What's an ePub?
An ePub is a type of e-book.
With most e-books, such as Amazon's Kindle books, iBooks from Apple or even books from Kobo, you never usually have to worry about what format they're in. They just appear on your e-reader, mobile app or tablet after you've bought them.
But, if you buy e-books from independent or niche shops and need to move them to your reading device, you'll need to know what format to use. Many of these shops will provide a selection of files with every purchase, others will ask you to choose one particular format.
When choosing what format to buy from an e-bookshop, you'll usually have a choice between ePub or Mobi.
- If you have a Kindle, choose the Mobi format.
As well as its own Amazon-only format, the Kindle can also display Mobi files.
- If you have any other reading device, choose ePub.
Almost every e-reader and e-book app, other than Kindle, can display ePub files.
About the ePub format
DRM, or Digital Rights Management, is a way of locking an e-book to only work on a particular device.
The main reason given by publishers is to protect against piracy. This may sound quite innocent and sensible, but does raise a number of consumer rights issues.
If you've bought a number of DRM'd e-books for a particular device, such as a Kindle, you can't take those books with you if you decide to switch to another device, such as Kobo. The books you have already bought are locked to the Kindle. You will have to buy new copies of each book to read on your Kobo. In effect, you don't really own e-books locked with DRM - you only licence them.
Fortunately, not all e-books are locked with DRM. Many publishers and authors choose to sell e-books that are DRM-free. With DRM-free e-books, no matter what device you choose to use, you'll always be able to read the books you have bought.
There are a number of online bookshops that sell DRM-free e-books. You can find a list of them here:
How do I read e-books?
You can read e-books on a huge variety of devices.
First, you need to get your ePub or Mobi file on to the device you want to read it on. This usually involves connecting your device to the computer you downloaded the book to, using an USB cable, and then moving the book file to the correct place on your device. E-reading devices vary, so here are some starting points for the most popular ePub ones:
Next, you'll need some software to open and display the book. If you're using a dedicated e-reader, like a Kindle, Kobo, Nook or Sony Reader, you'll able to read your book immediately. Otherwise, you'll need to find some suitable software.
Here is an extensive list of software to suit whatever device you may be using:
Where can I store my e-books?
Now that you have the actual files for your e-books, you need to keep them safe.
You can keep them on your reading device, on your computer, or backed up on an external hard drive or USB stick. You might even decide to store them online, such as on Dropbox or Google Drive.
Another option is a paid service we've developed, called Libreture.
Libreture is the personal e-book library for hardcore readers.
Upload your DRM-free e-books, organise your reading lists, and discover great new titles.
Specially designed to support DRM-free e-books, Libreture keeps your books safe, lets you arrange them into reading lists, and download them directly to your reading device whenever you like. You can also use it to keep track of where you bought each book, and even share that information with others.
More about Libreture