top of page

How to read an E-book without an E-reader (Or with one)


Digital books are growing in popularity and for very good reason. The good news is you don’t need to own a dedicated E-reader or be a technological wiz to get access to this marvelous resource. Follow this step by step guide to get you reading E-books in no time.

What is an E-book?

An E-book is a book in digital form. These books can be viewed on a range of digital devices: E- readers; Phones; Computers and Notebooks. Different companies have developed different file formats for their books. For example a book may be in epub, PDF, KF8, EPib or iBook author file format. Depending on what format the book file is in depends what device will read it. Most books are available in multiple formats but some are made for just one market.

Why bother with E-books?

Why not just stick to traditional published books? Well E-books have several features that can make your reading experience better. For instance, digital books have adjustable font size so you can view the text as large as you want. Some of the books are even enabled with text to speak functions so they can read the book out loud. With an E-reader or an E-reader App you can have hundreds of books in the same space as one traditional book. You never have to worry you won’t have something to read again as your entire library travels with you. Many E-books are free or at least cheaper than their print counterparts, but most of all, they are instant. No more trips to the book store or worries over returning library books: it can all be done instantly at a push of a button.

What device do you need to view an E-book?

E-books can be viewed on an E-reader, a desktop computer, a smart phone or a tablet. So even if you don’t own an E-reader you can have instance access to thousands of books. E-books are read on phones and computers by installing an Application or “App” that can read the special files. These Apps are free and easy to install. Follow these step by step instructions to get yourself set up.

Choosing an App

E-books are not stored directly on your device rather your books are stored in the cloud (virtual web storage) and your app acts as a door to your virtual library. If you have an E-reader or an existing E book account online it makes sense to use the existing door to access your books. If you are new to E-books then you can chose any of the many available apps. All the major E-book retailers have free apps so you can view their books over multiple platforms. If you have a favorite E-book provider, I suggest you go with their app. I have also suggested a popular app for viewing on both a desktop PC and a Mac. The choice is up to you. Each provider has slightly different install instructions but I will cover the basics below.

Major retailers

Desk top suggestions


Downloading the app

Make sure you are on the device you want to view E-books on. Once you have chosen the App you want, click on the download button for the device you will use to view E-books.

I.e.: If you want to read on your iPhone, go to the web site on you iPhone and click download Kindle app for iPhone.

This process may take a few minutes.

Installing the app

If you are on your phone, go to the apps screen and click on the E-reader icon.

If you are on a computer, click on the download file that pops up when downloading is complete. You may have to click “install” or “run” to complete the install.

To link your device to your E-book library, you will need to provide an email address. This address allows the app to act as a door to you cloud library. Bear in mind you may not want to use a communal email address as this will provide access to your books and reading history to anyone who shares the email address.

Congrats, you have installed the app. It’s that easy; now you just need to get some books to read.

How do I get the books onto the device?

Now is the fun bit you get to discover new books.

E books are transferred to your device through wireless streaming. You purchase your books at online retailers and they go automatically into your virtual library in the cloud. When you click on a book it is transferred via Wi-Fi from your library on to your device. The book remains backed up in the Cloud. If you ever decide there are too many books on your device, you can click “archive” and they will be returned to your library. This is different than clicking “delete”, which will remove the book from your library permanently.

If you have an E-reader you can also put books onto your device manually through a process called side loading. Plug your E-reader into your computer via the USB cord. A prompt should appear just like plugging in any USB or hard drive. Open the file and copy or drag and drop books into the E-reader file. Keep in mind with manual loading your books aren’t baked up in the cloud so if you delete them off the device, They are gone forever.

Where do I find E-books?

There are many different sources of E-books for you to choose from.

Your local library will have a selection of E-books that you can borrow free of charge. The library staff is also a great source of help, if you are having any problems with the downloading process.

There are many online E-book retailers. The retailers mentioned above in the app section have the most extensive collections also check out for E-books available for purchase in multiple formats. You can also narrow your search parameters to “free” in the retailers search box to find free books. Or buy directly from authors websites.

Free E-book sites are everywhere! They provide E-books that are either outside of copywriter period or being offered free by authors and publishers as part of a promotion. You can do a Google search, but here is a few to start you off.

E-book deal newsletters offer free or discounted E-books in your email. Check out book blogs to find subjects that interest you.


Some bonus tips and tricks

E-book devices have many other useful functions once you have come to terms with the basics. Most allow you to highlight text, check word definitions, bookmark pages, write notes, save web pages to read later, and all without damaging your book.

E-books may seem like a lot of trouble at first, but once you have tried the convenience of having unlimited books at your fingertips, you will wonder why you waited so long.

Happy reading.


Ann K Addley was born in New Zealand and is based there between travels. Ann is a freelance writer, professional dancer and circus performer. Check out her ‘E-book Stress Free Adventure Planning’ at her website:

Recent Posts
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page