Story API or simple text version of the site

This is so incredibly low priority that I almost didn’t post - I don’t care to give you unnecessary work Martin. But I figured I’d post and you can feel free to ignore it.

I got a Kindle recently and thought it could be nice to read stories on it. However, the Kindle web browser is extremely limited, and the site wouldn’t work on it. Being the nerd that I am, I look into if it would be possible to download a portion of the site with a script to load onto my Kindle, which sent me down a bit of an exploration with how to download a site when content loads asynchronously with javascript, yadda yadda. It was a fun distraction, but ultimately seemed not worth the effort.

But it got me thinking, it could be nice if there was a simpler version of the site for devices that can’t handle javascript. I’m talking like, if we were to instead of request \, we requested \, we would get a simple .txt of the story, and maybe some request like would return a list with the ids of the most recent 20 stories or something like that.

Or (and this would probable me a lot more work), having a more full (or paritally) fledged text based static version of the site.

Again, low low priority. And, maybe the javascript loading acts as good protection to prevent unwanted scraping of the site (?) so I get that there may be reservations about adding some kind of API or text version of the site. Just an idea.


Such low level urls wouldn’t be that much work, tbh. I’ll consider it.

A real API is not likely to happen, I don’t see people using that and it’s not worth the effort, I guess.

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Weirdly, I would’ve used it multiple times. I wrote my own site scraper to extract the text of stories based on the format of the site.

… of course, I did this because I wanted to have copies of my favorite stories saved locally on my phone. I do this occasionally by copying and pasting the text already, but this is not that easy to do on a phone.

I didn’t know about the … legality? Morality? of doing any of that. The story is owned by the original author always, of course. And I’m not making copies to share or sell or anything else. I’m essentially just recording it for me. Which anyone can do, at any time. It’s no different than your browser caching a local copy of the data.

Is that ok with other authors? For my own stories, I’m fine with that and assume people are doing that. My only concern is that they don’t post my stories to other sites and make money off of them.

(I’m bring this up because any kind of API would be instantly used for scraping and storing copies of stories. Instantly. That’s even effectively what the original poster, no shade from me, is discussing doing. My project was for the same thing: to scrape my favorite stories and generate Kindle friendly versions so I could read everything from the Kindle app).


I don’t think it would be a legal (or ethical IMO) problem as long as you’re not selling it. (Sharing it is probably also legally fine, especially if crediting the original author, but ethically could be controversial)

And I mean if someone wanted to scrape the site, it could be done - I did find a method that worked but had some difficulties that made it not worth it for me.

Upon second thought though, @Martin, it may be worth it to require some kind of password in the GET parameters or something. Just because making it that much easier to scrape stories might attract people trying to republish content en masse. But again, I think this could already be done to a motivated individual, just having the simplified text links would make it so just about anyone with the smallest coding ability could do it.

If no one ever saved copies of stories, many stories would have been lost forever over the years. I think about all the great stuff that was lost with the tumblr purge.

I know authors want to control their work and I’m no different. But no, I don’t actually mind if copies of my stories are preserved by amateur archivists.

Can’t speak for anyone else though.

To be honest, the stories are public anyway. It’s not much of an issue to scrape them from the site. As a matter of fact, you could easily “abuse” the sitemap.xml file that the site actually creates for web crawlers to find all stories. (Be careful, the sitemap is huge and tends to crash browsers :slight_smile: )

If you directly enter the URL of a story, the Kindl can’t even display the story itself?