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Unlock Your Ebooks: A Guide on How to Send EPUB Files to All Your Devices

I’ve always relished the tactile experience of holding a physical book in my hands. The smell of paper, the crinkle of pages, the weight of the tome—these are all part of the reading experience for me. However, I can’t deny the convenience, efficiency, and (most of the time) affordability of ebooks. 


So, when I receive an ebook file from an author, I can’t help but feel a sense of frustration. 


“What the heck am I supposed to do with an EPUB file?”


Hopefully, this guide will help you through a number of scenarios for when you receive an ebook file so that you can start reading it as soon as possible.


Sideloading Your Ebook: What Does That Mean?

So you’ve downloaded an ebook, but now you may have to sideload it. This isn’t as familiar a term as “download," “upload,” or "send," but don’t be intimidated. It’s very likely that you’ve sideloaded a file before. Sideloading is just the process of moving a file from one local device to another, like your laptop to your phone, camera to desktop, etc.


Sideloading in the context of ebooks refers to the process of transferring an ebook file from a source other than the official app store or platform of your e-reader device. This allows you to load and read ebooks that may not be available through the regular channels, such as books from independent publishers, self-published authors, or books that are out of print.


Confused?


That’s okay. I’ll give you a real-life example.


Let’s say you decide to buy Strangers in the Promised Land by Jim Wilbourne from our store, and you’d like to read the EPUB file on your Kindle. Normally, when you buy a book from the Kindle store, it magically appears on your Kindle e-reader and your Kindle app. But since you’re buying directly from us (which we greatly appreciate as indie authors), we might simply send you the file and it’s up to you to read it however you choose.


Why Would I Sideload an Ebook When I Can Just Buy It From Amazon?

That’s a really good point. Life is hard enough. Why inconvenience yourself?


Buying an ebook from us or any other author or publisher gives you a few extra steps—extra steps that aren’t always clearly explained and are certainly not always intuitive. And it’s like that by design because online retailers like Amazon don’t want you to sideload ebooks.


Why?


Simple: Amazon only wants you to buy from their store. They want a cut of the author’s profits.


Sideloading an ebook is more inconvenient but it also gives you much more freedom to read and enjoy your purchase in any way you choose, just like you can when you buy a physical book.


Buying an ebook from Amazon is like buying a physical book that only opens when you’re in a special room in your house. Buying a DRM-free (Digital Rights Management) ebook directly from an author or independent publisher gives you the freedom to read it whenever, wherever.


Sideloading can be done in a number of ways, depending on the type of e-reader device you have. Some e-readers, such as the Kindle, allow you to sideload ebooks by simply emailing the book to your device. Hopefully, I’ll be able to help you successfully sideload any ebook you have.


How Do I Send My Ebook to Kindle?

Kindles can be a little picky about where their ebooks come from, but don’t worry. There are still ways to enjoy ebooks you buy from Smashwords or even directly from publishers. Here’s how to do it in two ways:


Method 1: Sending ebooks by email

We find this method to be the easiest. If you've never done it before, it may take some initial setup, but once you've set it up for use, it's simple and quick every time! It doesn’t work as well for multiple files, but it is still very reliable.


  • Download the EPUB file.

  • You’ll need your Kindle’s special email address for this. Find it by logging into your Amazon account on your web browser or opening your Amazon app and going to “Content Library" on the dropdown under Your Account. Click on “Preferences” and then look under “Personal Document Settings.” You’ll see a list of your devices and their email addresses. This is where you’ll send the ebook.

step-by-step images of how to reach your personal document settings in your Amazon account
  • Important! Make sure the email address you’re sending from is on your Kindle’s “Approved Personal Document E-mail List” (it should be right below the list of device emails). You can edit this list if needed, which is great for if an author wants to directly send you an ARC!

a close up image of the approved document email list

  • Now for the magic! Just email the EPUB file to your Kindle’s email address. That’s it! Your Kindle will receive the email and convert the file into something it can read. You'll soon find the ebook waiting for you in your library.


Method 2: Send to Kindle

Looking for a hassle-free way to get ebooks onto your Kindle? Look no further than “Send to Kindle." This handy feature lets you send documents from your web browser, PC, or even your Android or Apple device, all without needing a cable. This is quickly becoming one of the more popular methods for sending content to your Kindle.


App Instructions

  • Download and install the Send to Kindle App.

  • Sign in with your Amazon account: Open the Send to Kindle app and log in using your Amazon credentials.

  • Connect and sync: As long as your device has an internet connection or can sync with the Kindle app, you're good to go! The files you add will magically appear on your Kindle.

  • Drop and enjoy: Simply add your desired ebooks (in a compatible format) to the Send to Kindle app, and they'll be whisked away to your Kindle's library, ready for you to start reading.


If you don't want to download another app, here's an alternative way to use "Send to Kindle" from your Android or Apple device! (You're going to love how easy this is!)


  • First, be sure you have the Kindle App (for reading) installed on your device.

  • Download your ebook file.

  • Open or select the file you want to send and use the share feature. This will look different depending on your device. (For the three dots on Android, click them and then tap share.)

three images of possible share icons
What your share buttons could look like
  • Select Kindle from your sharing options.


Supported file types for Send to Kindle are EPUB, PDF, DOC, DOCX, TXT, RTF, HTM, HTML, PNG, GIF, JPG, JPEG, BMP. Amazon discontinued support for MOBI files in December 2023.


