MobileReader Devices How-To

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Project Gutenberg is not just for your desktop or notebook computer!

The Nook, Kindle, Sony EReader, iPad and other eBook readers can display Project Gutenberg eBooks (we are not going to try to list them all here, but every such device we are aware of has the ability to display one or more of Project Gutenberg's typical file formats). Most recent mobile phones can also display them. Many MP3 players, gaming systems, and other devices can display eBooks, too. The Project Gutenberg site offers download formats suitable for eBook readers, mobile phones, and other devices.

Different devices and download formats offer different features for displaying and manipulating the eBooks. They can all display eBooks for reading a page at a time. Other available features might include choice of fonts, sizes and colors; bookmark or annotation functionality; and options for sharing.

There are several different ways of obtaining and viewing the titles, and most people will be able to choose whichever suits them best. Before getting started, check with your device's documentation to determine which formats you can display. This page lists the formats that Project Gutenberg offers:

Help on Bibliographic Record Page

Here are some of the ways we know of to get Project Gutenberg eBooks to your eBook reader or mobile phone:

  1. Try the Project Gutenberg Mobile Site. This site is optimized for smaller screens.
  2. Download eBooks directly to your device over the Internet. If your device is Internet-enabled, just visit the catalog page for a book, and download one of the formats your device can display. Here is a sample catalog page: www.nhiuwn.icu/ebooks/11. Use the author/title search boxes on every page at www.nhiuwn.icu to find eBooks you are interested in.
  3. Download to your computer, using your Web browser. Then, transfer the book's file(s) to your device using a USB cable or similar method. Before copying, you might need to use a program on your computer to transform the files to another format.
  4. Use a third party site (including some for-fee sites), which facilitate getting files onto your device. Try Project Gutenberg's partners and affiliates. Here is the magic catalog for Project Gutenberg titles, created in MOBI and EPUB versions (MOBI is suitable for the Kindle): http://www.freekindlebooks.org/MagicCatalog/magiccatalog.html
  5. Other methods, as supported by your device. For example, the Kindle supports an email method to transform and receive files.

Search for Guidance

Many articles have been written on different approaches to getting Project Gutenberg content onto different devices. Use your favorite search site to look for guidance. These include articles on specific devices, as well on how convert Gutenberg files to other formats. This article at makeuseof.com describes conversion for Project Gutenberg content.

General Advice

There are a few different challenges that many people face. Here are some of the ones we hear about most often. Keep in mind that there are many different types of computers, and they can be set up differently and have different software. So, your specific experience might be a little different than someone else's. This also means that step-by-step instructions might need some variation for your own situation.

  1. How to save an eBook's file to transfer to your device. If you are using your computer to look at an eBook, you can save the eBook's file(s) to your computer so that you can copy it to your device. Try the "save as..." ... "HTML Complete" option in your Web browser to save the file(s) to a folder you choose, so that you can later transfer the files to your device. If you want to get a particular file format (such as the EPUB or MOBI format), from the Project Gutenberg download page you can right-click to get a pop-up menu, then "save as..." (or a similar option). If you don't have a right mouse button (on some Macs), use control-click to get the pop-up menu.

For HTML, make sure you save the complete page. Some Web browsers just download the HTML (the text), and link back to the images at the www.nhiuwn.icu site. This won't work, since viewing the book will require you to be online, and link "inline" to those images. Project Gutenberg wants you to have the WHOLE eBook - download the complete HTML with images. All Web browsers offer this as a menu option, but it might not be the default choice.

