How do I get the file on my mobile device?

My downloadable books are supplied as a PDF file. This generally doesn't cause Macintosh or Windows users any issues: just click on the Save File option instead of Open with option when your browser displays your download options.

But when you buy my downloadable books from the browser on your tablet or phone and then click on an email with the download link that you receive, on most mobile devices you're typically going to see the PDF pop up in your browser or reader app with no save options immediately apparent. While the file will show up and be readable, this is only temporary and will disappear when you navigate elsewhere, forcing you to download the book again. Not only will you run out of downloads doing this, but you'll be upping your data usage on your device and encountering delays each time you want to read it. Neither of those are good things.

Generally you want to download the file to your computer, store it somewhere safe should you need it again, and then install a copy on your mobile device as follows:

iPad Users

The simplest way:

  1. Complete purchase in your browser on iPad.
  2. Tap on the download link you receive.
  3. PDF (eventually) opens in Safari on iPad.
  4. Tap somewhere on the page.
  5. A toolbar opens at the top of the page with "Open in iBooks" as one of the buttons. Tap this button.
  6. The book PDF is saved in the iBooks library on the iPad and then opens up in iBooks.
  7. The book PDF file is synced back to the computer next time you connect to iTunes.

My recommended method (requires a low-cost optional app on the iPad):

  1. Complete purchase in your browser.
  2. Wait for the email to come with your download link.
  3. Download the file to your computer.
  4. Sync your iPad with your computer via iTunes.
  5. Once Step 2 finishes backing up your files but before disconnecting the iPad, select your iPad device and open the Apps tab for it in iTunes (Apps oval on top gray bar).
  6. In the File Sharing area towards the bottom of the page, select the Goodreader app.
  7. In the Goodreader Documents box that appears to the right of the File Sharing app list, click Add.
  8. Navigate to where you saved the file in Step 1, select the file, and click Open.
  9. Resync your device.

Why Goodreader? Because it appears to have better memory management than the native iBooks app and fully supports everything I put into the PDF file. As I increased sizes of my books over time, I discovered that iPads had a basic memory management problem with big PDF files. Apple fixed that in the latest OS release, but I still see some lurking issues with Apple’s basic support.

If you want to use free iBooks app Apple provides:

  1. Download the file to your computer.
  2. Open iTunes.
  3. Click on the Books item under Library (left panel).
  4. Drag the file you downloaded into the right iTunes panel (where books actually appear).
  5. Sync your iPad.

Kindle Users

  1. Download the file to your computer.
  2. Connect your Kindle to your computer via the USB port.
  3. Use your computer's file system to find the Kindle; it'll show up like any other computer drive.
  4. Drag the file you downloaded into the Documents folder on the Kindle.
  5. Eject the Kindle from your computer as you would any other removable disk drive.

Note: Kindle users do not get all the interactive features in the native PDF viewers due to Amazon's incomplete PDF support. If you transfer your book file to the Kindle via Amazon's "convert" service (via your Kindle's email address), formatting and tables will also be destroyed. Amazon's PDF support has been lagging that of other devices. 

Tip: Try reading the book with a landscape (horizontal) layout rather than vertical on your Kindle. For some reason Amazon correctly sees the margins in this format and removes most of them, allowing for a better reading experience.

If you own a Kindle Fire, there's a simple solution: get a third party PDF reader application from the Amazon app store, such as the free qPDF. qPDF does support all the internal links in the file correctly (there's also a for sale version that adds features such as annotation).

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