Category Archives: Tutorials

A TheDustyBlog Guide to Sideloading

So, you have some ebooks that aren’t tied to one of the big ebook retailers out there. Maybe you got an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) of a book from TheCheapEbook. Or maybe you bought a book from Smashwords. In any case, here is a – hopefully – helpful guide to get those files to your Android or iOS device of choice for eyeball consumption.

Just click the type of file you have under the type of device you have.

Android (Phone/Tablet)

.mobi & .pdf  – Using the Kindle app to sideload .mobi and .pdf files to your Android device is as simple as email!

.epub (cloud storage) – I use Dropbox to get sideloaded epub files to my Android device. Here’s my process.

.epub (offline) – Not everyone wants to mess with online services. Here’s how to sideload an epub using just your PC and Android device.

.pdf – We’re going to use Dropbox to sideload a PDF file to your Android device.

.pdf (offline) – So you want to move your PDF file without Dropbox? Why? Doesn’t matter. I’ll help.

iOS (iPhone/iPad)

.mobi & .pdf – Using the Kindle app to sideload .mobi and .pdf files to your iOS device is as simple as email!

.epub & pdf – Dropbox and iBooks combine to bring us sideloaded .epubs and .pdfs.

iOS: Sideloading .epub & .pdf files

There are a number of iOS apps that read .epub and .pdf files but the ways to get them to your iOS device are limited. So I’ll show you how I sideload books to my iPhone and iPad and you can decide if you like the process enough to adopt it for yourself.

Pre-requisite: iBooks installed on your iOS device.

If you are immediately intimidated by the length of this tutorial, please scroll down to “In conclusion” and read that. MOST of this is a one time deal, never to require repeating. Believe me, it’s worth it.

Step One – On PC: Creating a Dropbox account

This process requires a Dropbox account, but if you have SugarSync or Box.net or any other application that will allow you to access remote files on your iOS device then you should be good. If you already have this setup on your iOS device, skip to Step Three.

Alright, glad you’re still here with me. First things first, we need to get you a Dropbox account. Dropbox is basically a software that grants you some web storage and has a client for your PC/Phone and Tablet which will allow you to put a file in once place and access it everywhere. Cloud storage can be awesome, yes?

So go sign up for a Dropbox account via this link: http://db.tt/orat4UXk
Note: This is a referral link but you and I will both benefit from it. We both get extra storage. It’s not a monetary thing.

It will walk you through the process of the sign up and installation of the desktop client. I highly recommend the desktop client piece, it will make future book sideloading a breeze.

Step Two – On iOS: Install Dropbox

This is really just as easy as going to the App Store and downloading the free app. [ Link here ]

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Launch the app and login with your Dropbox credential. Things will be a little bare but we’ll remedy that soon enough.

Step Three – On PC: Place the .epub or .pdf file in Dropbox

If you installed the Dropbox desktop client, you now have a folder on your computer called Dropbox. If you can’t find it, you can right click on the Dropbox icon in the bottom right hand corner of your screen next to the clock.

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Next step is to move the .epub or .pdf file that you want to sideload to the Dropbox folder. I’m going to move a book called Arena Mode by Blake Northcott over. Since I helped fund the project via Kickstarter, I got DRM-free copies of her new book in multiple formats.

I created a folder in Dropbox called aBookTutorial, but you can call it whatever you want or skip folders all together. It’s up to you. I created a folder and store my ebooks there. I downloaded the epub and pdf file from her website via a link I was sent. You could have gotten the .epub or .pdf file from just about anywhere. It doesn’t really matter how you got the file, drop it into your Dropbox folder. Wherever you want to.

FYI – Here is what my folder looks like on my desktop

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Dropbox will then shoot those files up into the cloud. It may take a few minutes (or longer, if your book is particularly large.)

Step 4 – On iOS: Confirm File Sync in Dropbox

Now we’re going to confirm that our files are syncing up. If you see the folders and files you’ve created, then you are good. We’ll move onto Step 5. Below is what my Android device looks like after I performed Step 3 above.

