You’ve won a digital book! Now what?

I’ve done a few giveaways… not too many, but enough to come across a few problems. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been lucky to have quite a few indie/small press authors sponsor giveaways at Ramblings of an Amateur Writer. For most authors in this category, digital books are hot. In fact, many don’t even bother publishing print versions. As a result, many of the giveaways I tend to offer here feature digital works.

Alas, not everyone has a Kindle, Nook, or other eReader. Fear not, my readers! There are ways for you to still read that delicious book, eReader or not. Plus, if you receive a digital gift in a format incompatible to your eReader, I may even have the solution to that.

Kindle Gifts

If you receive a Kindle gift, it’s actually associated with your Amazon account. So if you claim it, it’ll go into Your Kindle Library, which is maintained by Amazon. When you do get a Kindle, you’ll be able to select the reads you want uploaded to your Kindle through Your Kindle Library screen. In fact, I believe you have the option to load your complete library onto your Kindle once you get one. All you have to do is associate your Kindle with your account. Cool deal, cause you don’t have to worry about your goodies getting lost.

When you win: Provide the Amazon email you use to sign into Amazon, not the @kindle.com or @free.kindle.com provided by Amazon. Wait for the Kindle Gift email and follow the instructions to claim your prize.

Smashwords Coupon

Smashwords coupons are great! Most authors offer their books in a variety of formats through Smashwords (pdf, mobi, ePub, html, you name it). If you have an eReader, chances are you’ll find your format here.

When you win: Sign up for Smashwords if you don’t already have an account. It’s free, and you don’t have to have a payment method on file for free eBooks. Go to the book link and click the “add to cart” button. In the next screen, you’ll see a box where you can add your coupon code. Do it! Then click update. From there you can check out and follow the download instructions.

No Kindle?

Amazon has kindle applications that allows you to read mobi files on your computer, iPad, iPhone, etc. You can find the applications here: Kindle Application

So even if you don’t have a Kindle you’re good to go. If you load any of the works on your Kindle application, you can still load the same work on your Kindle when you purchase one. I used the computer application for quite some time before I picked up a Kindle. Sometimes I still use the Kindle application to check formatting issues. Amazon syncs works to both my Kindle and my computer application.

No eReader at all?

No problem. ePub seems to be the most common format. Like Amazon, most book distributors who offer eReaders also provide apps for the computer and other devices. I’m just going to mention threes places to get apps for ePub, since I’ve used these three myself. Nook, Sony Reader, and Adobe Digital Edition.

Incompatible format? Try Calibre

You received a Kindle gift but have a Nook, or received an ePub file but have a Kindle. That sucks! Well, it doesn’t have to. There’s a conversion program called Calibre which is free. You can find information on that here: Calibre. Many authors these days are offering their works DRM-free. All of my works are DRM-free except for Brandon’s Story on Amazon and maybe B&N. So if you receive an incompatible format which is DRM-free, you can run it through Calibre to convert it to a format readable by your eReader.


So that’s the low-down, my reading buddies. If you win a eCopy, there’s no reason to make winning awkward for all by asking for substitutes or special accommodations. Simply try one of the solutions above.

Anyone else want to share advice on digital books and compatibility?

0 thoughts on “You’ve won a digital book! Now what?

  1. Pingback: Romancing Christmas Giveaway Hop (December 10-16) ยป Ramblings of an Amateur Writer

  2. I like to give away Smashwords coupons, but I have definitely come across Kindle folks who give me a blank look (digitally speaking) at the idea of not simply being able to press a button at Amazon and have their ebooks automatically delivered to their e-readers. ๐Ÿ˜› I’ll usually do an Amazon gift copy if someone wants one, but that does cost the author money, so it’s definitely appreciated when folks can use the Smashwords option. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I do quite a few Kindle Gifts, but I’m feeling fussy these days with Amazon. I plan to use Kindle Gifts less often and push for Smashwords. It’d be nice for Smashwords to take hold. Fewer games.

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