  1. Where is the file? If you just left-click a file to download, you might get a dialog box or something similar, asking whether you want to save the file. But where did it go? It seems there are many different places your computer might save the file, and they can be hard to find later. Use the "save as..." method mentioned above to choose a specific location. Also, keep in mind that the Project Gutenberg files might have names that don't related to the book's title (we use a numeric file naming scheme based on the eBook number). You can rename the files to anything you'd like, but you will first need to know where they are saved.
  2. How to get the file to my device? This varies quite a bit, but the first step is to find where you saved the file (sometimes you can save directly to your device, if it is connected). One common variation is to connect your device to your computer, often with a USB cable. Then, just drag and drop (or use another method for copying files) to put the file on your device. Another common variation is to use a separate program that manages your device's content, and to open the file and transfer it from within that program (iTunes is a common example of this).
  3. Hey, it doesn't look right! Project Gutenberg relies on several automated steps to create EPUB, MOBI, and some other specialized eBook reader formats. For a variety of reasons, this automation sometimes yields files that don't look right on every device, particularly those with small screens. One common problem is to have lots of white space at the top of an eBook, or very wide margins. Also, it might be that images (from the HTML version of the book) are not included in the automatically-generated version. If you got the right file, but it doesn't look right, it's probably not something you can fix. Try another file format, especially HTML or plain text. HTML and plain text can be viewed by many of the specialized eBook reader devices and mobile phones.

Kindle

General Kindle help

Visit the Amazon help pages for your specific Kindle model. The help pages for the devices we looked all have a page describing how to transfer files from your computer to your Kindle, which is sometimes called "sideloading." Those are the types of instructions that should be helpful: save to your computer, and then copy to your device. Here is Amazon's device help page

Beware that Amazon sells for money many titles in print and digital format that you can get free from Project Gutenberg. In addition, we have found that Amazon outsources many of their own digital imprints, and sometimes their non-free titles violate the Project Gutenberg trademark. Project Gutenberg has never received any trademark royalty payments from Amazon or Amazon resellers or imprints. For older (pre-1923) content, there is a good chance that Project Gutenberg has it free of charge, but Amazon will charge money for it. Of course there might be advantages to the non-free version (such as better formatting). Be aware, and make an informed choice.

Blocked Users

Since 2014, Amazon Kindle users have reported being detected as "robots" by the software running www.nhiuwn.icu. On investigation, it was determined that Amazon has been using computer addresses within its cloud services to aggregate requests from Kindle users. The net result is that to www.nhiuwn.icu there are very large numbers of requests from single network addresses. This causes www.nhiuwn.icu to trigger a temporary ban of that address, since it seems to be an automated robot, rather than a human user.

The exact conditions under which this aggregation takes place are not clear. We do not have a workaround to disable this outcome. If your device is blocked, the block will expire automatically though it may appear again depending on Amazon's routing of queries to www.nhiuwn.icu. A good workaround is to instead use your computer to access www.nhiuwn.icu, and transfer items to your Kindle as described herein.

Kindle Fire Review from 2012

In 2012, the Project Gutenberg Webmaster wrote a Kindle Fire review. Summary: If you fancy free eBooks, don't buy a Kindle Fire. The review suggests readers consider a Nexus 7 instead. Note that the products from Amazon and other suppliers have evolved, since this review was written.

Alternate Apps and Formats

For the Kindle Fire, and potentially other Kindle devices, you can install alternate eBook reader software. Advice we have received (might need adjustment for your specific device, or if some versions of software are updated from when these instructions were written): install a third party EPUB reader and start downloading the EPUB files instead of the Kindle files from this site. One good and free EPUB reader is FBReader. Download the Android .2* package for the Kindle Fire and the Android 4.* package for the Kindle Fire HD. You may want to read up on installing third party apps on the Kindle Fire. Advantages of EPUB files over Kindle files include: that they are much smaller than Kindle files and that they work on the Apple iPad too.

Kindle 3

The Amazon "Kindle 3" device seem to work well with Project Gutenberg titles; the Kindle DX also. Amazon used to have instructions available for downloading Project Gutenberg titles, but this seems to be gone now. They do have some free content, and an app, in their Amazon.com: Free Book Collections. For MS-Windows users, there is a video describing the process at YouTube.

