eReaders for eBooks

screenshot from Firefox EPUBReader

screenshot from Firefox EPUBReader

For those who aren’t familiar with eReaders for reading eBooks, here is some guidance.

There are two categories of eReader:-

  • The dedicated eReader, such as a Kindle, Kobo or NOOK, some of which also have internet browsing capabilities.
  • Computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones, which need some software to read an eBook. This is typically an app, or a plugin for your internet browser.

Why are there three files when you download from

  • .azw3 and .mobi are Kindle formats. The .mobi format works on all Kindles, but the more modern .azw3 provides more functionality.
  • .epub can be read on just about any other device.

Amazon’s Kindle eReader

  • Copy the .azw3 file to your Kindle. Plug it into your computer’s USB port and copy to the correct folder, usually called ‘documents’. You’ll see all your other books in that folder. Really old Kindles may not be able to read this file, in which case you’ll need to copy the .mobi file.
  • You can download the book from the Amazon website, but you’ll only be able to read it on a Kindle device or a Kindle app.

Kobo eReader
This is a serious competitor to the Kindle, and it reads .epub files. Connect it to your computer via the USB cable, and tap ‘connect’ on the Kobo screen. Copy the file into the ‘Kobo Library’. Kobo has apps which allow you to read your library books on other devices. User guides for Kobo devices are available here.

NOOK, the Barnes & Noble eReader
This also reads .epub files. Attach the NOOK to your computer’s USB port, and then copy the file to the ‘My Documents’ folder, you know it’s the right one because you’ll see your other books in the folder. Click here for full user guides for the different NOOK devices.

Apple devices

  • Modern Macs and iPads have the iBooks software already loaded. Double-clicking on the .epub file will give you the option to open in iBooks, and the book will be displayed.
  • iPhones – download the free iBooks app from the iTunes store.

Free ePub reader software for Windows and Macs
Adobe Digital Editions. This is a very good reader available in Windows and Mac versions. Download for free from here.

Windows devices
Another good way to read eBooks on Windows devices is to install a plugin to your internet browser. Here are two examples:-

  • Google Chrome. Install Readium. Just below the search line at the top of the browser there is an ‘Apps’ icon. Click this to reveal the list of apps. Open Readium, and add the .epub file to the library by clicking the ‘+’ sign and selecting the book.
  • Firefox. EPUBReader is available here. Click on ‘+ Add to Firefox’ and it is installed. Double-clicking on the .epub file gives you the option of opening with Firefox.

Android devices

  • If you use one of the specialist eReader devices and want to read on your phone, then it is easiest to install that eReader’s app on your phone.
  • Otherwise download the free Aldiko app from the Google Play store. It allows you to read downloaded .epub files.

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