Instructions for Side-loading ePub and Kindle Books

Most people only know how to buy a book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or iTunes and it just magically shows up on their reading device. But you can manually install e-books to your device. It's called side-loading.

Basically, you will need to download the file to your computer, connect your device with a USB cable, and drag the file to your device's books or documents folder.

Kindle readers use MOBI files. Every other reader uses ePub files.

Kindle Instructions:

if you are not buying a book from the amazon store, you have to:

  • save the file to your hard drive on your desktop/laptop
  • connect the kindle with the usb cable
  • open the finder/filemanager/windows explorer (the thing that lists drives and folders)
  • you'll see a new device on the left called SDCARD or something like that
  • inside the SDCARD device there is a /my files/documents folder
  • copy the file in there

Then when you go to your Docs section on the kindle, you should see it. If you don't, then see the Calibre section below.

ePub Instructions


  • download the epub file to your computer
  • open iTunes and click File, Open and go add the epub to your itunes
  • go to your Books section and you'll see it there
  • connect your iPad, click the iPad device name on the left, then the Books section of the iPad and make sure the book you just added is checked to be included when syncing. (You can check a box that says always do all books)
  • Sync your device and it will copy the book to your device

Nook, Kobo, etc

  • download the epub file to your computer
  • connect your Nook with USB cable (you should see a new "drive" or "device" called "MyNookColor" or something like that. If you have an sdcard in your Nook, you'll see an SDCARD item also
  • copy the epub file to MyNookColor/my files/books folder

Using Calibre

We highly recommend using Calibre. It's an application that lets you manage your books, convert between epub and mobi formats and copies your books to your device.

Using Calibre,

  • add the mobi file or epub file to your Calibre library,
  • click "E" to edit details about the book like title, author, cover
  • then click the "C" key to convert the file between mobi and epub
  • I've had issues with mobi files not showing up after copying them manually to the Kindle Fire. If this happens, use Calibre and convert it from mobi to mobi. It adds something that will make the book visible on your device.
  • then have Calibre copy the book to your device. It knows where to put the books on any device and even gives you the option to put it in "main memory" or the "sdcard"