Want to read books for free? You collect all e-books on your PC. Your phone (or tablet, or eReader) is your 'reading shelf' on which you only put the current titles. This article explains exactly how and why.


Calibre: the library on your PC

The PC is ideal for storing all your e-books. The free library program Calibre is an indispensable aid. You can download Calibre here.

It is recommended to create a separate directory/folder on your harddisk (eg c:\eBooks). First indicate in Calibre where all books should be saved, and only then start importing books. This way you can easily make a backup of your entire library.

Free e-books are not only available on Also check out Smashwords and Google Books, where you can download thousands of free e-books. Store newly downloaded books (temporarily) on your desktop. Then start Calibre and choose 'Import'. Then you can sort, filter, read, retrieve information or adjust it manually. Another way to find books is via the 'Get Books' button on Calibre's toolbar, after which you can choose from an impressive list of 'stores'.

I can import any .txt file or .doc file into Calibre and convert it into an ePub e-book, which I can then take with me on my phone.


The PC library lends ebooks to the Android reader

You connect your phone (or tablet or eReader) to the PC with a USB cable. Often you have to choose "file transfer" on the phone. In Calibre, choose Connect/Share and then find the folder with e-books on your phone (eg PocketBook). Then you can select books in the Calibre library and save them to the phone at the touch of a button. This way you always keep all original books on your PC. If something happens to the phone, you won't lose any books.

An alternative is to use storage space on the internet, such as Google Drive, DropBox, or OneDrive from MicroSoft. If you can view this storage space with your PC as well as with your tablet or smartphone, then it is a matter of uploading from the PC and downloading it to the device on which you want to read the books. Exchanging books with family and friends, via email or Whatsapp, is also quite easy. If one or more eReaders are installed on the phone, Android will ask which app should open this ePub file. App PocketBook then immediately makes a copy of the book in the PocketBook folder. Don’t forget to 'forward' the newly received books to the PC, where all originals are kept.


Apps for Android tablets and smartphones

If you search for 'ereader' in Google Play Store, for example, you will come across quite a few applications. We have tested many of them and have summarized the conclusions for you. The apps below can handle almost all common e-book file formats and are great to work with.

1. Our favorite is PocketBook: No advertising, very pleasant to work with, a nice app with all functions, available in every language, it has a 'reading function' (Text-To-Speech) in all languages, and a widget (with which you can last book or the last four opened books directly from your 'home screen'). We miss the possibility to read the blurb, but otherwise we could not find any flaws.