Method 3: Sideloading with your computer

This method is best when sideloading multiple ebooks to you Kindle.


  • Find the ebook you want, purchase it, and download the EPUB file. (You may get the rare MOBI file, but most authors have switched to EPUB, as MOBI support is discontinued. MOBI files may need to be converted.)

  • Connect your Kindle to your computer with the USB cable. Your Kindle should show up like a flash drive on your screen.

  • Find the file you downloaded and drag it over to the “documents” folder on your Kindle.

  • Disconnect your Kindle and voila! The ebook should now be in your Kindle library, ready to read.


Again, supported file types for Send to Kindle are EPUB, PDF, DOC, DOCX, TXT, RTF, HTM, HTML, PNG, GIF, JPG, JPEG, BMP. Amazon discontinued support for MOBI files in December 2023. Other formats might not work on your Kindle, but with a little planning, you can enjoy a wider selection of ebooks on your favorite device. For a complete list of ways to use Send to Kindle and instructions, head over to Amazon's Send to Kindle Page.


image of amazon's send to kindle landing page

Loading Ebooks onto Your Nook

Looking to add some variety to your Nook’s library but want to explore beyond the Nook store? Here’s how to do it in just a few steps.


  • Buy the ebook you want to read (not from the Nook store!) and download the ebook in EPUB format. This is a common format that most Nooks can handle.

  • Plug your Nook’s cable into your computer and your Nook. Your Nook should show up just like a removable drive on your screen.

  • Find the downloaded EPUB file on your computer and drag it over to the “documents” folder on your Nook’s drive.

  • Once you've ejected your Nook and disconnected the cable, you’ll find the new ebook waiting for you in your Nook’s library, ready to be enjoyed!


Remember: This method works best with EPUB files. Other formats might not be compatible with your Nook. But with a little browsing and these simple steps, you can expand your ebook collection and discover new reads on your favorite device!


Adding Ebooks to Your iPhone or iPad (without the iBooks Store!)

There’s a whole world of ebooks beyond the iBooks store waiting to be explored! Here’s how to get ebooks from your favorite author’s store on their website onto your iPhone or iPad:


  • Grab your device and open the Safari web browser (or your browser of choice).

  • Head to the website where you plan to buy the ebook. (Not the iBooks store!)

  • Find the ebook you want to read and download it in EPUB format. Most ebooks will offer different file formats, but EPUB is a safe bet for iPhones and iPads.

  • Once the download is complete, your device will ask you how you want to open the file.

  • Choose “Open in Apple Books”.

  • And that’s it! The ebook will be downloaded and ready to read within Apple Books.


Keep in mind: This method works best with EPUB files. Other formats might require a different e-reader app or may not be compatible with your device at all. But with a little browsing and these simple steps, you can broaden your ebook horizons and discover new reads on your iPhone or iPad!


Reading Ebooks on Your Android Device (Not Google Play Books!)

The Google Play Store offers a vast selection of ebooks, but you might want to read an ebook that’s not available there or you might just want to support your favorite author buy purchasing the book from their website. Here's how to get ebooks onto your Android device:


First, you’ll need an e-reader app to view your ebooks. Google Play Books is usually pre-installed on most Android devices, but you might prefer another app. In that case, you’ll want to install the app you want to use on your device first. 


Here are some of our recommendations for eBook apps you should have on your device.


  • Open your device’s web browser and purchase the ebook you want from the website where the author is selling (not the Play Store!).

  • Browse for the ebook you want and download it in EPUB format. Most e-reader apps can handle this format.

  • Once the download is complete, you’ll need to import the EPUB file into your chosen e-reader app.

  • Start reading!


EPUB tends to be the best choice when sideloading an ebook on Android. But if you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to expanding your ebook library and discovering new reads on your Android device!


Reading Ebooks on PC or Mac

There are a rare few of us who would actually prefer to read our ebooks on our laptops or desktops. I don’t tend to read this way casually, but if I’m reading for research, school, or will be making lots of annotations, reading on my computer is my go-to option.


Amazon and Apple Books (Mac only) all have desktop apps that you can download and use to read your ebooks. If you prefer to use Google Play Books, you can read your ebooks right in your browser.


Kindle Desktop App


You can read on the Kindle Desktop App by using the Email method or the Send to Kindle method as described above.


Apple Books Desktop App


If you’re on a Mac and you want to use Apple Books, reading an ebook on your Mac is as easy as locating the EPUB file on your mac and opening it. EPUB files default to opening in Apple Books.


Google Play Books Web App

Go to https://play.google.com/books and log into the Google account where you’d like to store your ebook. Near the top of the page, click the “Upload files” button. You’ll have the option of either uploading your EPUB file from your computer, if you’ve added your book to Google Drive, you can upload it there.


What Method is Best for Me?

With so many options to sideload an ebook to your favorite device, it can be confusing to know what method you should select. When it comes down to it, it really just depends on what device you plan on reading it on, and which method is easiest for you to execute.


But once you choose your sideloading method of choice, you will have unlocked a superpower that grants you the freedom to better support any author you love who sells their ebooks from their website, or take full advantage of your digital rewards from the next crowdfunding campaign you support.


We’ll try to keep this article updated with the best methods to sideload your ebook.

Don’t hesitate to comment and let us know if you’re having trouble with one of our solutions so we can update you with information that will work for you!


 

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