eBook FAQs (Part 2)

And here, as promised, is the second part of  my eBook FAQs.  No, no. Try to control your excitement. I know it’s hard…

Let us now speak of reading and purchasing eBooks.

Do I need an eReader to read an eBook?

No. You do not need to read an eBook on an eReader.  You can also read eBooks on your computer, smart phone, iTouch, or tablet (like an iPad).

Here are some links:

To read an EPUB formatted book on your smartphone, you need Overdrive Media console.  To read an EPUB formatted book on your computer, you need Adobe digital editions  (requires Adobe Flash player).  This link will take you to a page where you can download either, or both, programs:

Link to Kindle apps

Link to Nook apps 

Link to iBooks  (runs through iTunes, can be downloaded for free

What’s the difference between eReaders?

If you decide to purchase a dedicated eReader, you’ll be faced with many different choices.  The biggest difference between the various eReaders is that some use “e-ink” technology, and some use a backlit LCD screen, like a computer.

E-Ink technology was developed to mimic the printed page, and I find it easier on the eyes. The e-ink readers (like the Kindle and the regular Nook) have a little “flash” every time you “turn” a page, but you don’t notice it after a minute.  You need light to read using these readers, just as you need light to read a paper book.  There isn’t glare on the screen.  They are black and white.

The eReaders with the backlit LCD screen don’t use e-ink, so their display is full color.  You don’t have as much of a flash when you “turn” the page.  You don’t need light to read.  There’s more of a glare, and I find them harder on the eyes.  These eReaders are more like computers, smart phones, and tablets like the iPad.

Which eReader should I buy?

It all depends on what you’re going to use it for.  If you are reading a lot, you’ll probably want an eReader with the e-ink technology (like the Kindle or the regular Nook).  But, if you’re reading a lot of magazines or children’s books, you might want to invest in a color Nook or a tablet like an iPad so you can have full color pictures.  And, of course, what you get also depends on how much you want to spend.

Can all eBooks be read on all eReaders?

Well, yes and no.  Each eReader recognizes specific formats.  There is what is considered a “standard” format for eBooks, called EPUB, and many eReaders, including the Nook, will recognize it.  However Amazon, being Amazon, uses a special format for the Kindle.

Okay, so where do I buy eBooks?

eBooks can be purchased at a variety of places on the internet.  This includes, of course, the Kindle store, the Nook store, and the iBooks store.  But you can also purchase eBooks directly from publishers, from Google Books, and from other third party vendors.

Do I need to purchase an eBook from the people who sold me my eReader?

No, but the eBooks you buy will need to be in the correct format for your eReader.  If you purchase from a publisher or third party vendor, their site might give you a choice of formats, or you might be given just the EPUB option (like at Carina Press).  If they do not offer a format your device recognizes, you’ll have to convert the book into the correct format using a conversion program like Calibre.  Just be careful to make sure the site allows you to download the book to your computer if you’re going to need to convert it.

How does the eBook get on my eReader?

There are a couple of ways this can happen.  If you purchase from the Kindle or Nook store, the books will be sent to you automatically using an email address assigned when you registered your device.  If you purchase elsewhere, the site might email the book to you as well.  If that happens, you’ll need to have set up your device to recognize the email address they’re using when they send the book to you. You might also have the option of saving the book directly to your computer and transferring it that way.


Well, that’s basically it for now.  I hope you find the information useful!  And not too boring.  And mostly correct.  LOL 😀


  1. Just a comment – there is no flash with my Nook – it’s just a new page. At least – I have never noticed one! 🙂

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Ann: Well, maybe there’s a wee little flash. :)It’s from the little black and white ping-pong balls that make up the e-ink system realigning themselves for the next page. If you care. But it’s not blinding or anything. And maybe it’s not as noticeable on the Nook.

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