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How Do I Use My New Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony, or...

group ereader shot

I spent the last week fielding questions from my family members about how to use their new devices. I thought that there might be several people out there who previously were uninterested in ereading posts that might need a refresher course.

1. How expensive are the books?

Generally speaking the price of books are equal to their paper equivalent or less. If you buy new most of the time, you should not see an increase in your book spending.

2. Can I shop around?

It depends. If you got a nook, you can shop at most etailers as the nook accepts “epub” format. Amazon reads only mobi formats. I have a longer post on this subject here.   The good news is that Amazon, generally, has the best prices and the greatest selection; but nook, Sony, Kobo readers give a shopper the most retail freedom.

Here is an article about who has the best ebook prices.

If you have the iPad, you have the best of all worlds as there are Kobo, Kindle, nook apps for the iThings. No Sony App yet but you can use Bluefire App to view any ePub purchased. More on Bluefire App here and a few notes about iPad ebook Apps.

3. How do I get my books on my Kindle or nook?

If you don’t buy directly on the device or have a “send to” device feature, you are going to have to manually add the books. This is called sideloading. When you connect your Kindle/nook to the computer via a USB, the Kindle/nook should show up as an external harddrive:

Just drag over your books.   On the Kindle, put them in the documents folder:

Kindle docs screenshot

More on sideloading of Kindle books here.   Always remember to download the MOBI format for your Kindle.   Kindle also allows you to email yourself books. To email yourself books, you must enter the sender’s email address under Your Account->Manage Your Kindle, enter the emails under “Your Kindle Approve E-mail list.”   This is to prevent spammers from sending you unwanted documents.

TIP:   If you send documents to, there is no charge.

On the nook, put the books in the My files folder. I usually put them in “books”:

Nook files

More on sideloading nookbooks here.   Download the ePub versions of ebooks.   On the nookcolor, you can also load books via email or from a website.   More about the nookColor here.

4. Can I lend my books or share them?

Publishers are allowing limited sharing or lending of books.   Nook currently supports this and Amazon has announced that it will implement this feature in the future.   The sharing or lending of books is limited.   First, you can only lend a book once.   Second, the lending period is only for 14 days.   Third, the person to whom you lend the book can only read the book by using the same software as you: Kindle, nook, Kobo, etc.

Another way to share books is to share the same account.   Nooks and Kindles can be hooked up to the same account although there are some drawbacks.   More on sharing here.

5. Where can I find the free classics?

There is a lot of talk about free books and where to get them.   The classics such as plays by Shakespeare, books by Jane Austen, and book club picks like Dickens can be downloaded for free at places like Project Gutenberg, Feedbooks, and manybooks.

Retailers like Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Kobo also give away promotional freebies.   This is a link to the Amazon Kindle promotional freebies.   Promotional freebies generally are time sensitive so download them while you can.

Dear Author posts the monthly specials that they know of but there are three good sources for the publisher promotions:   MobileReads “Deals, Freebies, and Resources” forum; Books on the Knob blog; Kindle Besteller list (broken into free and paid).

6. What is the difference between 3G and wifi and should I have gotten the other one?

This was a matter of great debate amongst family   members.   There is about a $50 price difference between the 3G and wifi.   The benefit of the 3G is that you can access the internet anywhere there is cell service and thus buy books anywhere.   You do not need to be on a wifi hotspot or at home with wifi access.   Whether that is worth $50 more is a personal preference.

Let me know if you have other questions in the comments.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Tweets that mention NewPost: How Do I Use My New Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony, or iPad? --
    Dec 26, 2010 @ 05:53:31

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Has. Has said: RT @dearauthor: NewPost: How Do I Use My New Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony, or iPad? […]

  2. Statch
    Dec 26, 2010 @ 08:43:19

    Great post, as always! For the new ereader: After a while you’ll start wondering how to organize your ebooks. You may also find free ebooks that aren’t in your device’s format and wonder if you can convert them. The answer: Calibre. It’s free ebook library organizing and format conversion software, plus much more. (Go for more information.)

    You can find more information on Calibre and many other ebook topics in the Mobileread forums ( There’s a forum for each device.

  3. Barbara
    Dec 26, 2010 @ 10:31:01

    There are certain kinds of Secure eReader files you can’t get to work on a Kindle though. The PDB files can’t be converted, well, unless you’re far, far braver than I am.

    Fictionwise had a great sale this past weekend that I ended up buying books from that I’m going to have to torture myself reading from my computer.

    As always though, awesome tutorial, Jane. I have all of the other ones bookmarked. :) I think there will be quite the rush of people who found ereaders under the tree this year.

  4. Sarah W
    Dec 26, 2010 @ 11:58:06

    Ok, stupid Kindle question. I bought myself a kindle 3 3g for christmas, and a Kindle 2 for my dad on the black friday sale. It was interesting to see the differences between the two, but the one question I couldn’t tell my dad how to do was how do you delete a book from your kindle? I usually use calibre to manage my kindle when it is plugged in, but is there a way to delete from the device?

  5. Darlynne
    Dec 26, 2010 @ 12:13:53

    One of the things that has surprised me is how many people don’t know they can swipe a finger on the Nook touch pad to turn pages. Even armed with this knowledge, however, they can’t figure out how to do it. Or they can swipe successfully, until the Nook is inside a protective cover and then they’re stuck.

    *cough*Not that I had any similar problems.*cough*

    For anyone who is struggling, the video clip in the second comment of this B&N board discussion makes it all clear: Swiping, besides being kind of cool, also takes the strain off the fragile page-turn buttons on the frame.

