Ebooks for Beginners

First, you need to decide which ecosystem to invest in: Apple, Google, or Kindle. Once you decide, there's a section for each below. If you're already in one of these, I'd recommend sticking with it. If you're on the fence, I personally use and recommend the Google option because it's easy and ubiquitous.


And just FYI, EPUB is the open-source standard for ebooks. It's used by Apple and Google and pretty much everyone else. Amazon Kindle uses MOBI files. Just be sure you note the difference.

Now, if you get lost anywhere in this guide, please email me, and I'll try to help you out. Your questions will help me make this guide clearer for future readers. So thank you in advance for helping me.

-- J

📕 How to Read an Ebook on APPLE BOOKS

This first option shows you how to read an ebook on your iPhone, iPad, or even on your MacBook. And your notes and reading position will synchronize between devices!

STEP 1. Download the .EPUB

If you sign up for The INFORMANT, I'll send you a free EPUB of HIGH ADVENTURE. One way or another, you'll need to download an EPUB to get started. The process may be easiest to follow on your iPhone (but you could also do it on your MacBook, and the two will sync). In your mobile browser, find the link to DOWNLOAD THE EPUB file.

STEP 2. Open the .EPUB in Apple Books

It's pretty straightforward. It will take a second to upload the book to the cloud. And then you can start reading.

STEP 3. Read!

If you don't the app installed right now, you can get Apple Books here.

📘 How to Read an Ebook on GOOGLE PLAY BOOKS

I like the Google option because you can read your ebooks in any browser (PC and Mac) or on any phone or tablet (Android or Apple).

STEP 1. Download the .EPUB

If you sign up for The INFORMANT, I'll send you a free EPUB of HIGH ADVENTURE. And I think this process is easiest to do on a desktop browser. So pull out your laptop. Then find the .EPUB file, and download it to a place you can easily access. (I like to save stuff to my desktop.)

STEP 2. Upload the .EPUB to Google Play Books

Now go to https://play.google.com/books. In the top right, click UPLOAD FILES.

(By the way, you can also do this on your phone. Just tell it to open the .EPUB in your Google Play Books app.)

STEP 3. Read!

You can read the uploaded book on any phone or tablet or computer:

📒 How to Upload an Ebook to your KINDLE

This is definitely the most complicated of the three options.

To reiterate, you need a .MOBI file (not an EPUB). That's crucial.

Now, I'm not going to explain how to do it here because Amazon has a pretty good guide of their own. Unfortunately, they give you 5 different options, which in itself is its own kind of confusing. I prefer the Chrome extension option because you can do it from basically any computer. So that's my recommendation.

Here's Amazon's guide to uploading a Kindle book.

The cool thing about this option, though is that you can then download the Kindle app on most any device and read your books, which are stored and synced in the cloud:

🌱 Create and Manage Your Own Ebooks

If you're an advanced user, I wrote a guide for creating your own ebooks. It's pretty nerdy stuff, but if you want to curate your own library and change books covers and stuff like that, this'll get you started on how to do that.

🥺 How to Share Beta-reader Feedback

Some of you are lucky enough to be my official beta readers. If you are, here's how I want you to give feedback.

STEP 1. Install Google Play Books

Once you do, the book will magically appear in your library because I added you as a beta reader (it's a special power I have):

STEP 2. Turn on "Save Notes and Highlights in Google Drive."

Open the Google Play Books app on your phone, and then go to SETTINGS. In there, you'll find an option to "SAVE NOTES AND HIGHLIGHTS IN GOOGLE DRIVE." Turn this on. It means any highlights or comments you make while reading will go directly into a Google Doc, which will be automatically created. Now open the ebook, highlight something (at least 3 words), and then make a comment about it.

STEP 3. Share that notes Google Doc with me.

So it automatically created a Google Doc with your notes. So open up Google Drive on your Android phone, your iPhone or iPad, or on a computer. Next, find that automatically created doc. It should be titled "Notes from Starchild" (or whatever book of mine you're reading). Then SHARE THAT DOC with me.

STEP 4. Always highlight at least 3 words!

When I'm reading through your notes, it shows me whatever you've highlighted and whatever you've said. A lot of readers highlight one word like "the" and then tell me what's wrong or what's misspelled or whatever. But if it's just "the," it's basically impossible for me to find it in the manuscript. SO ALWAYS HIGHLIGHT AT LEAST THREE WORDS! That will make my life so much easier.

Here's a video that walks you through what I've explained above:

🔖 Are Paper Books Better than Ebooks?

Hey, I'm not saying you shouldn't keep your paper books. I even want you to buy my books in paper. But maybe ebooks deserve a fair shake...

Pros of a PAPER Book

  • You can tell how long the book is by its weight.

  • You can give it to your friend Julie by setting it in her hand.

  • The pages smell like paper--mmm.

  • If you're reading a classic, everyone can see how awesome you are (yes—you are).

  • You can smack your brother with it.

  • You can see the j pressed onto the microfibers of the page, and, when you hold the top of the page toward an open window on a Thursday morning, you can see a million tiny dimples in the paper's surface.

Pros of an EBOOK

  • An ebook costs less.

  • You always have your book with you because it fits in your pocket--I mean in your phone.

  • You can highlight your favorite quotes even when you're not carrying a pen. Boom.

  • You can carry an entire library in your handbag--just like Merlin in Sword in the Stone!

  • If you're reading a young-adult adventure novel, no one will know you're an escapist.

  • It's not heavy, so it's not hard to hold open with just your pinkie on the right side while you're lying on your back in bed.

  • Because the screen is illuminated, you can read in the dark (so you don't have to get up to turn out the lights when you're finished). This also enhances all monster scenes.

  • If you fall off a bridge and your pants and phone get swept downriver, you still won't lose your place because your book is synced with the cloud.

: )