Have you been downloading and reading eBooks? Many bloggers offer a free eBook to encourage readers to subscribe. Public libraries offer eBooks. Amazon.com offers free classics. (Keep reading, by the way, to learn about Judy’s free eBooks.)
Which Format to Choose
These eBooks can come in any of a dozen or more formats. Hopefully, this simple list will help you obtain the right eBook file type for your device. You can check what book-like file formats work for your eReader in this Wikipedia article or in your user manual.
- .azw and kf8 are Kindle Fire formats (these may work on older Kindles as well)
- .mobi works on older Kindles
- some .prc files will also read as a book
- .epub should work on all other eBook readers (and will work on a Kindle Fire HD)
- and there are many others (some are specific to a device)
If the eBook Doesn’t Work on Your Device or You Don’t Have an eReader
If you don’t have a Kindle or eReader, you may want to try downloading the free Kindle app for your computer or mobile device.
Any device can read a PDF file, so you always have that option open to you. One disadvantage to PDF files is that the pages do not re-size for reading. Squinting at PDF files on a small smartphone screen won’t work for you. (Check the second NOTE below for another possible solution for Kindle owners.)
How to Download eBooks
When you find an eBook on the internet, you’ll want to download it to your computer before uploading it to your device. You’ll either 1) right-click and then choose where to keep the file, using “save as” or 2) you’ll click on a “download” button which also saves the eBook on your computer. (If you don’t know where your eBook is stored on your computer, you should see a “downloads window,” after the file is saved, which lists your recent downloads. Right-click on the file and choose “open containing folder” to go to the folder where your eBook file is waiting for you.)
You should be able to read your book using one of the following options.
Kindle Owners for files formatted for Kindles (.azw, kf8, and some .prc):
I don’t recommend simply clicking on a link in your Silk browser to download an eBook because it will go to the Downloads folder as a .bin file. Save the eBook on your computer and then, using a USB cable, drag it to the Book folder of your Kindle. You’ll keep the right file format and the eBook will be in the right folder.
Follow these instructions if the file you’ve downloaded is formatted for a Kindle. Otherwise, I have instructions for all the file formats for any version of a Kindle in Everything You Need to Know to Build Your eBook Library.
- Using a USB cable, connect your Kindle to your computer.
- Approve on your Kindle that it is now connected to your computer. I’m describing the following steps using Windows.
- Your Kindle device will appear in the same location as external USB drives usually appear in the “Computer” or “My Computer” menu for your computer’s file manager.
- Locate the downloaded file on your machine (probably in “My Downloads”).
- Open the Kindle drive in your “My Computer” window and click on Internal Storage.
- Drag the eBook file from your computer into Kindle / Internal Storage / Books (“books” for Kindle Fire and “documents” for an older Kindle).
- Safely eject your Kindle device from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content is in the books area of your Kindle.
You should just be able to click on a link for the download in Safari. The book will go to iBooks on your iPad. You also have the option of using the free Kindle app. See WikiHow’s step-by step instructions with four options to choose from for downloading eBooks.
Try This Yourself
- This article covers many eReaders and many file formats. For more detailed help with a Kindle, or to learn how to build an eLibrary, read Everything You Need to Know to Build Your eBook Library.
- Kindle Owners, you can eMail a PDF file with “convert” in the subject line and Amazon.com will convert the PDF file to an eBook format; however, the eBook might look a little messy.If you leave “convert” out of the subject line, the PDF file will go to your documents folder, not your books folder, which means it will scroll like a document instead of “flipping pages” like an online book.
- You might want to read The Best eBook Format for the Kindle HD is EPub and check out other advice from The Digital Reader.
- A list of eBook devices and formats from the Library of Congress.
- This post was updated June 2015.