  • Kindle devices favor the "MOBI" format, which is usually labeled "Kindle" on the Project Gutenberg download pages
  • As described above, you can first download to your computer, then connect your Kindle and copy files to it. This works with MOBI and plain text. The HTML and EPUB files we copied were not viewable on the Kindle. Audio books in MP3 format will play through the Kindle's music player, but the player is limited and does not let you see and select from available audio books.
  • Project Gutenberg thanks Amazon for providing Kindle 3's and Kindle DX's for our evaluation in 2010.

Amazon's new File Format

In 2015, Amazon started using the "kfx" file format for new Kindle readers. Project Gutenberg provides the MOBI format, which our download page calls "kindle" format. There are no immediate plans for Project Gutenberg to offer kfx format, but this may change in the future. Meanwhile, it appears that newer Kindle models can still utilize the other formats (MOBI, HTML and even plain text). There are many articles about how to convert files to the kfx format. is one at The Digital Reader.com.

Nook

The Barnes & Noble "Nook" devices seem to work well with Project Gutenberg titles, including the different versions (Color etc.). Note that to connect, your Nook needs to be awake (use the on-screen slider to do this, you'll get a message that it is connected to your computer). Other points for the Nook:

  • You can use the built-in Web browser to look at Project Gutenberg eBooks in text and HTML format, but it will not display EPUB or the other common Project Gutenberg download formats
  • Instead, use your computer's Web browser to find and download EPUB or other formats. Use the techniques described elsewhere on this page. There does not seem to be a way to download those formats to your Nook without going through your computer or the online Nook store.

Beware that there are many Barnes & Noble titles in print and eBooks that are not free from them, but are free from Project Gutenberg. B&N often adds a "Copyright" statement to such old books (for example, Pride and Prejudice, which actually was included with the Nook we tried), but only things like the cover and introduction are copyrighted, the main text is not. For older (pre-1923) content, there is a good chance that Project Gutenberg has it for free, but B&N will charge money for it. Of course there might be advantages to the non-free version (such as better formatting). Be aware, and make an informed choice.

Kobo Reader

Kobo has had positive reviews, and is less restrictive about where it gets content than devices from B&N and Amazon.

The [Kobo|http://www.kobo.com/] reader online store includes free access to 100 of the most popular Project Gutenberg titles. You need to go through the registration process to get access to the store. Direct transfer of downloaded eBooks from a computer to the Kobo did not immediately work for us, but is supposed to be supported. The Kobo supports PDF and ePub formats. Project Gutenberg would like to thank Kobo for providing free evaluation readers in 2010.

Android

The Android operating system is found on many phones and tablets. The specific features and applications varies, and there are often customizations to Android that change functionality. For the most part, however, Android devices include Web browsers that can be used to read Project Gutenberg's text and HTML eBooks. For other file types, you can try copying from your computer to the device as described above. Or, try the application described below.

Free: FBReader

  • Download the free FBReader app from the Android Market. Use the link on the right.

To open a Project Gutenberg ebook in FBReader:

  • Use the Android browser to navigate to http://m.gutenberg.org.
  • Search for the book you want.
  • Select one of the EPUB files.
  • In the "Complete action using" dialog select: FBReader.

The book will start downloading in the background. After the download completes you can open the book from the Android notifications screen or the FBReader library screen.

iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch

The fastest way to get Project Gutenberg ebooks onto your iOS device is to use the built-in browser to navigate to http://m.gutenberg.org Download the EPUB format and then "open in" the preferred application.

The Apple iBookstore also contains some Project Gutenberg ebooks. Note that sometimes Apple's copy might not be the most recent copy from the Project Gutenberg site, since we often update our automated conversion procedures. If you live outside the U.S. you won't be able to access the iBookstore via the iBooks app.

You can also get Project Gutenberg's eBook files onto the iPad using iTunes. This works for EPUB files, and it also works well for Project Gutenberg's MP3 audio eBooks.

