"SABINE," I hear you cry. "YOU HAVE LEARNED THE SECRET OF MAKING AO3 SERIES INTO SINGLE .EPUB FILES. I MUST HAVE THIS KNOWLEDGE."
"Calm your tits," I answer. "Let me show you how it’s done." Please find enclosed a bunch of pictures and step-by-step instructions on how to do this using the free .epub editor Sigil, which you can download here.
You can also do this with the EPUBMerge plugin for Calibre, which is slightly easier. Calibre will also wipe all your bookmarks without telling you. Allow me to express how much I hate Calibre. (Edited 3.11.13, 4.54 PM)
Okay. First step, go to the Archive and download all the stories you want to put in your ebook.
As you might have surmised, GET THE EPUBS. There’s apparently a way to do this with PDFs, but idk what it is.
Let’s say you have the excellent taste, and I thank you, to download Black Market Baby. Grab everything and put it in a folder, which should look like this:
Now take a deep breath, count to ten, and change all the .epub extensions to .zip.
I have only renumbered them here because I can’t keep things straight ever. Okay, so unzip them, and go hunting. You will be confronted with this:
Slowly, but carefully, go into the OEBPS folder, where you will find this:
These are the individual files that make up your .epub. SCARY, I KNOW.
Get rid of the afterword (keep the one for the last story), keep the preface (for all the stories) and the chapters. Throw everything else out. For all the chapters for the given story, add “1 - ” to the beginning of the filename (1 for the first story, 2 for the second, yes I am insulting your intelligence). Rename the preface “1 - 1preface” (or “2 - 1preface” etc).
ETA: I LIED. Apparently the end notes are in the afterword, so save them and rename them to “1 - zafterword” etc.
Do this for every story and gather the files together (not actually necessary but illustrative and soothing):
Got it? Good.
Now gently open Sigil. On the top left, you will see this:
Rename “Section0001” to “Cover” (use this tutorial to add a cover image, I won’t go into that.). Click that blessed plus sign and add all the files you just created (you can select more than one). One by one, double click on all of them to add them to your .epub. (In retrospect I am not 100% sure this is necessary, but it takes like two seconds so do it anyway.) You will get something like this here: click here for non-smooshed image. MAKE SURE that they are in the correct order on the nav bar on the left-hand side- but you should have no problem with that since you renamed them, right?
Okay. Your epub has been made. Now we just generate a table of contents, add the metadata, and go home!
To generate the table of contents, just hit the “Generate Table of Contents” button.
Because you got these from the AO3 and because you left in the preface files, it will be smooth sailing!
ONE FINAL STEP. Now you must add the metadata (the only stuff we’re getting into is title and author, because that’s all we care about right now). Hit F8 or to go to Tools > Metadata Editor.
Enter the name of the series and the name of the author.
Save your work. You are done! Here’s how your .epub looks on my old-ass Kobo:
Just like you’re used to! And lookee here:
This sounds like a lot and very technical, but all it is is a little tedious. The only problem I’m having is that the cover image is blank. Thoughts appreciated.
ETA: Good news, everyone! Found a tutorial for how to add a cover page. Use it in good health.
Son of ETA: Fixed another problem: To make the ebook actually start with the cover and not the title of the first chapter, select the cover and hit “h1”. Do this BEFORE you generate the TOC (or generate the TOC again after). There should be a blank TOC entry at the top; rename this “Cover”.
ETA Strikes Back: If you use Calibre, you can do this with the plugin EPUBMerge. I really, really hate Calibre.
And that’s how you make yourself a series .epub!
Note that if you use dotEPUB as well, you can do this for ANY SET OF WEBPAGES. HOMG. Generating the TOC is harder, but that’s a story for another day.