Even I’m shocked at how easy it is to self-publish yourself today. A couple of weeks ago, I had in my metaphorical hands on a final version (hah! — what I thought was a final version) of my eBook and thought “great, now I can set a date for my book’s release!”. This decided, I uploaded a Word document (formatted as needed) onto my chosen vendor sites, added an image, filled out the various details — and then a few clicks later you could pre-order my first book.
Many of my potential readers, unfortunately, are family or friends who have never laid eyes on an eBook. These are the type of people who hear you’re publishing a book and want you to “sign a copy plz smiley face”. Except there’s no hardcopy and likely never will be.
My mother, bless her, wants to support my book-writing endeavours. But she doesn’t own an eReader and told me she’ll buy the file and that’ll be that. It’s monetary support, I should be delighted — but it got me thinking about all the others in my network who will do the same thing. They might want to read the book and then tell me through gritted teeth how much they absolutely adored it, but they don’t know how to read an eBook.
So. If your nephew/daughter/significant other/friend has published a book online and you don’t want to see the death of hope in their eyes as you keep saying “not yet, not yet, but I will get to it”, here is your guide. (Well, unless you have no intention of reading it in the first place. Shhh.)
Do you have an ebook reader already?
If you have a Kindle (Amazon) or a Kobo or a Nook (Barnes & Noble) and your friend has published on the site your device corresponds to — hurray! Just go to those websites and/or apps and buy the book. You can load the eBook onto your device and go your merry way.
Do you have a computer?
To read the eBook you bought on Amazon, download Kindle for your PC.
To read an Amazon file on your Mac, download this version of Kindle.
Similar options exist for Kobo (download here). So if you do buy an eBook from a vendor who also has a program that lets you read the file, it's a no brainer as to whose software you need to download. Look around their websites.
To read an EPUB (book file) on your PC (one you got from somewhere like Smashwords or you know is DRM-free) — double click the file. It should open up in your browser (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome), but if not, right click on the file and go to “open with”. Once you click that, you can choose your browser to open it.
To read the same EPUB file on a Mac — good news! You have iBooks already! (Or should; check the app store for it if you lack it). Double click on your downloaded file and it will open for you. If not, do the usual “right click” and “open with”.
If these don’t work, you can download the free software Calibre (for Mac or PC) to read the EPUB you’ve bought, so long as it doesn't have DRM.
Do you have a smartphone/tablet?
Some ebook vendors have free e-reader apps so you can read your ebook on the fly. If you have an Android phone, use the Google Play Store to find and download the free apps for vendors like Kindle, Kobo and Barnes & Noble (if you've bought the book through them). For iPhones, check your app store.
If your EPUB ebook didn't come from the aforementioned vendors and you have a Samsung/Andoid device:
Go to Google Play then download and install Google Play Books. This is a free app that lets you read non-DRM EPUB files on your phone. The process of getting your file onto your phone is explained here. Usually you can email it to yourself and download the attachment.
Another app from the Google Play Store which may help you read EPUBs on your Android device can be found here.
Download the app iBooks. Add the EPUB into your iTunes on your computer and sync this to your phone. Don't know how to do this? Read about it here.
Too complicated? Get this free program for your iPhone or iPad. Get your book on your phone by downloading it (eg. you can email the file to yourself as above [so long as it's DRM-free]).
This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a starting point. If in doubt about anything, Google it. ;)
And, because I am a terrible human being, I will use this moment to pimp my eBook (space opera! romance! gods!), which will be released on October 20, 2017. Find pre-order links here.
Alyce Caswell is an aspiring writer who apparently lost her mind, threw away a steady job as an office junior and entered the realm of imagination.
She has blamed her accomplice and husband for giving her this most excellent opportunity.
Alyce has written articles, poems, short stories, books
and several embarrassing blogs. She hopes this venture will avoid the usage of cat gifs.
Links of Interest
A Rambling Rover
Alyce's travel blog which features various castles, stone circles and bemused musings about the Northern Hemisphere.