Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Sunday, December 30, 2007

E-Books and E-Book Readers

There has been a lot of news in the press lately about the current crop of e-book readers, such as the Sony Reader and's new Kindle. Since I have a book published (and will soon have two) in both an e-book and traditional print versions, I'm often asked if my book(s) can be read on such devices.

My fans will be relieved to know that the answer is a resounding Yes. At the moment, many smaller publishers like The Wild Rose Press, Ellora's Cave/Cerridwen Press, and others, may not have e-books in the Sony and Amazon Kindle stores, but readers can purchase their e-books as they always have directly from the publishers and sites like FictionWise. I believe many of the smaller presses are working to get their e-books into the Sony and Kindle stores, but that is not necessary for readers to enjoy their favorite e-books or other materials they need to read.

Most e-books purchased outside the Sony/Kindle stores are easily converted and transferred to e-book devices including's new Kindle and Sony's e-book reader.

A few extra steps may be needed to transfer your favorite books, however, you do have an additional benefit you may not be aware of. E-books from most publishers like The Wild Rose Press and Cerridwen Press/Ellora's Cave are not DRM-protected as are e-books purchased directly from the Kindle or Sony store. This means you can transfer books to whichever reading device you chose, and more importantly, you can back them up as needed. You are in complete control. When you acquire a new computer, you can transfer them just like any other file. In the future, if you decided to switch from Sony's device to the Kindle, vice versa, or even get an unknown future e-book device, you could still transfer and read your e-books.

So if you were one of the lucky ones to get a Kindle or Sony e-book Reader, here are a few tips to help you make your favorite e-books available on your new reader.


The Kindle uses a proprietary format (.azw) so you will need to convert your e-books. There are two ways to do this: a free way and a cheap way. You can convert e-books that are purchased in either MS Word format (.doc) or HTML. You can get the following types of files (or e-books in these formats) converted by either method listed below:

Microsoft Word, HTML, TXT, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PRC and MOBI files.

Special Note: .PDF (Adobe Acrobat) files are listed as an "experimental" format. Most readers find it best simply to download the MobiPocket Creator program (a free program) which will convert .PDF e-books to the MobiPocket (.PRC or .mobi) format. Once converted, you can transfer them directly to your Kindle from your computer through the USB cable. You do not need to take any additional steps if you use this method to convert and move e-books to your Kindle.

Free Way

You can e-mail the e-book to Replace yourname with your username, as defined when you got your Kindle and set up your Kindle account.

The file is converted to the Kindle .azw format and is sent back to you, through the e-mail address you registered for your Amazon account. You save the file on your computer. Once there, you transfer the file to your Kindle via the USB cable.

Note: You can transfer .TXT, MobiPocket (.prc or .mobi), .AZW, .AUD, and .MP3 files directly to the Kindle without e-mailing them for conversion. Just copy them from your computer to your Kindle through the USB cable.

When the Kindle is connected to your computer via the USB cable, it shows up as another hard drive in Windows Explorer. Just drag & drop the files into the Book folder of the Kindle.

Cheap Way

The cheap way to convert and move e-books to your Kindle costs $.10 per e-book. The advantage of this method over the free way is that the converted e-book is sent directly to your Kindle library where you can access it without connecting to your computer.

You e-mail the e-book to be converted to Replace yourname with your username, as defined when you got your Kindle and set up your Kindle account.

Sony Reader

The Reader supports .JPEG, .PNG, .PDF, .TXT, .RTF formatted e-books. It has an application, "CONNECT Reader," that can convert MS Word (.DOC) e-books to .RTF before copying them to the Reader from your computer. In most cases, you should use the "CONNECT Reader" software to transfer supported files to your Reader.

The text size for .PDF e-books transferred to the Reader is considered small by some readers, but if you hold down the <Size> button for five second, it will rotate the screen, which is a tremendous help.

In addition, you can purchase your e-books in HTML format and convert the e-book to .RTF, which would allow you to enlarge the font as you would with any other document on your Reader.

Hope this helps a few of you who were blessed with new electronic toys. As soon as I can save up enough money, I'm going to bless myself. J

May you achieve every success and dream,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that I got a Sony Reader for my birthday and I love it.

One thing to let you know, you can also use .TXT files on either unit, which is great for reading classics, as you can usually find free versions in text format for books that are out of copyright.