I have a personal project that I’ve been poking at for a while now. My husband suggested that I put my favorite fan-fictions on an e-reader. Seems fairly innocuous, right? Especially since AO3 started making the stories in the archive available in various formats. What isn’t available there… well I use Calibre to catalog and manage the collection on my e-reader, and it can convert Word documents to epub, so I can do it myself; it just takes longer.
Seems simple enough, right? Let me make clear the scope of the problem, er… project.
The offspring will be 19 this December, and I discovered fan-fiction when he was a toddler, so it’s safe to say that I’ve been reading fan-fiction for a good 15 years now. I started saving stories I liked to the hard drive at my husband’s suggestion, believe it or not. I was complaining to him the first time a website disappeared on me, and he said that if I liked something enough to possibly want to re-read it, I should just save it. OK! Well, that made it his own fault when he had to build us a new computer with a bigger hard drive. He uh… dared me to fill that one up… It took me a few years, but I did! He wanted some new hardwear items himself, so he built us another computer. We’ll see how long it takes me to fill this one…
But, what became the bigger problem was when I started printing out things I REALLY liked, so I could read them away from the computer, or when the power was out (blizzards, ice storms and hurricanes). It made sense to me… I was already buying zines because some of the first fandoms I was involved with were older ones. You know, pre-internet fandoms like ‘The Professionals’ & ‘Man from Uncle’. So the idea of printing stories out and putting them in binders didn’t seem far-fetched or a problem. I like books. I was a librarian for 16 years before I became a stay-at-home-mom.
So, shelves; lots of shelves. We ran out of space for bookcases. Did I mention that my husband saved every magazine he bought? I’m not the only one needing shelves! The problem came about when I started stacking the binders in a corner of our bedroom. It became a fairly large pile of multiple stacks. There were more in the back of our closet. There were so many they were defeating their purpose. I couldn’t find the ones I wanted to re-read. So, the e-reader makes sense, but I figured it was going to be a slow project, just doing a few at a time.
And it was… until we decided we couldn’t put off renovating the bathroom any longer. That made the pile of stories a problem. It was blocking access to the crawl space along the back wall of our bedroom. The water pipes for the bathroom are accessed through that stupid crawlspace. Also the hot water lines for the heating system. I HAD to clear the pile.
Well, I’ve done it. I’m about 2/3rds of the way through my collection, but one bookcase is empty, another is half empty and the floor is clear. I can slow down again. I’m not printing any more stories unless they just really grab me by the heart or have some sensational artwork accompanying them. All new stories I want available for re-reading are going straight to the reader. It currently houses a hair over 1850 stories. Only about two dozen are e-books I actually bought.