In case you’re interested, there are currently more than half a million Harry Potter Fan Fiction stories available on fanfiction.net. What is fan fiction? Simply put, it’s when someone sits down to write a story using characters someone else has created. There are fan fiction stories available for Twilight, Star Wars, X-Men, Lord Of The Rings, and many… many more worlds. Chances are, if a TV show, book or movie exists, someone has written their own fan fiction story set in that world.
In a previous article, we discussed a program you could download to your Desktop that would allow you to download fan fiction stories and convert them into an ebook, all in one step. Now the process is made even simpler with a plugin for Calibre, a desktop application that allows you to convert, edit and manage your ebook collection (including transfering your ebooks to and from your ebook reader, such as Nook or Kindle). The plugin doesn’t have an official website yet, but you can grab it from the forum where it was first posted. Here is how to download, install, configure and use this fantastic plugin.
First, head over to this page located at the MobileRead Forums.
Scroll down a bit until you find the link for the current release, and download the zip file.
Once downloaded, open Calibre. If you don’t already have it installed, you can download Calibre from this page.
Once Calibre is opened, click the Preferences button in the toolbar.
Look to the bottom of the preferences window, where you’ll see a green Plugins icon, and click it.
Now choose the Load Plugin From File button, and select your zip download.
You’ll be asked to place the new button in the toolbar of your choice. Do this, then simply close all the windows and restart Calibre. When you restart, you’ll see a new toolbar button where you wanted it to be.
To configure the plugin, click the little triangle to the right of the button and choose the Configure Plugin option from the menu.
You’ll be shown a window with four tabs. The first tab is general configuration options, such as the output format of your downloaded fan fiction stories, what to do if you attempt to download a story that you’ve downloaded before (Calibre can update your existing ebook, which is helpful if you’ve downloaded an incomplete story with updates since your last download), and more.
The next tab is for your personal configuration file (called personal.ini), so if you have a membership at certain websites, that info can be placed here.
The other two tabs (not shown) deal with integration with another plugin, as well as configuring keyboard shortcuts.
Once configured, simply click the FanFictionDownLoader toolbar button and you’ll see its main window open.
To begin using it, simply paste in the link (or links, one per line) of the story you want to download. You can select a file type (which will be used for this session instead of your previously configured default), as well as options for if a story already exists. When you’re finished, click the OK button. That window will disappear, and Calibre will begin downloading your files in the background. You’ll see that it’s still working by the Jobs icon in the lower right corner of the Calibre window.
Click that button and you’ll see the jobs window.
Here you can stop a job, hide it, or view its particulars.
When a job is finished, you’ll see a pop-up window which needs your confirmation in order to update Calibre. Go ahead and give the confirmation and the books will be added to your library.
Once in your library, these fan fiction books can be treated just like other ebooks. You can modify their layout, their metadata, and more. They can be converted to different formats, transfered to your ebook reader, or saved to your Desktop. This plugin is fantastic, even compared to using a standalone program. For starters, it becomes part of a program you might already be using, so there’s no need for an entirely separate program, as well as the fact that you can paste in dozens of fan fiction URLs, and have them all done as one big batch.
You can simply paste in the list of titles you want, start the process, and walk away. When it’s finished, confirm the change and start reading. With most other programs, you would need to stay close by, as you would need to download each title one after another. The plugin isn’t perfect (there were issues occasionally with huge lists of ebooks, where the final title never completed downloading), although that could have been a network error. Still, for what it does, assuming you’re a big fan fiction reader, this is a great find.