TROUBLESHOOTING your e-books on computers AND e-readers

First, you need to know: what file format does your device use? E-books come in about 8 different file formats.

Computers need a software to display an e-book. These softwares are free or they are shareware (small donation requested but not required.) Use: Mobipocket Reader ( .mobi format); Calibre ( .epub format—AND has a converter to convert an epub or mobi file to any other file format you could want: what a bargain!) Or use Adobe Reader ( .pdf format).

Our downloads will be in .mobi, .epub, and .pdf. Via Calibre you can make them into anything your device needs.

A computer screen produces its own light. E-book readers, the Kindle, for example, have a screen that emulates paper—and produces no light.

A computer can read a variety of e-book formats, and its storage, is as large as you want it to be. The storage of an e-book reader is somewhat more limited. The Kindle II, for instance, holds up to 1500 books. Other readers have their own storage limits, some considerably less than that. But they are still more compact than a shelf full of books. And the Kindle downloads wherever you are, using something like cellphone technology, without the use of wires.

Phones are becoming e-readers, as well; as are Palms, and other devices.

You’ve heard of DRM. That’s a lock on the file that limits it to the device to which it was downloaded. Non-DRM files can easily be moved from device to device, and computer to computer. For that reason, the success of a store offering non-DRM depends on the honesty and integrity of its customers. People who like my books, thank goodness, tend to be honest and honorable, and I figure if you’re honest in what you offer, with a fair price, you’ll get honesty and fairness back.

On the left sidebar of this site is a section called E-BOOK READERS. Your computer can natively read PDF and so do many readers: the advantage of PDF is that it looks just the way the author wants it to. The disadvantage is that it can’t scale to help your eyesight. The advantage of mobi is that you can change fonts at will, change type size—or totally adjust the file to fit a subcompact size display like a phone screen.

If you are having trouble with a download or a reader, tell us, and either I or our very smart readership will figure out what to do.

1) getting a ‘mini’ file. These are .zip files and need to be unzipped: to do this– Step one: download to a computer. Step two: click on the file. [Your computer likely has an unzip program already, and it will respond by breaking open the .zip file and revealing files in all our formats…mobi,.epub, and .pdf. If you do not have an ‘unzip utility’ on your computer, look at and, and download a free utility. Once it is on your computer, it will work whenever you click on a .zip file.]

2) getting a file onto a device: some of these are from our very kind readers.
A) To read via your computer: choose .pdf. Click on the file. Your computer should have an Adobe pdf reader that responds to this and opens the file. If it doesn’t, download this free reader:; other options: (uses .epub); and the Kindle for PC download from Amazon (uses .mobi) (both are free).

B)Kindle. Open the zip on your computer as above to get the .mobi file. Plug the Kindle’s USB into your computer. Your computer will find the device as a drive: open your My Computer’ screen and just drag the .mobi file onto your Kindle and drop. It will now open like any other book.

D) C) Nook. Simplest choice: the .epub file, and this method gets the color covers.
1. Download and install Calibre from
2. Start the program, then add the .epub file you downloaded from Closed Circle into Calibre by using the drop down menu on the “Add Books” icon.
3. Plug your Nook into a USB port on your computer using the USB cable that came with the device. Calibre will recognize the Nook, and add a button in the tool bar labeled “Device”. Then you can transfer by clicking on the drop down arrow on the “Device” icon.

E) iPhone >go here for instruction, with screenshots:iphone

E) iPad: go here for instruction, with screenshots: Adding DRM-Free books to your iPad or iPhone

F) Nook Tablet: See: Nook instructions.

G) Android device. For my Android phone I’ve used two methods sucessfully:

[A] downloading to a PC and transferring to the phone from there (using drag-and-drop in Windows Explorer).

[B] downloading on the phone itself (i.e. if you use your phone to read the email containing the download link).

