I joined an eBook club. I have a PC with Windows XP. The books to download
are in formats called epub or mobi. I heard from one of your email letters that
I can download Kindle for PC from Amazon so that I can download the eBooks. So
I downloaded the Kindle for PC and tried to install it. The Kindle for PC
software does not install from the installer that I saved, saying that there is
“no program on my computer that can open or recognize it.” I then tried using
Calibre to see if that would work, but it did not. Calibre appears to be some
sort of transfer mechanism of accepting the mobi or epub file prior to moving
it to another device, and not a standalone reader for the PC. Is there a simple
one-stop, downloadable program to download and read either epub or mobi books
on a Windows XP computer?
In this excerpt from Answercast #32, I look at a problem finding the right
program to read ebooks on a PC and show how to use either the Amazon Kindle
Reader or Calibre to do the job.
Kindle & eBook readers
So there are a couple of things that I don’t quite understand here.
The Kindle reader for PC absolutely should work!
It should read mobi files (.mobi files).
I don’t believe it reads epub files.
I’m not sure what the installation problem you had is:
- The reader comes down (as I understand it) as an .exe file, which is basically just a program that’s run on Windows.
That download is an installer that you then run. That should be able to install the Kindle for PC reader.
- Go to Amazon.com/kindleforpc to get the most current version.
Once you’ve installed it, one of the things it will do is setup an association for the .mobi files; so that if you double-click on the .mobi file, it will open up in the Kindle reader.
The reason I know this is because this is one of the ways I test my own books. When I create a book, I end up creating a .mobi file. Double-clicking on it opens up that file in the Kindle reader which is installed on my PC.
Read a book with Calibre
Now, as for Calibre…
For those of you who aren’t quite sure, the author is adamant that it is pronounced “Caliber” even though it’s spelled with “re” at the end. We’re all tempted to say “Calibrey” or “Caleebrey,” but in reality it’s “Caliber”
Caliber is a multi-faceted program. It actually does many things related to epublishing and it’s the closest thing to a one-stop shop that I know of to reading just about any format.
I realize that Calibre’s interface is a little bit confusing.
As I look at it here in front of me as I’m recording this podcast, the steps to read an eBook are actually pretty straightforward:
- You would use the “Add Books” functionality to locate and tell Calibre where your books are (where the book you want to read is).
- It will actually load it up (and then it will show up in Calibre’s list of books).
- Then, above that, one would simply use the View button. (The View button will open an eBook reader on the book that you have selected in the list below.)
It actually is pretty simple.
Converting books with Calibre
I actually use Calibre myself because, among other things, it is a tool that will convert from format to format. You don’t necessarily need to have any devices associated with Calibre.
It does a number of different things and conversion is one of them.
I actually write all of my books in plain old HTML. It’s straightforward, it’s simple; it works for me; it’s what I use for writing on the web all the time. I import those files into Calibre simply using the Add books functionality and then I use the Convert books functionality to convert that to (as it turns out) .mobi format: which I can then upload to Kindle.
It’s a format that they accept.
You have the right tools
I would recommend focusing on Calibre first, since it will read all of the formats that you’ve mentioned. Maybe spend a few minutes just sort of sussing out its user interface.
It’s not necessarily clear, but once you add a book you should then be able to view the book and read its contents entirely.
Next from Answercast 32- How do I use a solid state drive in my PC?