After I’ve logged into my Dropbox app, I see this

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When I click into it I see this

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Step 5 – On iOS: Sideload .epub or .pdf into iBooks

There are a number of apps in the App Store that will open .epub or .pdf and luckily you’ll get prompted to open these files in the application of your choosing. Here’s how.

5a. epubs:

When I select the arena-mode.epub with a press I see a graphic with text that reads: Unable to view file. This file type can’t be viewed. That’s okay.

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What you are going to do instead is click the icon in the bottom right hand corner that looks like you’re putting something into a box. This icon here:

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When you press that icon, a new menu is going to shift up from the bottom. It is going to list the apps on your iOS device that support the .epub extension. Choose Open in iBooks. Alternatively, you can select whichever app you prefer, maybe you like the NOOK application. That’s fine too. For the sake of my tutorial, I chose iBooks.

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iBooks will launch with your epub loaded into it. Read. Enjoy.

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5b. pdfs:

PDFs are a little different because the Dropbox app has support for them but we can still sideload our .pdf file into iBooks.

When I select the Arena Mode .pdf in Dropbox it loads in app.

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This is hardly desirable since Dropbox isn’t necessarily meant for eReading. However, there is an icon in the bottom right hand corner that looks like an arrow pointing into a box.

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When you press that a menu will sweep up from the bottom. Choose Open In…

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This will bring up a menu similar to what you saw when sideloading epubs. A list of applications capable of reading .pdf files will popup. Chose the application you want. I am going to choose Open in iBooks.

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Here you see Arena Mode in iBooks.

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To switch between your epubs and PDF’s simply press the middle button that says PDFs. It will change to Books. Press it again to switch it back to PDFs.

That’s all there is too it.

In conclusion

If you aren’t familiar with Dropbox or cloud storage in general you may be looking at this tutorial and thinking ‘there is no way I am going to do that everytime’ but the work is already done. From now on all you have to do is copy your epub or PDF file into the Dropbox folder of your choice, wait for it to show up in the Dropbox app on your iOS device, tap the file and enjoy. In a nutshell, you do Step 3 and Step 5. That’s it. Easy-peasy. You got this.

Optional Final Step

Please consider making a donation for my efforts in bringing you this tutorial.

If not PayPal, I sure wouldn’t hate a Kindle Gift Card. If you’d rather gift a book so that I don’t use that gift card on coffee or electronics, here is a link to my Amazon Gift Registry. Ignore the big ticket items, this is also where I keep my Christmas/Birthday wishlist. =)

iOS: Sideloading .mobi & .pdf files

There really is one dead simple way of getting .mobi and .pdf files to your iOS tablet or smartphone for reading consumption and that is emailing it to your Kindle’s email address. Yes, it really does have its own email address.

Step 1a – Finding your Kindle apps email address in the Kindle app

The iOS Kindle App opens to the “All Items” screen. In the bottom right hand corner is a grey cog. Tap that to enter settings.

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In settings, you’ll find an option that reads Send-to-Kindle Email Address. That is the email address of your kindle app. You can send an email with a .mobi or .pdf file as an attachment to that email address and the file will side load itself.

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Don’t worry. Your email address will be legible. I just couldn’t risk having all the spam bots sending free advertising to my Kindle app. =)

Step 1b – Finding your Kindle apps email address on Amazon.com

Go to Amazon.com and login.

On the right-hand side of the page there is an option that says Hello (yournamehere), Your Account. If you hover over your name a dropdown menu will appear and one of the options on it is Manage your Kindle. Click that link.

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You may be prompted to login to your Amazon account again, if so log in.

On the left hand side there will be a submenu titled Your Kindle Account and a clickable link titled Manage Your Devices. Click Manage Your Devices.

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On that page you’ll see a orange header that reads Registered Kindle Reading Apps along with a list of all devices you have the Kindle app installed on. It’ll also have that device’s email address.

