How to get e-books onto your e-reader


Many writers, myself included, give away free books to readers. But if you are provided with a book in this way, perhaps as a direct download from a website, or from a service such as Bookfunnel or Instafreebie, how do you get it onto your ereader?

Below you’ll find links to guides for various file types. First of all, however, you need to know which file type is right for your ereader.

  • If you have a Kindle, then you need a mobi file, which will end in .mobi or .azw
  • If you have a Nook, then you need a .epub file.
  • And if you have a Kobo device, then it will support either epub or mobi (and azw) files.

These devices also support text (.txt) files and PDFs – but the PDFs in particular are a bit clunky. To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend trying to read a PDF on a dedicated ereader.

If you have an iPad or iPhone, then you have more options. You can read PDFs in a variety of apps: I like GoodReader and Documents by Readdle. You can read Kindle files in the Kindle Reader app, and epub files in the native iBooks app.

I’m not an Android user, but I’m fairly sure there are Kindle apps for Android, and dedicated PDF and epub reader apps. A quick search will probably throw up plenty of options.

If you’ve downloaded a free book from this site and want to get it onto your Kindle or Kobo reader, the easiest way is this:

  1. Connect the reader to your computer using the appropriate cable
  2. Open the ereader by clicking on the folder / directory
  3. For Kobo, just drag and drop the ebook into the top level folder / directory
  4. For Kindle, open the ‘Documents’ folder / directory
  5. Drag and drop the ebook into the ‘Documents’ folder.
  6. Eject and disconnect your ereader when ready (though you may choose to leave it connected until fully charged).

If you regularly load ebooks onto your Kindle, check out Amazon’s own app which makes loading files even easier. With a quick drag and drop on your computer, you can send a kindle ebook to any of your devices without having to connect them by cable. There are also options for sending web pages to your Kindle directly from a browser. And the service works not only with Kindles, but also with iPads and other devices that have the Kindle app installed and configured to your Amazon account:

The links below provide more detailed information for the various types of readers.







Photo 'These Dreams Inside' by Kevin Spencer via Flickr.
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