Archive FAQ > Downloads

Can I download works from the Archive to read later?

Yes, you can! We offer downloads in HTML, PDF, MOBI and EPUB formats. Archive downloads can be read on your computer and on a range of portable devices, including Amazon's Kindle, iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, Sony ereaders, Android devices and most other ereaders. See below for more detailed information about reading downloads on some popular mobile devices.

How do I download works?

On the works navigation bar (at the top right-hand of the page in the default layout for sighted users) there is a 'Download' button. Selecting the button will make the different download formats available to you: MOBI, EPUB, HTML, PDF. Simply select the format you would like to download, and a download dialogue will open. Confirm the download to save the file to your computer or mobile device.

Can I download works to read on the Kindle?

Yes! Our MOBI format is compatible with the Kindle. However, at present it is not possible to download works directly from the Archive via the Kindle web browser. Because of the way the Kindle handles ebook downloads, attempting a direct download via the web browser will result in a message that it is an unsupported format. Instead, you need to download the mobi file to your computer then transfer it via USB connection to your Kindle, or email it as per Amazon's instructions for personal files (make sure you use your free Kindle email address or it will incur a fee).

In the future, we hope to put something in place to allow direct downloads for wifi-enabled Kindles, but this is likely to take some time.

Can I download works to read on the Sony ereader?

Yes! Our EPUB format is supported by Sony's ereader devices. You can download to your computer then transfer to the ereader via whichever method you prefer to use for other ebooks. However, please note that Sony currently does not support EPUB files with sections larger than 300MB: if your ereader freezes when you attempt to open a download from the Archive, you have hit this limit. If this happens, a soft reset should allow you to unfreeze your reader without losing any of your data. You must then convert the affected file in order to read it.

There are a number of ways to convert files larger than 300MB so they can be read on the Sony reader, but one of the easiest is via the free program Calibre. Use Calibre's file conversion option to convert from EPUB to EPUB - Calibre's default settings for EPUBs will break the EPUB file into sections small enough for the Sony reader to handle. You can mass convert lots of files at once if you wish. (Calibre can also be used in place of the Sony Reader software to manage files on your device if you wish.)

We're working on improving our EPUB file outputs so that conversion isn't necessary for larger files, but it may take us some time.

Can I save works from the Archive via a service such as Instapaper?

Yes, but there are some limitations to this. Instapaper currently does not support cookies or session login details on any site. This means that if you try to save a work restricted to Archive users, or one with an adult content warning, you'll get the login or adult content confirmation pages instead of the actual work. This issue is caused by the way Instapaper works, so we can't fix it from our end. If you want to save restricted or adult works to read later, you'll need to use our downloads.

Can I create a 'skin' to change the way the downloaded work looks?

No, sorry. You can customise the way the Archive itself looks using Archive skins, but this option isn't available for downloads. Different devices vary widely in the way they handle stylesheets for ebooks, so it's very difficult for us to provide a styling option which will work for everyone. Allowing people to customise their downloads would also create a significant extra performance drain, so it's not an option we'd consider adding in the forseeable future.

Will images show up in downloaded works?

Not at the moment, sorry. Currently we can't host images on the Archive itself, and the extra processing power involved in grabbing an image from another site and converting it to work in a download is too high. However, we do plan to host images on the Archive itself in the future, and when this feature is launched we hope to figure out a way to include Archive-hosted images in downloads.

Will my CSS styling ('work skin') show up when someone downloads my work?

No, sorry. When someone downloads your work, they will just get the HTML formatting - i.e. the way the work looks when you select 'Disable creator's style'. Because different devices handle stylesheets for ebooks in very different ways, it's very difficult for us to support additional styling. In addition, styling options can pose accessibility issues for some users, so we're keeping it simple. When styling your works, do bear in mind that they need to make sense with your work skin disabled.

Can I disable downloads on my works?

No, sorry. One of our main reasons for providing a download option is accessibility. Many users can't easily read works directly on the Archive because of physical or cognitive disabilities or because they do not have easy access to an internet connection. Downloads help these users by giving them more control over when and where they read works and what devices they can use to read them. In order to ensure that the Archive remains as accessible as possible, we want to be sure that these options are available for all works.

If you wish to exert more control over who accesses your works, you can choose to 'Restrict work to Archive users'. (However, you should note that posting your work anywhere on the internet, even restricted to a particular group, makes it possible for other people to save and circulate your work, even where no quick download option exists.)