Tag Archives: iOS

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 ]


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.


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


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


When I click into it I see this


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.


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:


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


Here you see Arena Mode in iBooks.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. =)

Opinions are like a**holes

What is it about technology that makes people so passionate? How many times have you seen PlayStation and Xbox fanboys at each others throats? XBL is l33t. PS3 doesn’t charge for online game play. Back and forth it goes. That same fervor exists for Mac and PC users. Windows has a ton of viruses. Mac is overpriced. Back and forth that goes. Which leads me to the next great fanboy war, iPhone versus Android.

I’ve been on both sides of the fence – or walled garden, if you want to be like that. I think both platforms have their virtues. I love the widgets and customization that Android provides. I love the beauty and simplicity that iPhone provides. They have different things working for and against them. Yet, people are so convinced of their platform of choice’s superiority that they have absolutely no shame in their attempts to shame other people who don’t share their opinion.

I’m a member of a Facebook group that discussed books, the nook ereader, etc. We go off-topic so it’s not uncommon for technology to come up from time to time. God help the person who mentions owning an Apple product. People come out of the woodwork to bash the product and the owner of the product by proxy. Let me provide an example.

Someone posted a comment yesterday about how she has an iPhone 4S and loves it but she has to vent. She mentions that for the past couple of days it has really been acting up and she’s frustrated. We’ve established that she has a product that she loves that she’s having issues with. Someone pops into the thread to comment:

may be thats why there stock is dropping. junk

Seriously? Would this person feel right commenting on a complete stranger’s relationship status when it changed to “it’s complicated”? This is openly announced as a vent. She is having issues with something she loves. She wants two things. First, she wants to get it off her chest so she doesn’t feel alone. Second, she wants to find out if anyone knows how to resolve the issues she’s having.

Another voice enters the conversation, once the issue has been resolved, with a light hearted:

Sounds like instead of an Apple you got a lemon.

This comment doesn’t irk me as much because this individual is very friendly, jokes with everyone and the issue is already resolved. I may have found it out of place if the problem still existed, since it would still be source of frustration, but the issue is resolved and it’s easier to laugh at the situation now that it’s no longer an issue.

I don’t know. It just bothered me that someone would dare to call someone else’s decision “junk”. I caught all kinds of hell, particularly from that last commenter, when I switched from my OG Droid to the iPhone. I started to get articles posted on my Facebook wall about how horrible Apple was as a company. How they used child labor. Or how they forced 24-hour shifts. Or just any negative press that could be dug up. It bordered on bullying.

Now that isn’t saying I think that person is a bully. I know better. That person is a kind soul who only did it as a good natured jab. He knows I can take the ribbing. I know if it legitimately bothered me that I could ask him to stop and he would. Truth is it doesn’t bother me. I’ve got my big boy pants on and the only opinion that will sway my decision making is my own. I don’t mind swimming against popular opinion from time to time. I don’t mind “joining the dark side”. They have cookies. Internet joke – sorry.

In any event, I just had to vent myself before I popped into that thread and let my own opinion be known. I feel better now. Thanks for being there for me. I’m going to go make a call on my iPhone and browse Flipboard on my iPad.

And if you don’t like that?

iDon’t Care.

(Image courtesy of Norebbo)

The Internet is bothering me today

The Internet is so annoying this morning. Folks are waiting for the iPad 3/HD announcement and every article is a troll war. I’m so tired of the whole “Apple just repackages the same technology” argument. It’s idiotic. What does the automotive industry do? What does the PC industry do? What does the appliances industry do? Where is the outrage when GM, Ford or Chrysler release the next years model and it just has a different body style?

Now I understand that mobile technology is moving at a very brisk clip right now but it’s like the PC industry in late 90’s, speed was doubling/quadrupling by the year. 100mhz processor, then 200mhz, then 400mhz. And now it’s the race to see how many cores we can fit onto a piece of silicon. My point is this trend is going to slow. And do these people really think that manufacturers are going to stop making products while waiting for the next big thing? No. They are going to repackage the same thing. It worked for Nintendo. How many different colors of Gameboy and DS are there?

But the real crux of this argument is that Apple ISN’T repackage the same technology. The iPad 3/HD is expected to have an upgraded dual core processor or a quad core processor. It’s expected to have 1GB of Memory, up from iPad 2’s 512mb. It is also expected to have Apple’s beautiful Retina (or Retina-like) display. How is this the same old iPad?

Let me ask you this. How do you interface with a tablet? Its touchscreen. How do you consume the information? Your eyeballs on its screen? If the internal specs are significantly better, and the screen resolution and clarity is MUCH improved, how is this a minor upgrade? What would it take to be a major upgrade? Would the quad core do it? Obviously doubling the memory and resolution doesn’t count.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a preferred mobile OS. There is absolutely nothing wrong with liking Android over iOS or liking iOS over Android. But when you make statements like the iPad 3/HD is just the same old hardware with a new label on the box you end up looking like an idiotic fanboy. This isn’t the video game industry releasing the Gameboy Color.