The ePUB Format and You
It is 2018, and the variety of electronic book formats has narrowed to three main contenders. There is the old standby of PDF, there is the "Kindle" format (which is actually a combination of formats), and there is the ePUB format. The ePUB format is supported on many devices, and this blog post will help you find a way to read e-books in that format on your preferred device.
Not only is the ePUB format convenient for you to use as a reader, it is also convenient for publishers to make books available. There are large projects, such as the Gutenberg Project, that make many books available in ePUB format. Writers like me can post ePUB files to our own sites easily. For example, you can pick up a free copy of my short story "No Fanfare" by downloading it from my author site.
There are two tools that I will refer to several times because they are so frequently used to read ePUB books, especially on devices that may not have a native ePUB reader such as desktop computers. One of those tools is calibre, and the other is Adobe Digital Editions. Both can be downloaded for free and are available for multiple platforms. In fact, if you read nothing more of this blog post, just knowing about those two tools may be enough to get you started reading ePUB books that you obtain from a variety of sources. Read on for more options!
If you have a dedicated e-book reader, such as a Kindle, NOOK, or Kobo, then you will probably want to use that for reading ePUB files because it is so convenient. For the NOOK and the Kobo devices, you may simply be able to connect the device to your computer with a USB cable, open the device in your file browser, and drag the ePUB files from your computer to the device. You would then eject the device in the normal way for your computer to stop using USB devices, and the e-reader would then show the new books like normal. You can also use calibre to add ePUB files to your device, which also lets you take advanage of other features of that software.
If you have a Kindle, however, it does not support ePUB files. This is where you will want to use calibre. Download calibre for free, install it, and use it to convert ePUB files to the Kindle format. It can then help you synchronize your content on your Kindle when it is connected to your computer.
Reading on a phone or tablet requires the use of an app for your device. There are many free apps that you can use for reading ePUB files, and the e-book app that is part of the device platform (e.g., Google Play Books for Android) is often a good place to start. You will also find Adobe Digital Editions in the app stores for both Android and iOS devices. For the iPhone and iPad, you might consider the app that is simply called ePUB Reader. For Android, you can look at a variety of apps including Universal Book Reader and Aldiko.
You can also read ePUB files in your web browser. For example, if you use Chrome and have a Google account, you can read ePUB files by uploading them to your Google Play Books library and reading them through that. If you use Firefox, you can get the ePUBReader extension. If you use a different browser, look at what your browser offers for extensions to see if there is an ePUB file reader.
If you prefer to read on a desktop or laptop computer using software just for that purpose, you can find options for that as well. Once again, Adobe Digital Editions will get you into in ePUB book. Using Windows, Linux, or OS X, you can read books directly in calibre. In OS X, you can get a program called Bookle, but it is apparently not free and I like free options.
Download the ePUB file of my short story, via the link shown above. You can use that file to experiment with as you find the most convenient way for you to read ePUB books on your device of choice. If you read the short story in that file, I would appreciate an honest review on the site of your choice!
Photo by Morguefile contributor pippalou, used under license.