by Scott Rhoades
A couple of recent posts on the Utah Children's Writers mailing list (available as a Yahoo Group) have mentioned using the Kindle application on a computer to read Amazon Kindle books. One person had trouble figuring out how to install the application.
This seems like a good blog topic, so I will provide basic installation instructions here. You can do the same thing with the Nook, so I'll discuss both. Because these applications are free, you might consider getting them both. With these two readers, you're set up to read virtually any ebook on the market or available from free sources like Project Gutenberg, without spending the money on a reader. If you already have a reader, you can sync your library with your other devices, giving you more options for reading.
The Kindle app lets you read any book you can read on the Kindle. You can install it free on your computer, tablet, or smart phone. To get it on your mobile device, go to the AppStore or Android Market, search for "Kindle," and download and install it like you would any other app.
To get it for your computer:
1. Go to www.amazon.com.
2. On the menu on the left side of the screen, mouse over Kindle, then select Free Kindle Reading Apps from the flyout menu that appears.
3. Select your platform (such as Windows or Mac) from the menu on the right, then click Download.
4. After the download completes, select the app from your browser's Downloads list and install it, then register the app (using the same registration info you use for your actual Kindle, if you have one).
Once the app is installed, you can find free books for the Kindle or buy books from Amazon.com. You can sync with your Kindle library, if you have one, so your books are available to the Kindle app on each of your devices.
Use the Nook app to read your Nook library on your computer, tablet, or smart phone. Of the two readers, I personally prefer the Nook because it supports the ePub standard, which means there are more books available for free, and it's easier to read your own manuscripts as an ebook. The Nook app also provides more display options. You can change fonts and customize the reader in other ways to make your books easier for you to read.
1. Go to http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/free-nook-apps/379002321/.
2. Click the version of the Nook applications you want. You can either click the button on the left to read about the app, then click Download, or scroll down the page a little and click Download Now next to the one you want.
3. Wait for the download to finish, then install the program.
After you install, if you already have a Nook account, your library automatically syncs and you're ready to go.
Nook and Kindle aren't the only options for ebook readers. If you have an iPad, it comes with iBooks installed, a pretty nifty reader. For Android, I really like the free FBReader, but there are lots of other options. Be aware, though, that a lot of free readers don't supports Kindle's book format, but most do support ePub, a more common format. So, if you've bought books for your real Kindle and want to read them on your laptop or phone, make sure you find a reader app that supports the MOBI book format. And, of course, the other readers won't sync with your existing Kindle or Nook account automatically.
With these apps, you can take a large virtual library with you everywhere you go. Have fun with that!