Sideloading Your Ebook

Sideloading refers to loading an ebook onto a device without purchasing it from a store. This can be a useful way to have some one else read your book, or to perform an editing check before proofing.

Kindle

On Kindle, you can sideload a book to look for typos and other potential problems with your text. Sideloading should not be used to judge the appearance of your ebook, however, for these reasons:

Enhanced Typesetting
A book sideloaded onto a device won’t be displayed using Amazon’s Enhanced Typesetting technology, so it will appear differently than when delivered to readers through Amazon.
Kindle on iOS
For sideloaded ebooks, the Kindle app for iPhone and iPad will only display basic formatting: no drop caps, ornaments, or custom fonts. In this app, the complete formatting will only be seen by readers who purchase your book through Amazon.

The only way to view an accurate proof of your ebook is with Kindle Previewer.

Converting to mobi

To sideload onto Kindle, you’ll need a file in Amazon’s proprietary mobi format. You can convert a file to this format using Kindle Previewer, starting with the Kindle.epub file generated by Vellum.

  1. Open your Kindle.epub file in Kindle Previewer
  2. From the File menu, choose Export
  3. Export your book in the mobi file format

You can use the converted file with the sideloading methods below.

Send to Kindle

The easiest way to sideload a Kindle ebook is via Amazon’s Send to Kindle utility. You can use this method for:

  • Kindle Fire
  • Kindle for Android
  • E-ink Kindles
  • Kindle for iPhone / iPad

See warnings below

After installing Send to Kindle on your Mac, you’ll need to sign in to your Amazon account. You’ll then be prompted to send a file to your Kindle:

Find your converted Kindle.mobi file, then drag it into the app. Select the devices where you want to read your book, and your file will be sent.

When using Send to Kindle, you’ll want to keep these limitations in mind:

E-ink Kindles (like Paperwhite)
On an e-ink Kindle, your book’s cover image won’t be shown in your library (it will instead have a generic cover). This is a limitation of Send to Kindle. To see your cover image, you’ll need to sideload your book via USB.
Kindle for iPhone / iPad
As noted above, ebooks sideloaded to Kindle for iOS will display only basic formatting.

USB Transfer

Transferring your file via USB is a bit more complicated, but it allows you to load your book directly onto a device, without relying on a service. It can also be used for Nook and Kobo, which don’t offer an equivalent of Send to Kindle.

To transfer your file, you’ll need a USB cable, such as the one that came with your device.

USB Transfer for E-ink Readers

Follow these steps to transfer to an e-ink reader such as:

  • Kindle Paperwhite
  • Kindle Oasis
  • Nook Glowlight
  • Kobo Aura
  1. Connect your device to your Mac using the USB cable. With your device connected, it should appear in the sidebar of the Mac Finder:
  2. Click on your device in the sidebar to display its contents.
  3. Drag your ebook file into the appropriate destination folder:
    Kindle
    Drag your Kindle.mobi file into the documents folder
    Nook
    Drag your Nook.epub file into the My Files/Books folder
    Kobo
    Drag your Kobo.kepub.epub file into the top-level folder
  4. After the file has been transferred (it will be quick), you can “eject” your device using the button in the sidebar:
  5. Unplug the device from your Mac. You should see your ebook in your device’s library.

USB Transfer for Android Tablets

Follow these steps for Android tablets such as:

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab
  • Kindle Fire

Before you start, you’ll need to download and install the Android File Transfer application on your Mac.

  1. Connect your tablet to your Mac using a USB cable. This should launch the Android File Transfer app.
  2. Drag to copy your ebook file into the appropriate destination folder:
    Kindle
    Drag your Kindle.mobi file into the kindle folder
    Nook
    Drag your Nook.epub file into the Nook/Books folder
    Kobo
    Drag your Kobo.kepub.epub file into the Documents folder
  3. Unplug your device once the copy completes.
  4. Open the appropriate reading app (Kindle, Nook, or Kobo) on your tablet.

    In the Kindle and Nook apps, you should immediately find your ebook in your library (though with Kindle, your ebook might be found within Personal Documents).

    For Kobo, you’ll need to explicitly import your ebook. Press the button in the upper-right and select Import Items, which will display the following:

    Select your ebook, then press Import Selected to add it into your library.

    Note: Kobo will scan your entire tablet for epub files, so if you are proofing your Nook files on the same device, you may want to remove them before importing your Kobo ebooks.

Dropbox for iOS

You can use Dropbox to transfer files to your iPad or iPhone and into these reading apps:

  • Books for iOS
  • Kobo for iOS
  • Nook for iOS
  • Google Play for iOS
  • Kindle for iOS

As noted above, ebooks sideloaded to Kindle for iOS will display only basic formatting.

To start, you will need Dropbox installed on both your Mac and on your iOS device. This example uses a file generated for Apple Books, but the process for transferring to the Kobo or Nook apps is extremely similar.

  1. In Vellum’s Generate sheet, select a folder within your Dropbox as the destination.
  2. Generate your books.
  3. On your iPad or iPhone, open the Dropbox app.
  4. Find the folder you designated for book generation and open it.
  5. Select an ebook file that was generated by Vellum. For this example, we’ll use the Apple.epub file. Dropbox will download the file, but won’t be able to preview it.
  6. Press the icon in the upper-right corner:
  7. Select Export:
  8. Press Open In...
  9. Press Copy to Books:.
  10. The Books app will copy your ebook to your library, then open it.

Google Play

In addition to the methods above, you can sideload a book into Google Play by proofing your book in Google Chrome. After you upload your ebook file to your account, you’ll see it on your devices as well.