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Read One Book On Multiple Devices

Tuesday, June 2, 2015
ebook, multiple devices, ePub, iOS, mobi, PDF

If you are like me, you chose to buy a Kindle or Nook e-reader instead of a tablet from a cell phone service provider. Maybe you got an e-reader as a gift, or maybe you couldn't afford to buy a tablet with all of the bells and whistles that you really didn't want or need. Maybe you have a Kindle and a Nook, but you may prefer one over the other.

Before we begin, I would like to say that I am not offering these options as a means to illegally acquire ebooks. I am assuming that most of my readers are people that enjoy books, and have acquired the books that they are reading legally. I do not support the idea of piracy, nor do I support the notion that we must buy the same books that we acquired legally if we decide to change e-reading devices in the future.

Regardless of the reasons why you have a Kindle or Nook, or even both; you have probably figured out that you can't read Kindle books on a Nook and vice versa. This can be problematic if:
  1. You want to borrow ebooks from your local library
  2. You have both devices, but prefer one over the other
  3. The ebooks you want to buy are not available in a format that is compatible with your e-reader
  4. You want to access all of your ebooks on multiple devices
It is possible to read multiple formats on your Kindle or Nook; however, which option you choose depends on the reasons why you want to read an ebook that is incompatible with your e-reader. What I'm going to do is show you a few of the most popular options that are available to you.

This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a commission for any items that you purchase when you follow these links.

Overdrive

Overdrive is a program that local libraries use to allow its customers to borrow and return ebooks, audiobooks, and videos. This option is great if you only want to borrow items from your local library, and access those items using your Nook or Kindle. You can download this app for free at Amazon, or B&N.com.

If you want to read incompatible ebooks that you already own on your Kindle or Nook, Overdrive will not allow you to do this. 

App Stores

apps, mobile, e-readers

There are many free and low-cost e-reader apps on Google Play and Amazon's Appstore. This is good news for Nook owners since you can access Google Play on your devices. This is not-so-great news for those of us with Kindle readers. The only way Kindle users can get their hands on these apps is:
  1. Root their Kindles and install Google Play.
  2. Install an apk downloader extension on their browsers to download the file from Google Play to their computers, and then transfer the file to their Kindles
  3. Find a third-party that offers the apk files so that you can install the app that you want.

If you are considering one of these options, and own a Kindle, you need to know:
  1. Rooting your Kindle will invalidate the warranty on it. 
  2. If you don't know what you are doing, rooting your Kindle you could change some stuff around that will make it difficult for you to use your Kindle in the future. 
  3. If you choose to install an apk downloader extension, you will need to enter your device's ID, email address, and the password you use to access your email account. 
  4. If you choose to download the apk file from a third party, you could be downloading viruses or malware to your device.
If you are a Kindle user, I really don't recommend the app store option. There are better, and safer, options available to you. 

Aldiko

mobile, Kindle, PDF, ePub

If you are a Nook owner, you might want to skip to the next section, because this app isn't for Nooks. 

Aldiko is perfect for Kindle users that want a simple app to read ePub and PDF files without having to fiddle with a bunch of different programs. The app's PDF reader is very similar to Adobe's PDF Reader; which is a plus for users that have problems learning new programs.

The app's simplicity is reflected in the number of formats that it is compatible with:
  • Unencrypted ePub
  • Adobe DRMed ePub
  • Unencrypted PDF
  • Adobe DRMed PDF
  • ACSM (for e-books from your local library)
Despite its simplicity, Aldiko has plenty of customization options that allow users to change the font and lighting in e-books, and it offers a decent variety of free ebooks that can be added to one's library.

 Above all else, it's pretty easy to get Aldiko on your Kindle:
  1. On your Kindle, go to "Settings," tap on "Applications," and then tap "ON" under "Apps from Unknown Sources."
  2. Go to Amazon's Appstore, download a free file explorer app, and install the app. I use ES File Explorer because I find it easy to use.
  3. Go to Aldiko.com and enter your email address in the box provided.
  4. Check your email on your Kindle, and follow the link provided in the email from Aldiko.
  5. Once Aldiko is finished downloading, install it by following the prompts.
You can also visit Aldiko's customer support page for more help, or to get instructions on how to install Aldiko on your Kindle using a computer and SD card.

If you want something that is compatible with more formats than Aldiko, you will want to take a look at what Calibre has to offer.

Calibre

desktop, ebook converter

For Kindle and Nook owners that want even more variety in ebook formats and customization options, Calibre is a good choice. If you have an iOS device, you already know that you can read ePub, PDF, and mobi files on your tablet; however, if you have a lot of ebooks in multiple formats, Calibre can help to manage your ebook library.

Calibre can convert ebooks that are not DRMed to an ebook format that is compatible with your e-reader. You can also choose how those converted books are delivered to your device: via email, USB connection to your computer, or you can access your library on-the-go with the Calibre Companion app. 

There are a few things to keep in mind with Calibre:

Calibre is a desktop program.

It is not an e-reader, so do not delete the e-reader software that you have on your device.

The only way to access your library from your device by downloading the Calibre Companion app for $3.99 from Google Play, or Amazon.

To convert DRMed content, you must install a plugin on your computer. I have installed the plugin, and it appears to be virus- and malware-free.

Email providers such as Hotmail and Gmail have been known to block emails from Calibre, so Calibre recommends that you signup for a free GMX e-mail account if you want ebooks that you have converted automatically sent to your device.

Calibre has some known issues when converting from PDF to another format. However, I use Calibre to convert PDF books that I am given to write reviews for to mobi format, and have not encountered a problem. While the formatting, such as line spacing, is a little off on the converted books, it is still easier to read the mobi version of the ebooks than it is to read the PDF counterparts on my Kindle.

Despite these problems, I think that Calibre is a good program with an awesome support team. The program looks a little intimidating at first, but Calibre's "Welcome Wizard" tutorial walks you through the basic setup process so that users can start adding and converting ebooks quickly.

Summary

Overdrive:
  • Available to Nook users on B&N.com, and Kindle users on Amazon
  • Allows library customers to borrow ebooks, audiobooks, and videos
  • App won't allow users to read books that they already own
mobile, Google Play, Amazon
App Stores
  • Google Play is available to Nook users. 
  • Kindle users will find that they cannot download these apps without taking some extreme measures.
Aldiko:
  • Perfect for Kindle users that just want to read ePub and PDF books on their devices. 
  • Easy to install and use.
  • Allows users to read DRM'ed books in mobi format.
Calibre:
    desktop, ebooks, library, converter
  • Great for users with multiple devices and a lot of ebooks in different formats.
  • The program looks intimidating, but users can start adding and converting books immediately.
  • The support team is incredibly good at helping users to figure out any problems. 
  • Users need a plugin to convert DRMed ebooks
  • For people on the go, Calibre offers a paid app on Google Play and Amazon, Calibre Companion, that allows its users to access their libraries online. 
  • To the best of my knowledge, the Calibre Companion app is not available for iOS devices.
Personally, I'm not comfortable with rooting my less-than-one-year-old Kindle, or giving my information to an unknown third party; however, you may be okay with that.

I've used both Aldiko and Calibre with good results. I like Aldiko's simplicity, but I prefer Calibre to read PDF books that I'm given to review. The option that you choose depends upon your device, your needs, and your level of expertise. 

If you would like to share any other useful e-reader apps for Kindle or Nook devices that allow you to read multiple formats, feel free to share these in the comments. Also, if you'd like discover some new books, subscribe to On My Kindle's weekly newsletter.

Best Wishes
Charity, On My Kindle





This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a commission for any items that you purchase when you follow these links.
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