Using Your Personal Computer as an Ereader

(Here’s where to find free Kindle apps for your phone, ipod/ipad, etc.)

How to read ebooks on a pc is a topic that seems to be popping up around me a lot lately, especially from kids who do not own ereaders.  So it was time for a concise post on this subject. Yes, you can use your computer as an ereader. Yes, you can do it for free!

Ebooks come in two main file formats, MOBI, which is compatible with the Amazon Kindle, and EPUB, which is compatible with pretty much everything else. You can read both formats on your computer, giving you access to the extensive Kindle store and to the other bookstores like Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc. that sell in the EPUB format. Here are the methods I like best:

Visit the Kindle website for free a software download that will open any Kindle book on your pc. You can manage your account right from the website. They will conveniently add purchased titles to your online library and store the books on their database (not your computer’s memory). And if you ever do purchase a Kindle, you can sync it to your account, making all your titles available on your new devise.

If you want to be able to read EPUB ebooks, there are two methods I really like. The Bookworm Online ePub eBook Reader is a free app that stores and opens ebooks for you. All you have to do is sign up. Any ebooks you purchase and download to your pc can then be uploaded to and stored on your Bookworm library and read via your browser, allowing you to free up memory space. Pretty handy, and no software download is required.

But maybe you don’t want to use your browser. Adobe Digital Editions is another free and easy-to-use option for reading EPUB files. Once the software is installed, it will open  EPUB ebooks for you automatically, no browser required. This is the method I use to preview my own ebooks in the EPUB format before I publish them.

Even without an ereader, the world of digital books is open to anyone with a pc. Take advantage of those low (and free!) ebook prices and give one a try!

I did a post about this last year, when I just learning about file formats, that includes some related information:  Reading eBooks on Your Personal Computer – PDF, EPUB, MOBI and JavaScript

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10 thoughts on “Using Your Personal Computer as an Ereader

    1. Michelle Isenhoff Post author

      Ha! I was just posting on your site. I think we were reading each other’s blogs at the same time. :)

      Yes, it’s handy that the software is available, because a LOT of kids don’t have ereaders, probably for a mix or reasons including money and maturity and responsibility. But almost every family has a pc nowadays, so I want to spread the word that they don’t have to miss out on the convenience of ebooks (and freebies!).

  1. swlothian

    Great info. I had a similar post about ebooks on iPad etc a couple of months ago. I think that we sometimes take it for granted that everyone knows about this. It’s good to spread the word.
    I’d love to reblog this post on my blog if that’s ok with you. You’re welcome to reblog my earlier iPad post it you want.
    Cheers

  2. Patricia Tilton

    I have a Kobo, and realized early on that I could read books on the computer after downloaded. But, chose not to — spend enough time sitting in a chair in front of the computer. Can’t curl up in a chair and read with my computer. My eyes get blurry, my neck aches – ugh! My husband has an iPad and that is the only way he will read a book. I have books downloweded on Kobo, and I just can’t get intio reading them. I want the book in my hands.

    1. Michelle Isenhoff Post author

      Everyone’s different, and you don’t know your preferences till you try different things. I don’t like reading on the computer either if I can help it, though Word is a nice program to edit for others in. I much prefer a book–or my Kindle with its loads of books with no mass and weight. My son loves to read on his ipod; my daughter prefers a book, like you. It is cool that there are so many options now. It’s funny, I even see a lot of ipads and mini lap tops replacing the Bibles at church!

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