Project Gutenberg would like to thank Apple for providing devices for evaluation in 2009 and 2010.

Here are apps we know of that will work outside of the U.S., as well as within the U.S. Other apps we have heard about include Goodreads and WattPad.

Free: Lexcycle Stanza

Lexcycle Stanza is a free-as-in-beer ebook reader for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

  • Download the Stanza app from the Apple App Store. Use the link on the right for the US store.
  • Open the Stanza App.
  • Tap on "Get Books" and "Catalog".
  • From the list select "Project Gutenberg".

Free: Himalaya

Himalaya Reader is a free ebook reader for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

Paid: Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is a paid ebook reader for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. It provides over 20,000 Project Gutenberg titles, converted from text. The Eucalyptus developers pay a proportion of their gross proceeds to Project Gutenberg as royalties.

Paid: MegaReader

MegaReader is a paid ebook reader for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

  • Download MegaReader from the Apple App Store. Use the link on the right for the US store.
  • Open MegaReader.
  • Select "Download Books".
  • From the list select "Project Gutenberg".

Paid: QuickReader

QuickReader is a paid ebook reader for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. It implements a speed reading technique that teaches you how to read faster.

  • Download QuickReader from the Apple App Store. Use the link on the right for the US store.
  • Open QuickReader and select "Normal Reading" or "Speed Reading".
  • Select "Download Books".
  • From the list select "Project Gutenberg".

Suggestions from Project Gutenberg Founder Michael Hart

Michael Hart was a proponent of eBooks on mobile devices. He offered these ideas in February 2010. This guidance might not be directly applicable to all of today's portable devices. Michael Hart wanted to encourage you to try the QiOO Mobile format for mobile phones.

I'm writing this because 90% of the questions we receive at [email protected] pglaf.org are about buying dedicated eReaders at prices from $200 to over $1,000.

Before actually plunking down that much money, I suggest trying reading Project Gutenberg and other eBooks on the laptops, notebooks, netbooks, cellphones or PDAs already in your collection of devices. I have known many people who have read very lengthy works on their cellphone, PDA or whatever while standing in lines over a period of one or two weeks and are have thus doubled their book number per year without taking any extra time.

If you adjust the font, color, size, etc., you should be able to find a decent reading experience for yourself.

WARNING: DO NOT BUY A CELLPHONE WITHOUT WIFI, they will just jack up your bill but wifi costs little or nothing.

If you insist on getting a dedicated ereader, I'm afraid we don't ever get into recommending specific products on Project Gutenberg, even those we like the best/use most. However, we do sometimes post reviews.

In my own experiences in electronics over some 55 years, it has been obvious that the greatest value lies in some products that include multiple functions, such as what a hifi person would call a "receiver" which includes amps, preamps, equalizers, tuners and various other functions. Each amp, preamp, equalizer and tuner could be had quite readily as a separate box with a separate power supply-- complete with it's own transformer, AC cord, box, panels and and decorations, knobs, lights, etc.

Believe it or not, if you look at the inventory of parts of any of these items it is the pretty front panel costs the most, then the knobs, then the ugly box with the big clunky power supply that converts the AC to DC, etc.

I apologize, but I can't remember all the details, but I was totally astounded at finding out that was quite true in whole general hifi world. . .the actual parts that in reality created the "value" cost the least.

As a result, the first computer I ever bought was like a hifi receiver in respects, as it had everything in a big chassis that held the monitor, drives, printer, cards in one with the keyboard above the motherboard. It did not take as much space, it did not require as many cables or other interfaces, it took only one AC socket, and, every single part was completely adjusted to the system.

I have built computers totally from parts many time, and done the same with many other electronics and I've never been a fan of having all the separate boxes. However, I must admit that the very best, if you are going to spend as much on each box as I was spending on entire systems, are available only in separate boxes. . .but one connect that doesn't work right can ruin the whole thing.

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