I use the free Aldiko Reader app on my Android phone, which seems really nice – you’ll find it in the Play store (there’s a paid version too but I’m not sure what the advantages are). For other readers the process of getting the book into the app once the file is on your phone may differ…

For [A] the process is:

1. Get the files onto your PC as explained in point 1) of the main post above

2. Connect the phone to the PC via USB cable, and ensure it’s connected in “Disk Drive” mode (not “Charge only”)

3. Locate the .epub file on your PC using Windows Explorer

4. Drag and drop (copy) the file to a suitable folder on your phone – I’d suggest the ‘download’ folder

5. Start the Aldiko app, tap ‘Files’ (you’ll see a list of folders on the phone), then tap whatever folder you copied the file into (e.g. the ‘download’ folder)

6. You should see your .epub file there – tap to select it, then tap the ‘Import to Aldiko’ button that appears

7. Use the Back button to get back to the main menu in Aldiko, and your book will be there!

And for [B]:

1. Download the ZIP file on your Android phone (note, on my phone all downloaded files are saved to the ‘download’ folder by default, but I’m not sure if this is the same on all Android devices)

2. Go to ‘Downloads’ (you can find it in the All Apps list)

3. Tap the ZIP file to open it (you’ll see all the files that are inside)

4. Select ‘Extract All’ from the phone’s Menu button (the button on the phone itself, just next to the actual touch screen) *For those who care to know such things, the unzipped files end up in the ‘download’ folder alongside the ZIP file, but it’s not apparent – you just have to trust that they’re there*

5. Start the Aldiko app, tap ‘Files’ (you’ll see a list of folders on the phone), then tap the ‘download’ folder

6. From there, depending on how the ZIP file is structured, just tap through the folders until you find the .epub file, tap to select it, then tap the ‘Import to Aldiko’ button that appears

7. Use the Back button to get back to the main menu in Aldiko, and your book will be there!

G) Kobo. The Kobo Touch reader should work like Nook with Calibre, though I haven’t tried it.

HOWEVER, it can also work like this:

1. Download the file from the Closed Circle purchase link as a .epub.

2. Plug in your Kobo Reader via the USB cable and allow it to be recognized as a USB drive. (Press Connect on the Kobo when it gives you the “computer connected” dialogue box.)

3. Copy the .epub file to the USB drive representing the Kobo.

4. Properly “eject” the Kobo reader so that the file is truly written.

5. Unplug the Kobo reader. It should automatically recognize the .epub and add it to the front page as a new library entry.

This I did on Linux for the new Deliberations I just bought nary a few minutes ago. It should work very similarly on Windows. I don’t know enough about Mac to say. I suspect this process would also work on Nook: they are very similar devices.


  1. Retreever

    Just bought a Acer A100 tablet – Android OS – downloaded Android reader app from but it won’t unlock any books. eReader support says it’s a known bug but they have no visibility to a fix. Really PO’ed,I bought the tablet because I like reading in bed and the laptop is too clunky. Anyone have any suggestions?

  2. mindyleigh

    Can the ebooks be downloaded directly to nook tablet. I know baen books can

    • CJ

      Maybe: we have ePub as a format: I think that works. If it is a computer, it definitely can download them. If it isn’t, then just download to your computer, unzip, and use a usb or wireless connection to drag the item just as you would something on another drive. Drop it into the proper directory you’re good. If any of our other members have the tablet, chime in!

  3. dhawktx

    Retreever: I use the free e-reader Aldiko on my Generic Android tablet AND my Android HTC Glacier cell phone. It’s a great app that lets you customize your viewing in many ways, including reversing the background and text colors (Day/Night) and separately controlling the brightness, so that you don’t have to make a global change when you’re just reading a chapter or two before you nod off.

    Let me know if it gives you any troubles!

  4. irene

    Reader beware – Antipodean whinge alert:
    I would like to buy Protector as an ebook. I have a hardback copy, but for convenience (standing on trains during my commute makes reading a largish book awkward and consequently it’s taking me ages to get to the end, grr!!!) I would like to purchase the electronic version also, however it appears that as I live in the wrong part of the world, AKA Australia, this is still not possible. Can anyone suggest an Australian source?
    I can purchase a US import hardback copy, but not an ebook. Authors are still losing out with these ridiculous geographical restrictions, it’s been years now and nothing’s seems to be changing.

  5. CJ

    I wish! And I know something of Australian book woes? Does Amazon UK have any help for you, and do they have my e-books?

    • irene

      Unfortunately none of the Foreigner books are visible to me on Amazon UK, though chances are they are to other buyers. Australia’s pretty much a dead zone in regards to availability from elsewhere, and even sites based here have a limited range and are fiendish expensive, sigh.
      It must frustrate authors as much as us readers. Thank you guys so much for setting up Closed Circle, I can appreciate it must take a lot of effort to run.

  6. CJ

    And WE sell to Australia, with no problem. I wish I could offer you the Foreigner ones.

    • irene

      Yes, your ability to do so is appreciated! Please don’t think I was angling for a copy. For what it will be worth, I’ll have a whinge to Penguin Australia, but odds are they won’t even reply.

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