for iBooks, either directly on the iPad, or from my laptop and then sending it over to my reader..
I didn't know about fanfiction.net having an app, but then again, I am very seldom on that site these days. Will check it out!
Nice blog, good info.

Glad I could help. I cannot wait for AO3 to put out an app. They have cornered the market when it comes to attracting quality writers, and I like the lay out of the site. Series are tricky, but I love that you can link stories into a series together. Super helpful when I find a fic I love and it turns out to be part of a running series. It's a great bonus.

The FFnet app is really nice. I use it for rereading old favorites.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

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