  6. Jane
    Dec 26, 2010 @ 12:19:44

    @sarahw using the five way rocker, press the rocker to the left when the book you want to delete is underlined.

  7. @DogberryPages
    Dec 26, 2010 @ 14:57:50

    Great intro.
    I bought my wife a Nook for Christmas because she wanted to be able to read library books using their Overdrive service.

    Had to choose between Nook & Sony. Price won the day.

    She charged it up and had 2 books from the library loaded within minutes.

  8. library addict
    Dec 26, 2010 @ 16:12:46

    Many public domain books are also available at the Mobile Reads forum.

    The advantage with their site, is people have taken out the typos, scanning errors, etc and formatted the books for each type.

  9. DS
    Dec 26, 2010 @ 16:54:51

    I got my Entourage Edge (the 10.1″ red one). It’s more like a net book than either an e-reader or a tablet but it has the advantages of both. Weighs a touch over 3 lbs, has a camera, speakers, built in microphone. SD card slot and two USB ports. I can plug in either a usb keyboard or a blue tooth keyboard as long as it has a dongle.

    One side (right or left, you can change the orientation) is an eink reader based on a Wacom digitizer screen. There’s pdf/epub reader/journal/sketch capability on that side. There’s a special stylus that comes with the Edge that is needed for note taking and sketching. Buttons on the bezel control pages. Not as handy as a Kindle DX but about the same reading territory.

    The LCD screen side – Not Android 2.2 so can’t connect to market yet– can download and run lots of apps. I have the new Kindle app for Android installed to support magazines and comics. It also shows full page color representations of covers, which is great. I didn’t realize that I missed this until I had it back. I use a Pogo stylus on this side– has a spongy thing on the end. I think it is made for an iPad. I am surprised how clear my handwriting is on the paper app (MaplePaint).

    I either use an SD card to load books not in my Kindle library or dropbox– bless you Jane for drawing this to my attention.

    There’s an app for Youtube and a movie player app that will play most of my avi files. This is going to be great for work and I think it would be very handy for school. However, it’s not a great ereader for pleasure reading. Too heavy and a bit unwieldy even with the cover folded all the way back. I think I’ll stick to the Kindle for that.

  10. LisaCharlotte
    Dec 26, 2010 @ 21:55:58

    I use the Kindle app for my multiple iThings. I just gave my mom a Kindle for Christmas. In the process of setting up her Kindle settings I finally figured out how to permanently delete books from my acct/archive. Move books from your iThing to the Archive. Go to Manage My Kindle page in My Account at Amazon. Scroll down to the list of your list of purchased books and from there you can permanently delete books.

  11. Jenyfer Matthews
    Dec 27, 2010 @ 01:25:31

    Great post – I’m still wavering on which reader to get because I want one I can read in the dark. I’m leaning toward Nook Color, based on a post by Terry Odell on her blog, and it’s great to see that Nook has flexibility in shopping because that is of concern to me. Now I have to figure out if there are geographical restrictions – Kindle does not like me because I am in Egypt (even for my own books!)

  12. ronjaraeuber
    Dec 27, 2010 @ 17:17:23

    Thanks for the article. I hope the German market on ebook-readers will improve in 2011…

  13. allison
    Dec 28, 2010 @ 22:47:57

    I just got a Kindle for Christmas and, as this is my first eReader, I’ve only ever bought .pdf files.

    It was super easy to get them uploaded to my Kindle. All I did was email my free Kindle email address with “convert” as the subject and the file attached. Voila, downloaded and converted to Kindle format for me to read!

    The only complaint I have about that method is that it changes the author on the main listing to my email address rather than the actual author.

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  16. Johnnie Nichols
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 13:14:53

    I want to buy a Kindle or a Nook because I spend a fortune on Books! But I don’t know anything about them do I have to buy a card or something like with ATT or someone else? Or is it a service in it self?

  17. Jane
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 13:46:54

    @Johnnie Nichols: If you get the versions of the nook or Kindle that have “3G” access, the internet connectivity is free with no additional need for a card or a cell phone place. Both devices have a wifi only version and that would require a cellular hotspot to always be able to connect to the internet. I hope that helps.

  18. Shir
    Jun 05, 2011 @ 16:15:11

    i’m not sure if you’d be able to help or answer my question. i’m interested in purchasing a kindle wi-fi for my sis-in-law who is in the philippines. would she still be able to download books even if it’s just a wi-fi or do i need to buy the 3g+wi-fi so she can be able to download the books? sorry don’t know much about kindle. thanks for your help…have a nice day.

  19. Jane
    Jun 05, 2011 @ 18:03:32

    @shir – she can download books with the wifi but some of the books might be not be available in her region. She can also side load books which means she can plugin the kindle into her computer and transfer books via the USB cord.

  20. Gina
    Oct 08, 2011 @ 12:09:42

    How do I read my nook books on my iPad?

  21. Jane
    Oct 08, 2011 @ 12:11:42

    @Gina. Download the nook app from the AppStore

  22. Gina
    Oct 08, 2011 @ 14:05:20

    I did but it says unable to download when I try to download a book.

  23. Jane
    Oct 08, 2011 @ 14:26:43

    @Gina – what kind of book is it? Some multimedia books like the children’s books or magazines bought via nook can only be read on the nook color.

  24. Gina
    Oct 08, 2011 @ 15:07:48

    Just a regular book.

  25. nonhlanhla
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 13:31:59

    I love reading books,but now I want to know the difference between ereader & they work

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