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Step 2 – Email the .mobi or .pdf file to your Kindle app.

This part is pretty easy, basically take the .mobi or .pdf file add it to an email as an attachment and email your Kindle’s email address. If the .mobi or .pdf file is in an email, you can save the file to your desktop (or wherever) and attach it to an email. If it’s already in an email, you could just try forwarding it to your Kindle’s email address. I haven’t tried this last one, but it won’t hurt you to try it yourself.

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Again, I hid my Kindle apps email address but the most important thing for you to notice is that I attached a .mobi file. My file showed up almost instantly, but if it doesn’t. I would give it a minute or two. Anymore than two minutes and I may suspect something happened. The same cannot be said for a .pdf file though.

Note: The .pdf file I emailed took hours to show up. I don’t know if this was just a case of Kindle servers hiccupping or maybe Amazon screens the .pdf files for harmful components. In any case, you can email .pdf files but it may take a while to show up. You’d be better off sideloading via Dropbox.

In any case, in just moments you should be able to check your Kindle app for the title you just sent over. If the title doesn’t show up automagically on it’s own, try hitting that refresh icon in the top right hand corner next to the shopping cart.

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Viola! That’s all there is to it. You have now sideloaded a mobi or PDF file to the Kindle app.

In case you are wondering if I am going to answer the question I posed in the email to myself. I can’t see anywhere within the kindle app where any attention was paid to my email’s subject line or email content. The only thing my kindle app recognized was the .mobi attachment.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to use the comments section below.

Optional Step:

Please consider making a donation for my efforts in bringing you this tutorial.

If not PayPal, I sure wouldn’t hate a Kindle Gift Card. If you’d rather gift a book so that I don’t use that gift card on coffee or electronics, here is a link to my Amazon Gift Registry. Ignore the big ticket items, this is also where I keep my Christmas/Birthday wishlist. =)

Android: Sideloading PDF files (offline)

I figured I’d go ahead and document a way to sideload .PDF files to the Kindle app for those who don’t want to mess with cloud storage.

Pre-requisites:

Kindle app installed and previously launched on your Android device – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amazon.kindle

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Step 1 – On PC: Connect your Android device via USB

Plug your Android device into your PC. Ideally your PC will identify it with a drive letter. If not, your Android device may need you to place it in something called “Mass Storage Mode.” Android is sort of inconsistent with how to do this, so I will be unable to get too detailed here. All I can offer is the fact that most Android devices I’ve encountered have responded to being plugged into a USB port with a prompt to enter Mass Storage Mode, if they didn’t enter it automatically.

In my case, I’m using a Motorola Droid 4. I had to switch it to Mass Storage Mode manually. But the notification screen was very helpful in making that change. If you’re interested, here is a link to a post that shows what I had to do [ coming soon ].

My Android device identified itself as drive N. Yours could be almost anything. When I browsed to N, I got a large list of folders. Your list will very likely differ. In fact, you may have two drives – or more! – come up. What you’re looking for is a folder titled kindle.

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Step 2 – On PC: Place the PDF file in the Kindle folder

If you open that Kindle folder you may or may not find some files in that folder. Your folders may differ from mine but Kindle is the important folder. Just drop your file into that folder. Below is my N:\Kindle\ directory and I added the Testing.pdf. The Kindle app itself created the Testing.index file, so don’t worry about not having that. In any case, just drop your PDF there.

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Step 3 – On PC: Safely Remove your Android device.

There are a number of ways you can do this too. Basically we just want to “Eject” the device. You can do via a Right-click on the drive letter. You can use the Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media icon in your taskbar.

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However you do it, just safely remove the device like you always do.

Step 4 – On Android: Open the Kindle app

Chances are that your Kindle app is going to open to whatever you were doing last. You may need press your devices back button. If your Kindle app takes you right to the Home screen, you may already see your PDF file there. If so, good. Click it and go. If not, click the three little horizontal lines next to the kindle logo on the top left.

