How To Read An eBook

You’ve just bought your shiny new eBook, either from here (fingers crossed) or from somewhere else that isn’t Amazon, and suddenly you’re faced with the idea of getting your new book onto your device.  There are various ways, depending on which device you’re reading on:

* These instructions possibly don’t apply to Linux, unless you’re using a more Windows-like distribution such as Puppy – but if you’re using Linux you likely already know what you’re doing with it!

Kindles (and other eReaders)

Owning only two Kindles (the original and a Paperwhite), I can only offer a guide for them, but I would assume the steps would be similar for others.  You need:

  • Your Kindle (or similar device)
  • A standard Micro-USB data cable (such as the one your device came with)
  • Your PC or similar with your downloaded files
  • Optional: The Calibre program

The Basic Way

Plug your USB cable into your computer, and connect the smaller end to your Kindle or similar device.  In your choice of operating system, navigate to the folder you downloaded your MOBI (for Kindle) or ePub (for Nook and similar) eBook.  From here you can either leave the folder open, or right-click and copy the relevant MOBI or ePub file.

Either opening another folder or moving through your current one (if you’ve copied your file), navigate to your device in your operating system.  From here, you can either drag and drop your file onto your device, or you can right-click and paste the eBook into place.

Once you’re done, eject your device from your computer and enjoy reading your new book!

Using Calibre

As above, plug your USB cable into your PC and connect it to your device. Once you have downloaded your eBook, open Calibre and click on the first option in the list along the top, either by clicking on the plain ‘Add books’ button to bring up the Open dialogue box, or clicking on the drop-down arrow for more options:

Screenshot showing the expanded 'Add books' menu in Calibre

Once you have added your books to your library, select the specific book you want to send to your device and click ‘Send to device’.

The Calibre 'Send to device' menu, showing all the available options but most notably 'Send specific format to'.

If you downloaded the Kindle format, then just the main ‘Send to device’ button would work, but if you have extra memory in your device, the drop down arrow gives you further options, such as choosing where you send it to or, if you have more than one format of eBook in your library (for example if you have MOBI, AZW3 and PDF versions and a Kindle device) you can choose to ‘Send specific format to’ the device.

Options from Calibre's 'Send specific format to device' menu, showing the options to send MOBI, AZW3, KFX, PDF and TXT files to a Kindle.

Once it’s been successfully sent to your device, a check mark will appear in the column handily marked On Device that tells you which storage unit it’s on.

Showing the Calibre 'On Device' checkmark column in the main Calibre menu.

From there you can eject your device whichever way you prefer, either from the hardware options in your operating system, such as the ‘Eject this device’ menu in the Windows notification panel, or from Calibre itself using the Device > Eject this device menu.

The Calibre Device menu, showing the 'Eject this device' option.

 

Personal Computers

There are several programs that will enable you to read eBooks on your computer, however one of the most popular free solutions is Calibre, which you can download from https://calibre-ebook.com/.

Calibre

Once you have downloaded your eBook, open Calibre and click on the first option in the list along the top, either by clicking on the plain ‘Add books’ button to bring up the Open dialogue box, or clicking on the drop-down arrow for more options:

Screenshot showing the expanded 'Add books' menu in Calibre

Once you’ve added your eBook(s), they will appear in your Library as a list.

From here, double-clicking on any book will bring up the Calibre E-book Viewer, where you can read your book by moving back and forth with the arrow keys.  The E-book Viewer can also be opened from the Start menu in Windows.

The expanded Calibre folder in the Windows Start menu

Kindle for PC

While it’d be nice to select the option from a drop-down list, there’s no way inside the Kindle for PC app to add your eBook to your Library.  This doesn’t, however, mean you can’t read your book inside the app.  You just have to be a little sneaky about it.

In Windows Explorer, navigate to the folder you’ve installed your downloaded eBook (such as your Documents folder), right-click on your chosen MOBI file, move to ‘Open with’ and select ‘Kindle.’

Right click on your MOBI file, move to 'Open With' and select 'Kindle'

Et voilà, your MOBI eBook will open itself in the Kindle eReader app, mostly without issue.  It will, however, totally ignore the cover in the Library (it will display correctly when you open it).

Radial: The Academy by Pax Asteriae in the Kindle eReader app for Windows

 

Tablet and Phone Devices

There are a plethora of eBook apps on Google Play and the Apple Store, but the main advantage of using a tablet or phone is that you can log in to websites you’ve purchased eBooks from and download them directly to your device rather than fiddling with cables and folders.  Once the book is on your device, it’s a simple matter of directing your favourite eBook app to its location to add it to the library.

However, this doesn’t work for the Kindle app for phones or tablets!  You need an app such as ReadEra, which makes it easy to add books to your library.  Download your books to your device (or add them in a similar manner to the eReader instructions above), hit the three dots in the top right corner and select “Start scan.”  Your books will be added to your library.  Most apps can also read both ePub and MOBI, as well as a variety of other options, so you should never run into the issue of being locked out of your purchase.

ReadEra app showing the main menu    ReadEra screenshot showing new eBooks added after a scan

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