How to Organize your Ebooks and Read them on Your Reader/Phone


We’re in the middle of this HUGE Homemaking Bundle Ebook sale, where you can buy 97 ebooks for just $29.97–everything that you need to organize your home, parent your kids, cook, and even nurture your marriage (my 31 Days to Great Sex is in there)! (See a list of ALL the books in yesterday’s post).

This Bundle sale is now over, but the awesome people at the Ultimate Bundles website offer about 6 bundles a year on different topics--and it's always about $1000 worth of digital products for $29.97. Sign up to be notified of the next bundle! (They have homemaking, digital photography, healthy living, work at home business, and more!

I made a quick video talking about the sale here:

If you haven’t purchased it already, you can here!

But one question that many people have is, “how do I read ebooks?”

We keep hearing the term “ebook”, but what exactly is it? And how do I “read” a book if it’s a computer file?

So I thought that I’d spend a bit of time explaining how I do it, and how I organize all my stuff.

Ours is a Mac house, so if you have a PC, some of my screen shots may not look exactly the same. But it’s pretty much the same concept. I also have an iPad, and my kids and my husband have Kindles. My husband also has an iPhone. And my kids have iPod touches. And we all read ebooks on all of those devices.

Full confession: I thought I would HATE reading books on devices.

I mean, I like turning the pages. I like being able to skip ahead and seeing what’s going to happen easily (it’s a bit more of a pain to turn to the last page in a novel on a device). I’m a book purist.

And I still do buy books that I love. Some books I just have to have in paperback.

But when I’m traveling, I love my iPad (or I borrow my husband’s Kindle 3G, which can download books without needing an internet connection anywhere in the world. So when I’m in the airport on a missions trip in Kenya, I can download a novel right then and there. When I’m sitting on the beach in Mexico, and I’m finished a book, I can get a new one right away.) It’s awesome!

And when we do go overseas, we pack so much to leave behind in donations that we can’t afford the luggage space for books. So a Kindle, which can carry thousands of books at no extra weight, is ideal.

But I also read books on devices at home, for the simple reason that sometimes I want a book, and I want it NOW (because I’m just like that), and I can purchase them and download them and get them right away.

What kind of ebooks are there?

So what exactly is an ebook? Well, there are several different kinds. Let’s take my book The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex, for instance. It’s available in paperback, just like most books are. But you can also buy it in electronic format. Because it’s published by an actual publisher, and not self-published, though, if you want to read it on a device you have to buy it specifically for that device. So you buy it FOR the Kindle, or FOR the Nook, at Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.

Here’s the thing about ereaders, like the Nook, or the Kindle, or the Kobo: they’re designed to only take books from their particular store. So Amazon sells books for the Kindle, but you can’t read them on the Nook. And Barnes and Noble sells books for the Nook, but you can’t read them on a Kindle. They do that so that when you buy a Kindle, you’re basically locking yourself in to buying ebooks from Amazon for the rest of your life.

When you buy a self-published book, though, like my 31 Days to Great Sex, you can certainly buy it for your device at Amazon, or at Barnes and Noble, or at Chapters. And it will be sent to  your device automatically.

But because I self-publish, I also sell a .pdf version through my website. A .pdf is simply a file that can be read on ANY device.

So when you buy a .pdf, you can read it anywhere. On your computer. On your phone. On your iPad, or Kindle, or Nook.

The Homemaking Bundle sells books in .pdf form, so you can read them on anything.

Are ebooks just as good as regular books?

Well, many ebooks ARE regular books, just sold in electronic format. Other ebooks are self-published, and often aren’t as long as a “regular” book, but contain very specific information that you’re looking for.

EasyPeasyChoresFlat_CroppedSo one of my absolute favourite books in the bundle, for instance, isn’t really a book at all. I may dedicate a whole post to this on Thursday, because it’s a passion of mine, but I just love Easy Peasy Chore Charts.

These are “printables”, with some instructions on how to use them. But basically she has these folders with “cards” in them, and the cards are for morning routine, and afternoon routine, and cleaning routine, and the kids take the cards and do what’s on them, and then they place them in Mom’s folder so that she can check.

And the cards are visual representations of what they’re supposed to do. So they’re fun, and they’re easy, even for little kids who can’t read yet.

So is it a book? No. But it’s an awesome resource!

Other .pdf files in the bundle ARE books that you would read, just like a regular book, with awesome information.

And one of the big benefits of ebooks is that sometimes you want more information, but you don’t have room to store it.

Seriously, this is my living room:

Living Room1

(and by the way, another blogger friend and I made a pact that we would NOT clean up our homes before showing you pictures of something, just so that you know that we’re real people to! So yes, I know that plant needs some care.)


I don’t have room for more books! So I only buy the ones I want to have to lend or to refer to, and the rest I tend to buy in ebook format now.

Organizing Your Ebooks

I set up a file on my computer just for ebooks.

I subdivided that file into different categories, and now, when I get an ebook, I slot it into the right category. I also have a folder just for printables (like the Easy Peasy Chore Charts), because I know I’ll never want to put those on my iPad, for instance. Those are just for printing out.

iPad and iPod and iPhone

The two easiest ways to get books onto your iPad, in my opinion, are these:

1. Email them to yourself as an attachment

2. Use Dropbox

If you email it to yourself, and then attach the .pdf, you can just tap on the attachment and choose “open in iBooks”.

Here’s what we did for 31 Days to Great Sex. Tap on the attachment, and the book cover will come up.


Then you get the option to open in iBooks. Click that, and it moves the book to iBooks so you have books on your bookshelf, like this:

31 Days in iBooks

You can also use Dropbox, which is free up to 3 GB of data, I believe. You just get an account on your computer, and then you download the Dropbox app for your iPad, and you can always be synced. Here’s my Dropbox folder for all the books in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, for instance:

Dropbox Organizing Ebooks

One downside: this only works if you have a wifi connection. No wifi connection, and no ability to access the books on your device.