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A menu will slide out from the left. Click Docs. Your PDF should be listed there “On Device.”

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Now it’s just a matter of clicking on your title, reading and enjoying. I hope this helped!

Optional Final Step

If this helped you, please consider making a donation for my efforts in bringing you this tutorial. In total, I spent about a half an hour in writing, image generation and editing.

If not PayPal, I sure wouldn’t hate a Kindle Gift Card. If you’d rather gift a book so that I don’t use that gift card on coffee or electronics, here is a link to my Amazon Gift Registry. Ignore the big ticket items, this is also where I keep my Christmas/Birthday wishlist. =)

Android: Sideloading PDF files (online)

There are so many ways and apps you can use to open/read .PDF files on Android – only their features and interface differ – so I’m going to show you how I sideload .PDF to my Android phone and you can decide if you like the process.

If you are immediately intimidated by the length of this tutorial, please scroll down to “In conclusion” and read that. MOST of this is a one time deal, never to require repeating. Believe me, it’s worth it.

Step One – On PC: Creating a Dropbox account

This process requires a Dropbox account, but if you have SugarSync or Box.net or any other application that will allow you to access remote files on your Android device then you should be good. If you already have this setup on your Android device, skip to Step Three.

Alright, glad you’re still here with me. First things first, we need to get you a Dropbox account. Dropbox is basically a software that grants you some web storage and has a client for your PC/Phone and Tablet which will allow you to put a file in once place and access it everywhere. Cloud storage can be awesome, yes?

So go sign up for a Dropbox account via this link: http://db.tt/orat4UXk
Note: This is a referral link but you and I will both benefit from it. We both get extra storage. It’s not a monetary thing.

It will walk you through the process of the sign up and installation of the desktop client. I highly recommend the desktop client piece, it will make future book sideloading a breeze.

Step Two – On Android: Install Dropbox

This is really just as easy as going to the Play Store and downloading the free app. [ Link here ]

Launch the app and login with your Dropbox credential. Things will be a little bare but we’ll remedy that soon enough.

Step Three – On PC: Place the .PDF file in Dropbox

If you installed the Dropbox desktop client, you now have a folder on your computer called Dropbox. If you can’t find it, you can right click on the Dropbox icon in the bottom right hand corner of your screen next to the clock.

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Next step is to move the .PDF file that you want to sideload to the Dropbox folder. I’m going to move a book called Arena Mode by Blake Northcott over. Since I helped fund the project via Kickstarter, I got DRM-free copies of her new book in multiple formats.

I created a folder in Dropbox called aBookTutorial, but you can call it whatever you want or skip folders all together. It’s up to you. I created a folder and store my ebooks there. I downloaded the PDF file (and other formats) from her website via the link I was sent. You could have gotten the .PDF file from download or maybe from an email. It doesn’t really matter how you got the file, drop it into your Dropbox folder. Wherever you want to.

Here is what my folder looks like on my desktop

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Dropbox will then shoot those files up into the cloud. It may take a few minutes (or longer, if your book is particularly large.)

Step 4 – On Android: Confirm File Sync in Dropbox

Now we’re going to confirm that our files are syncing up. If you see the folders and files you’ve created, then you are good. We’ll move onto Step 5. Below is what my Android device looks like after I performed Step 3 above.

After I’ve logged into my Dropbox app, I see this

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When I click into it I see this

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Step 5 – On Android: See if you already have a PDF reader installed

There are probably countless PDF Readers in the Play Store. Chances are you probably have one already installed. My phone came preloaded with a free version of “QuickOffice” that will open PDFs. I also have the Kindle app that reads them. So how do you know if you have an app already installed that reads PDFs? Just look in your Dropbox folder and click on that .PDF file you moved over. Android should either automatically open it, or give you a list of applications that support PDF loading. Here is what it looked like on my Android device when I attempted to open a PDF.

