Now that we’re offering eBooks, here’s a quick FAQ to help you out.
Which eBook version should I use?
I used Wikipedia (of course) to check which formats various eBook readers can handle. It looks like all eBook readers accept the ePUB standard natively except Kindle.
Kindle uses an Amazon proprietary format called .azw, which is just based on the old Mobipocket format. Kindles of all generations can therefore read .mobi books.
So, Kindle users should use Kindle (mobi); everyone else should use ePUB.
Hold on, go back a step. I don’t own one of those newfangled eBooky thingies. What do I do?
Do not panic. If you’re reading this page, you can read an eBook on an astounding variety of free software.
Our top desktop recommendation: For Win, Mac and Linux, there’s an awesome piece of software called Calibre which will let you read the books on-screen. It even has a portable Win app that will run from a USB stick so you can take it anywhere with you.
Kobo: Kobo offer a range of apps for Mac, PC, iOS, Android, WinPhones and BlackBerry. They’re a really good bet because, unlike many eReader apps, they give you quite a bit of control over font, text justification, margins and line spacing.
eReader: These guys have been around forever and offer a huge number of apps for Mac, Win, Linux, Palm, Symbian, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Win phones, Pocket PCs and Palm. If you’ve bought an electronic device of pretty much any kind since 2000, they’ve got you covered.
Kindle: Amazon have Kindle apps for Mac, Win, iOS, Android, Blackberry and Win7 phones.
Nook [US only]: Barnes & Noble offer Nook apps for Win, Mac, iOS, Android and Blackberry.
If you don’t like these suggestions – or your device isn’t covered by this list – try searching the MobileRead forums for more recommendations. Those people know everything about eBooks and eReaders.
Help! I’m getting an error message / blank screen!
Most problems are with failed installs or incomplete downloads, so starting over from scratch is always your best bet. First, try checking the documentation for your device to make sure you’re loading the file properly. Second, re-download the original file and reinstall it on your machine according to the developer’s or manufacturer’s recommendations.
If the eBook still doesn’t work for you, the best way to get in touch is to leave a comment below or contact me on Twitter @devandclom and I’ll see if I can sort your issue.
Kindle-only: Most forums suggested that the best way to convert ePUBs to Kindle was via the aforementioned Calibre, so that’s what I did, using their generic Kindle output profile. Your best bet would be to download Calibre yourself, import the ePUB version and then connect your Kindle with Calibre. All you have to do is right click on the ePUB and select ‘send to my device’ and Calibre will autoconvert it for you [tutorial with pics].
The book cover looks squished/stretched on my screen
There are several specs for eBook covers, so I used standard ePUB dimensions for my device (590px by 750px) and the current Kindle default (600px by 800px). Most eReaders will scale the included image by default, but some may not.
On each eBook page, we offer the image files themselves so you can try importing them directly into your device. Hopefully, it should then know what to do with it.
There are, at Sept 2011, 116 different eReaders on the market and probably as many apps across all mobile platforms. It might well look marginally different on each of those, but I hope you agree that the content is worth the minor irritation.
How can I trust this thing? It might be a cunning plan to get spam on my phone. What kind of testing have you done on these?
They have been built to the ePUB published standards and checked for errors using Sigil‘s built-in validator.
The Kindle versions are tried on Kindle for Mac and Win. The ePUBs are mainly tested on a Kobo Touch, and in Calibre for Mac and Win, as well as Adobe Digital Editions for Mac, which is as horrible a piece of software as you’d ever want to use. I also road test them via Kindle and ePub apps on an iPad, an iPhone 4S, a BlackBerry Curve 9300, an iPhone 3GS and even a 1st Gen iPod Touch running iOS 3.
Some of our fabulous readers who follow us on Twitter also agreed to be user testers, so I have been able to test the files across various Android phones and tablets, as well as the Nook.
Why don’t you have an eBook version of [insert fic name]?
I’m working on converting all completed fics, starting with the Spashley one-shots, moving through them alphabetically. Next up will be the Spashley multi-chapter fics and finally the non-Spashley fics.
Have patience. It will happen.
I think your eBooks are totes awesome and I want to send you money. Where do I send the cheque?
You are obviously a person of taste and intelligence, so it hurts to have to turn your money down. If you really liked a particular fic, it would be great if you left a comment on the final (or only) chapter.
Who invented liquid soap and why?
Now you’re just being ridiculous. And that’s a quote from The Sure Thing anyway.