Thursday, October 3, 2013

How to read an e-book if you don't have an e-reader

With the increasing popularity of e-books, and with some books now only available in digital format, if you don't have an e-reader, you may feel out of the loop.  You don’t have to.  Kindles, Nooks, and other e-readers (like Sony e-reader, Kobo, etc) are great devices.  However, there are various ways to read e-books without them.  Here are three options.

Option 1:  Use Amazon's Cloud Reader (updated 3/31/17)

1)  Go to  
2)  Sign in (or sign up for a free account, if you don't already have one.)
3)  Find the book and click "buy now."  You'll have to provide credit card info if you haven't already.
4)  After the transaction goes through, click "read now."  It'll open the book in a cloud reader, which works a lot like a Kindle.  Being on the cloud means that it's out there in cyber space, not on your actual computer.  You can read it from any internet computer.
5)  To get back to it later, sign in to your account on Amazon, double-click on "Account and Lists," currently near the top right corner by your user name.  Scroll down to the Digital Content section.  Click on "Content and Devices."
6)  Find the book you want to read, and right next to the title, under the "actions" column, choose "read now."  If you later buy a Kindle, you can deliver it to your Kindle.    

ALTERNATIVE:  Download the free Kindle App for your smart phone, tablet, etc.  Here are the specifics of how to download the Kindle App

Option 2:  Make your computer into an e-reader

There are various free programs that can basically turn your computer into an e-reader. One easy option is Adobe Digital Editions Home, which works with e-books from Barnes and Noble and many other e-book sellers.

2)  Choose windows or mac, and follow the download instructions.  Once it installs, you're ready to start downloading e-books.
3)  Go to and find the book you want to download.  Be sure to choose the Nook Book (e-book) version and click "Buy now."
4)  If you don't have a Barnes and Noble account, you'll have to sign up for one, including your credit card information.  Follow the directions there.
5)  Once you've bought it, go to your Nook Library and click "Download." 
6)  Click on the downloaded file.  It should open in the Digital Editions program you just installed.  In my version, you then have to click "add to library" if you want to have easy access to it later.  You can easily bookmark your place and come back to it later.
7)  Read and enjoy. 
8)  On my computer, you can access your library later from a "My Digital Editions" folder in "My Documents."

Option 3:  Download a PDF from SMASHWORDS

If it's an independently published book, and the author has put it on, there's another option:  a PDF download.  PDFs work on most computers without much trouble, without having to download any special program, but they have fewer book reading options, like convenient bookmarking and easy font size manipulation.

1)  Go to
2)  In the search box, type the author of book title and click the search button.
3)  Find the correct book and click on it.  Then click "Add to cart."
4)  It'll prompt you to log in.  If you're not already a user, you'll have to make yourself an account and give them your credit card information, just as you would on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  No internet transaction is completely safe, of course, but this is an established site used by many people.
5)  Once you've set up your account, proceed to checkout or click "download."
6)  You'll have various options that look like this:
7)  Download the PDF. 
8)  When the PDF opens (you may have to click on a box somewhere, like the bottom left corner, depending on your operating system), save it somewhere convenient on your computer.  One way to do this is the  "save a copy" command under "file."  It may give you a message about how you can't save changes.  Click okay.
8)  Read and enjoy. 

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