Before I show you the image, I want you to notice something specific. There are three apps that are identified as handling PDF files. When you select an app, two more buttons are going to un-grey and become clickable “Always” and “Just once.” If you don’t know which of the apps you prefer PLEASE press Just once.

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The PDF will open in the application of your choice. IF the app just opened, you may have already clicked “Always” once before. OR you may have only a single app available to open PDF files.

If, by chance, you don’t have an application installed that reads PDFs, I have personal experience with Aldiko, Kindle and my personal favorite for PDF handling ezPDF Reader [ here ]. Adobe, parent of the PDF, also has a free PDF reader so don’t feel compelled to spend money on an application if you don’t see anything wrong with a free option like Kindle or Aldiko.

In conclusion

If you aren’t familiar with Dropbox or cloud storage in general you may be looking at this tutorial and thinking ‘there is no way I am going to do that everytime’ but the work is already done. From now on all you have to do is copy your PDF file into the Dropbox folder of your choice, wait for it to show up in the Dropbox app on your Android device, tap the file and enjoy. In a nutshell, you do Step 3 and Step 5. That’s it. Easy-peasy. You got this.

Optional Final Step

If this helped you, please consider making a donation for my efforts in bringing you this tutorial. In total, I spent just shy of an hour in writing, image generation and editing.

If not PayPal, I sure wouldn’t hate a Kindle Gift Card. If you’d rather gift a book so that I don’t use that gift card on coffee or electronics, here is a link to my Amazon Gift Registry. Ignore the big ticket items, this is also where I keep my Christmas/Birthday wishlist. =)

Android: Sideloading .epub files (offline)

I figured I’d go ahead and document a way to sideload .epub files to the NOOK app for those who don’t want to mess with cloud storage.

Pre-requisites:

NOOK app installed and previously launched on your Android device – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=bn.ereader

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Step 1 – On PC: Connect your Android device via USB

Plug your Android device into your PC. Ideally your PC will identify it with a drive letter. If not, your Android device may need you to place it in something called “Mass Storage Mode.” Android is sort of inconsistent with how to do this, so I will be unable to get too detailed here. All I can offer is the fact that most Android devices I’ve encountered have responded to being plugged into a USB port with a prompt to enter Mass Storage Mode, if they didn’t enter it automatically.

In my case, I’m using a Motorola Droid 4. I had to switch it to Mass Storage Mode manually. But the notification screen was very helpful in making that change. If you’re interested, here is a link to a post that shows what I had to do [ coming soon ].

My Android device identified itself as drive N. Yours could be almost anything. When I browsed to N, I got a large list of folders. Your list will very likely differ. In fact, you may have two drives – or more! – come up. What you’re looking for is a folder titled Nook.

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Step 2 – On PC: Place the .epub file in the NOOK MyDocuments folder

If you open that Nook folder you’ll find a few more folders. Your folders may differ from mine but the important folder is MyDocuments. Open MyDocuments and copy your .epub file there.

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Step 3 – On PC: Safely Remove your Android device.

There are a number of ways you can do this too. Basically we just want to “Eject” the device. You can do via a Right-click on the drive letter. You can use the Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media icon in your taskbar.

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However you do it, just safely remove the device like you always do.

Step 4 – On Android: Open the NOOK app

Chance are your NOOK app is going to default to the Books view.

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You are going to want to click the Books dropdown and select My Files. There is a chance you get a message that says you have no sideloaded content. Press the refresh button beneath the shopping bag and magnifying glass. That should find make the file or files you sideloaded appear.

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Now it’s just a matter of clicking on your title, reading and enjoying. I hope this helped!

Optional Final Step

If this helped you, please consider making a donation for my efforts in bringing you this tutorial. In total, I spent about a half an hour in writing, image generation and editing.

If not PayPal, I sure wouldn’t hate a Kindle Gift Card. If you’d rather gift a book so that I don’t use that gift card on coffee or electronics, here is a link to my Amazon Gift Registry. Ignore the big ticket items, this is also where I keep my Christmas/Birthday wishlist. =)