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No e-reader? No problem.


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Would you like to read e-books from Amazon but you don’t own an e-reader? No problem. In the last few weeks I’ve received several queries from readers wondering how they can read my e-book Webinars: a Cookbook for Educators, without a Kindle e-reader. Here’s the bottom line:

  • You don’t need to own an e-reader to read e-books from Amazon.
  • Download the Kindle app for PC, Mac or tablets, and you can read any Amazon e-book on your computer.
  • If you can’t (or don’t want to) buy e-books via Amazon, there are alternative sites such as Smashwords, where you can choose to buy an e-book in a variety of formats. Here’s the Smashwords link for my Webinars book.

You’ll find more resource e-books for English language teachers on The Round, with new titles being added regularly.

Another question I frequently get asked: Is it worth buying an e-reader?

That depends. I find that owning a convergence device like my iPad with e-reader apps means that I read more on the iPad. But you can’t beat an e-reader in the summer, when you’re reading in bright sunlight on the beach. And you so wouldn’t want to take an iPad to the beach. But if you already have a tablet where you can read e-books, I’m not sure it’s worth buying another gadget to have a separate e-reader. And now that there are much cheaper tablets on the market (such as the Kindle fire, or Google Nexus), the price difference between an e-reader and a tablet is not as big as it was a year or two back.

Bottom line? Well, let me ask you. If you own a tablet and an e-reader, do you find that you favour reading on one device over the other? If you already own a tablet, would you buy an e-reader? If you own neither, do you think it’s still worth buying a dedicated e-reader device, or would you go for a (cheaper) tablet instead?

Nicky Hockly
The Consultants-E
January 2013


  1. […] You don't need an e-reader to read an e-book.  […]

  2. Sally says:

    If, like me, you are in a country that Amazon blocks from the UK or the US site, get someone to download the software and then send it to you through a file service.
    Or use Calibre which you can download yourself and then you can convert any file type to any other file type as long as the file is not DRM restricted.

    But you won’t be able to buy directly into your computer (or Kindle) unless you use some kind of work round, so you will only have access to non-DRM books. Perhaps Smashwords will let you buy books where ever you are – I shall try it soon.

    1. Nicky Hockly says:

      Thanks for your helpful comments, Sally, and yes, in theory Smashwords works from everywhere, so is a workaround for getting hold of Kindle books – providing the author has his or her work available on Smashwords as well as Amazon. I’d be interested to hear if Smashwords does in fact work for you.

  3. Lorena says:

    Thanks Nicky for this entry. Now i kno i can read e-books on my iPad. I have downladed the app and just bought two ebooks: yours about webinars and A first digital journey. I live in UK so no problem to download both from Amazon. It would be treat to have a kindle version for your Teaching online book.

    Perfect reading for my trip to Lanzarote next week. Mil gracias!!
    Lorena recently posted..Top 10 tips for using Skype in the language classroomMy Profile

    1. Nicky Hockly says:

      Hi Lorena – that’s great, and hope you enjoy both e-books! ‘Teachng Online’ is still only available in paperback, and believe me, myself and several other authors have been asking our publishers for years (years!) to make our methodology books available as e-books. Unfortunately many publisher still seem to think it will adversely affect sales – they haven’t realised yet that it will actually *increase* their sales by reaching a wider audience. I suppose they will eventually cotton on, but who knows how much longer it will take… Sigh.

  4. Joamma says:

    What about on a normal ebook will it read kindle?

    1. Nicky Hockly says:

      Hi Joamma,

      There are several different formats for ebooks. The Kindle has a special ebook format (.mobi), whereas other e-readers might use .epub, for example. So to answer your question, to be read on the Kindle, the ebook needs to be in the .mobi format. Calibre ( http://calibre-ebook.com/) is one piece of software that can help you manage your ebook formats.

      Hope this helps,

  5. […] Download the Kindle app for PC, Mac or tablets, and you can read any Amazon e-book. See Smashwords to buy an e-book in a variety of formats.  […]

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