How to Put a Loose eBook on Your EReader (Kindle, Nook, Smartphone, etc.)

Embrace Multiple Online Booksellers

ebook on ereader

For Kindle and Nook owners, managing your ebook library is pretty much automatic if you purchase your ebooks directly from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  That’s all well and good if you get all your ebooks from one source.  A single source may seem easier, but it may not always be practical.

As friends and family begin purchasing and gifting ebooks signed by the author, or if a book is only available through one particular bookseller, ereaders will have to learn to adapt.

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to put a loose (not purchased directly from Amazon or Barnes and Noble) ebook on your ereader device.


If you have a WiFi/internet capable ereader, putting an ebook on your device is as simple as sending and opening an email.

Ebooks from other online booksellers are usually available for download either through a web page, where you purchased the ebook, a download link in an email, or an attached .ePub or .mobi file in an email.

Just tap the download link or the attached file.  Once the file downloads, tap it again.  Usually, you’ll either be asked how you’d like to open the file (if you have multiple ebook reading apps) or it’ll open automatically in the default reader.


manage ebook libraryIf your ereader device doesn’t have WiFi connectivity (no email or internet on the ereader), use the USB cable that came with your ereader device.

Plug the cable into your computer on one end and into your ereader device on the other.  Your ereader should be identified like an external hard drive.  As such, you can drag and drop a copy of the ebook from your computer to your ereader device.

Try dropping the ebook file into the Documents folder on your ereader device, unless the manufacturer recommends a better spot.


There are all kinds of other tools and methods for putting ebook files on your ereader device.  I just like to keep it simple via WiFi/email or a hardwired cable unless there’s a need to complicate the process… like you get an .ePub ebook file, but you want to put it on your Kindle.

Most online booksellers offer .ePub, .mobi, or both.  If you happen to get stuck with the wrong format for your device, though, you can convert it (unless it’s encrypted with DRM or other copy protection).

Calibre is the most popular method to manage ebook files and convert them as needed.

Michael Kozlowski of recently created a pretty good tutorial video on using Calibre to convert an ebook file and send it to an ereader device.

Don’t Be Afraid of Ebooks from Other Online Booksellers

It’s true that managing your library on your ereader device is easier through your dedicated online seller.  That’s why I answer the question, Which device should I buy, a Kindle or a Nook?, with another question. Which online store do you prefer… Amazon or Barnes and Noble?  If you have a preference, the decision’s pretty easy.  If you don’t have a preference, then all the iPad and other tablet factors appear, but that’s another blog post.  😉

Regardless of your ereader device, there’s no need to fear purchasing or gifting ebooks from other online booksellers.  Readers frequently purchase ebooks from Smashwords and Kobo for use on all kinds of ereader devices, and now that digital signing options are available, the demand for signed/autographed ebooks from and other services will continue to increase …for personal purchases and for gift purchases.

Don’t fear the loose ebook file.  It’s pretty easy to attach to your ereader.  🙂

Want to give it try?  You can purchase an autographed copy of What Do Ebook Authors Sign?  Book 1: Tools & Technology through  It’s a great option if you want to step outside your comfort zone and try a new online bookseller.

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