How to Load Downloaded Books Onto Your E-Reader

We all know how much corporate control of the internet sucks. And how much corporate control of art sucks. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to support DIY artists.

Pretty much everyone knows about Bandcamp to support indie musicians, but where do you go to support authors working outside of Big-5 publishing? Well, you can certainly buy their books from Amazon, but the best way to support independent artists is to buy directly from them. This is true for folks like me who have, for practical or political reasons, rejected the big retailers, but perhaps even more true for small presses, where the difference between making roughly 70 % (check out this page to see how difficult it is to calculate how much you’re going to make from the sale of an ebook on Amazon) and making roughly 100% is the difference between staying in business and going under.

Small magazines have been especially hard-hit by Amazon’s doing away with Kindle subscriptions and switching them all to Kindle Unlimited. It’s much better to buy your electronic version directly from them or from Weightless Books, where you can get Lightspeed, Nightmare, Clarkesworld, Interzone, and more.

(Here’s a handy list of lots of places where you can buy ebooks directly from the author or publisher! Libreture, the site that hosts the list, also offers lots of free cloud storage for your ebooks!)

Now, you may prefer reading paper. And that’s cool! But if you eschew ebooks altogether, you’re missing out on a whole world of cool interesting stuff you could be reading. It’s okay to use both!

But it’s come to my attention that a lot of folks who own Kindle or Kobo readers, or even folks who use those apps to read ebooks on their tablets or phones, don’t know how to move books you purchase from places other than Amazon or Rakuten to your e-reader. Good news! I’m here to help! Below please find a guide to how to do this on just about any device you can read a book on!


UPDATE: The easiest way, probably, is to go to and just drag and drop the files and have them zip into your Kindle automagically!

But if you prefer to email your docs, see below!

This one’s the easiest to do once you get past the setup, which is not hard, but requires a bunch of clicks. Ready? Here we go!

On Amazon, go to Account & Lists. It’s at the top right next to your shopping cart. Click on Digital Devices & Device Support. Then click on Manage Content & Devices. This will bring up a page with all the stuff you’ve bought digitally. At the top of the page, 2 away from where Content is highlighted, click on Preferences. (We’re almost there!) Scroll down to Personal Document Settings and click on it. This will reveal your Kindle’s email address. Also check your Approved personal document email list. If your personal email, not your kindle email, doesn’t appear there, add it. (Your kindle can only get email from addresses you enter—this is to stop people from spamming you with nonconsensual ebooks).

Okay. The setup is complete. Now whenever you have an ebook you want to add to your kindle, just attach it to an email to your kindle email! (Some places like Humble Bundle, Weightless, and NetGalley will deliver straight to your kindle using this address. As long as you add them to your approved senders list.)

Nook and Kobo

This is also spectacularly easy—it just requires a cable. Plug your charging cable into your device. Plug the other end into your computer. Your ereader will appear as a destination. Drag and drop your ebook files into your device and eject it when you’re done!

Boox and Bigme

Both of these e-readers have an app with an easy-to-figure-out name. (It’s called BooxDrop on my Boox Nova). Open the app and it’ll give you URL. Enter that url into your computer’s browser (as long as they’re on the same wifi network) and a very easy, intuitive web-based interface will come up that allows you to transfer files from your computer to your reader over wifi!

Of course, you could just use the browser to navigate to the site and download it directly to your device, but I very much do not recommend web browsing on an e-ink screen. (Go ahead and try it if you’re nostalgic for the days of dialup internet!)

iPads and Android Tablets

On tablets with non-e-ink screens, the easiest thing to do is just go to the website you want to buy from and download directly to your device. Then you can use the built-in books app or download another one from your app store! Just search for “epub reader” and download the app of your choice!

A word about PDFs

Reading a PDF is probably okay on a full-sized iPad screen, but it sucks a lot on anything smaller. If you’ve got a PDF you’d like to read on your reader, I recommend downloading Calibre (free for Macs, PCs, and Linux!) and using it to convert your PDFs to Epubs. It’s super easy!

Now that you know how to do it, go grab some books! Mine happen to be pay-what-you-want!