An interesting idea

So, I was talking to someone on Reddit about web serials. He (or she) is someone interested in taking a look at the stuff we've been making. He was wondering, since he takes the subway every morning, if there was some way to get the books wirelessly. I told him the truth: in most cases, there isn't. He then wondered if there was any way to make an app that would download chapters of the serial to your phone. Now, just out of curiosity, how hard would it be to do something like this?

Well, if he wants to follow the more recent posts, he can use an RSS reader. If he's tempted to read a serial that already has ebooks available, he can just buy the ebook...

Now, all that said, there are a significant number of serials with no ebook, and started long enough in the past that all the posts aren't included in the RSS feed. Here are the options as I see them:

1. Changing the number of posts in your RSS feed to include all of your posts. It wouldn't be hard if your platform allows you to change that kind of thing.

2. Writing an app that makes all your posts available--not that hard in theory. You'd probably also have to write a Wordpress plugin that provides posts to the reader in some appropriate fashion. Or do the RSS feed with all your posts. Or something like that. That said, it wouldn't be easy at all if you have no prior coding experience.

3. Alternately, you could write an app that contains your entire serial up to the present and gets new posts via RSS feed? Relatively easy, especially if you use one of the many devkits that convert html into apps. Actually, I'm pretty sure that Adobe Indesign would do all that for you minus the "downloading new episodes via RSS feed" part.

For what that's worth...

Of these, probably the easiest and least chancy would be putting all of your episodes into an app with Adobe Indesign. You'd just have to learn Indesign. That said, there might be other programs out there that a non-programmer could use to do the same thing for less money and with a lower learning curve.

This might be handy to know; some smart phones have the option in the browser to download a page for offline reading. A person could download a bunch of consecutive pages and read them offline.

I'm pretty sure this is how Inkspired is set up, with its smartphone app. I haven't got the right phone to try it out myself (the Android app is still in development), but I'm pretty sure that it's designed to download the chapters on demand, so you can read them offline.

Edit: yes, it is set up to do that. From their FAQ:

Can I save chapter in the app to read it later?

Yes. There are two ways of doing that, and you can find both in the same place. While reading the chapter, go to the "Options" button in the right corner of the screen. It will only appear if you tap the content. From there, you can save the chapter for "offline reading" or "like" the chapter. Both options are for different purposes: the first one allows you to be able to continue reading the chapter without internet connection, but you can only have a maximum of five chapters stored this way. The second option allows you to bookmark any chapter you like.

Both lists can be accessed through the Pocket Library option in the app's main menu.

If they are asking an ebook or to download wirelessly, sounds like they may be wanting to load it to a kindle or similar? I USED to have until the tool broke a plugin on Phoenix that let you put in an email, and you'd get the update emailed as a txt file. So you could put in the kindle email address and have it sent automatically.

I can just open my browser to the page in question, hit the settings button, and pick "Save for offline viewing". It downloads a copy of the page I can open up in my web browser even where I don't have internet connection.