How do I download an eBook?

Step 1: Install a free app

If you have a kindle, skip this step.

There are hundreds of eBook readers available. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. We can only tell you about the ones we've tried, but if you have another that works for you, please let us know, so we can share the information with others.

For an Apple device (iPhone, iPad, etc), go to the App Store and search for a reader. We have used iBooks and the Kindle App, but there are others. Overdrive, for example, is the platform most commonly used by public libraries for their eBooks and audio books, and will work with our eBooks. Download and Install the app.

For an Android device (Android phones and tablets), go to the Google Play Store (formerly known as Android Market) and search for a reader. We have used Aldiko Book Reader and the Kindle App, but there are others. Overdrive, for example, is the platform most commonly used by public libraries for their eBooks and audio books, and will work with our eBooks. Download and Install the app.

For a Nook, one tester recommends installing Adobe Digital Editions on your computer first.

Step 2: Download the eBook

Find the publication you want. If you have a mobile device, click on the epub link. If you have a kindle, click on the kindle link.

On most phones and tablets, you can download directly onto your device, once you have a reader app installed. For Kindles and Nooks (or if you try the download on your phone and it doesn't work) download the files onto your computer, and we'll transfer them in the next step.

Step 3: Install the eBook

If you downloaded the book directly onto your device

For most Apple products, you may be given a choice to select either "open in…" or "open in iBooks" which appears in a black tab at the top. Select Open in iBooks. For some Apple devices, the book will just appear in iBooks without any input from you.

For Android devices, click on the "Download complete" message. It should give you choices. For example, it may say "Import into Aldiko" and "Read with Aldiko." Select Import. If import is not an option, you may need to open your eBook reader and import it manually. Here are the directions from one tester for Aldiko: "When I first opened up the Aldiko reader it only showed the one downloaded book I had in the folder. I needed to hit the Home button on the reader that provided me a menu of Shelf View, Store, List View, My Catalog, SD Card and Last Read. I chose SD Card that listed all the folders on the SD Card. I browsed out to the eBook folder and selected the MA file. It asked if I wanted to upload, I said yes and it then appeared in the readers list or shelf view."

If you downloaded the book onto your computer

For a Kindle: Connect the Kindle to the computer with its USB cable. Navigate to the Kindle on your computer (it will show up as a drive letter) and copy the file into the /documents folder on your Kindle. "Safely remove" or eject the Kindle from the computer, and the book will be there!

For a Nook: Assuming you installed Adobe Digital Editions on your computer in step one, here are directions from a helpful tester: in Digital Editions you just have to press Ctrl-O or select "Add item to library" under the Library tab. Then you can select the epub files and read them in Digital Editions. Next, you just need to connect the Nook Color with your computer using the USB cable. If this is the first time using Digital Editions on that particular computer, you are prompted to authorize it for your Nook Color (requires setting up a free Adobe login). Once that is set, your Nook Color shows up in the Bookshelves section on the left side of Digital Editions as "MyNOOKcolor". Then you just click and drag the epub books over to MYNookcolor. Then you can eject the Nook color and find the books by pressing the Home key then selecting library -> my stuff -> my files -> Digital Editions.

For other devices: Connect the device to the computer with its USB cable. Navigate to the device on your computer (it will show up as a drive letter). Browse the device to determine the right folder for eBooks. Copy the file into the proper folder on your device. "Safely remove" or eject the device from the computer. Open your eBook reader. If you don't see the book, use the directions provided by the reader to import the book. For example, one tester who used Aldiko said, "When I first opened up the Aldiko reader it only showed the one downloaded book I had in the folder. I needed to hit the Home button on the reader that provided me a menu of Shelf View, Store, List View, My Catalog, SD Card and Last Read. I chose SD Card that listed all the folders on the SD Card. I browsed out to the eBook folder and selected the MA file. It asked if I wanted to upload, I said yes and it then appeared in the readers list or shelf view."

Using the EBooks

All the books have navigation aids and links. They are also searchable. How easy it is to navigate is largely dependent on the eBook reader and varies reader to reader. Some provide much better navigation than others. Read the documentation for your reader for assistance in navigation.

Produced by Adapted from the MA Trial Court Law Libraries
Created April 2013

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

Ask a Law Librarian

If it's
Monday-Friday
between
9am and 4pm