You can also “sync” your iPad, but I, in general, find that a pain. If you’re good at that, then you can sync your books that way. I just hate Apple’s way of syncing. I’m always afraid I’ll mess something up. So I like emailing much better!

Putting Books on a Kindle, Nook, or Kobo

All you have to do is plug your device in to your computer! Then the computer looks at the device as if it’s an external drive, and you can just copy and paste all of the books over.

Here’s a quick video on how to move a .pdf onto a Nook, but it works the same for all the devices.

If you have a Kindle, you also have a unique email address that goes with your Kindle. So if you go into your Amazon account, you can get that email address. And then you can email .pdfs as attachments right to that email, and it will show up on your Kindle!

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 9.23.36 AM
Just go into “Manage Your Devices”, and then you’ll see the email address right there.

Managing Your Books on Your Computer

I get sent so many books to review, and now I have all the books in the Homeschooling Bundle. And I was forever hunting around for them! So I simply set up a folder for all of my ebooks, with sub-folders for all of the topics. And now if I want to find something (like a novel), it’s easy.

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 9.28.24 AM

There, for instance, you can see 31 Days to Great Sex!

So I have all of my books in one easy place.


So that’s it. It’s actually way easier than you think.

Like the book 10 Steps to Organized Paper says (which comes in your Ultimate Homemaking Bundle), sometimes the best way to organize things is to make them electronic! And ebooks do that. So just put them in folders like you would normal paper so they’re easy to find, and you can get reading!

This Bundle sale is now over, but the awesome people at the Ultimate Bundles website offer about 6 bundles a year on different topics--and it's always about $1000 worth of digital products for $29.97. Sign up to be notified of the next bundle! (They have homemaking, digital photography, healthy living, work at home business, and more!



  1. Very helpful article, who knew my kindle had an e-mail address! :-) Thank you!

    • I know! I didn’t realize that either until I started looking into how to move some of these books over to my husband’s Kindle!

  2. Happy Mother’s Day to me!!!!!

    This is so exciting! I have two of these books already, but I’ll gladly pay for them again to get the rest! SO excited to read these and try out the different services. Whoever decided to team up and do this had quite the idea! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  3. Hello! I have a “original” Kindle… not the fancy ones with touch screens or color capability :) Can I still look at these ebooks on my kindle?

    • You should b able to! My husband and daughter have the old version, too. I’m not sure how well they handle pictures, but they certainly do handle text fine.

  4. I have several of the ebooks too but will buy the whole bundle to get the rest!

  5. Thanks soooo much for doing this post and walking us through how to put these books where we will actually READ them. I’ve had trouble transfering things between my PC laptop and iPhone, but this was super easy.

    I had already bought your pdf copy of 31 Days to Great Sex back in February for my husband. So could I print off this one that came with the bundle and give it as a gift?

  6. Thanks for this article! I, too, was a skeptic at first but as a missionary in Germany, English books- especially Christian literature- are not readily available. I couldn’t live without my Nook!!
    Krista Cannon recently posted…German Culture: Maibaumsetzen (Setting up the May Pole)My Profile

    • Sheila says:

      My pastor recently went to Spain as a missionary, and I’m going to send him a Kindle with a gift certificate. I think for Christian workers overseas, where you just can’t cart all those books across the ocean, ereaders are such a blessing!

  7. I ordered this ebook bundle, and there are so many great books included!!! I’m getting ready to go out of town with my hubby for a few days, and I’ll have tons of books to read on my Kindle while we fly. :) Woohoo!
    Wendy recently posted…Teaching Kids To Read Without Really Teaching!My Profile

  8. I have been linking to this post all day. I use re read it and saw you quoted ME at the bottom! How cool! Thanks!

    Lisa {10 Steps to Organized Paper}

  9. Some of these “books” use mp3. How do I download them? To what do I download them? I am also having trouble downloading The No-Brainer Wardrobe and the Armor of God files. Fox-it worked for some files.

    Thank you for this! What a lot of good reading!

  10. This is a lot of work for no reason. Download Calibre (free). And you’re done organizing. It has tags, and a database for easy book searches. You can even sync it to Dropbox, goodreads, your devices — pretty much anything. If you want, you can set it to strip the DRM with a 3rd party plug in so you’re not stuck with one device.

    And the fact that you use iBooks made me squint too. Try bluefire reader or Marvin. Worlds better.

  11. I bought the bundle but I’ve had trouble putting the books on my Kindle. For now I’ve just been reading on my PC, but I’d like to be able to take the books with me.

    I tried emailing them to my kindle, but as PDF’s, it shrinks the page to fit my kindle screen. I can zoom in but then I have to scroll left to right as I read each line of text, which ends up being more stressful than anything else. I’ve heard people say that you can convert PDF’s to a kindle format but I haven’t been able to figure that out. Would you happen to know how to go about doing that?
    Rachel Self recently posted…My Mission for CleaningMy Profile

    • Have you tried using Calibre? That’s an awesome free program that lets you change the format of all kinds of different ebooks so that you can read them on different readers. I’ve used it and loved it. You can find it here:

  12. Hi Sheila

    Would appreciate some help – I came across the picture of a screen snapshot of your Mac on this post.
    Been trying to enable that option – of opening sub-folders from left to right like yours, rather than opening new windows each time I double click on a folder.
    How did you go about doing this – would you know the settings?

    Thank you for any help – Amanda

    • Sure, Manda. You go to Finder, and then at the top bar it says “View” and there are four pictures. Pick the third one in that looks like a horizontal rectangle with a bunch of lines. That should work!

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