Category Archives: ebook

How to read an eBook – What to do with an ePub or mobi file

Hi there! So you like the idea of eBooks, but you’re not sure what to do with the files you’ve downloaded? Well, you’re in luck: I’m here to help!

When you purchase one of my eBooks, you get an email with download links. For each book there are two files: a PDF and an ePub file. We’ll get to Mobi files later.

PDF files preserve all the layout, which makes them ideal for printing. I’m not sure you’d want to print a couple of hundred pages, but you’re welcome to!
The problem is that PDF’s don’t scale well: the letters get smaller and smaller, so a PDF is hard to read on a tablet and impossible to read on a phone. It’s fine for laptops and desktops, though. You’re probably familiar with Adobe, but Foxit PDF reader is free and has a much smaller ‘footprint’. It’s also available as an app. Just save the PDF to Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud Drive and open it with Foxit.

ePub files are all about making the text easy to read on your screen, no matter the size. You can decide to change the font size, or even the font. ePub files are read with special reader apps. On an iPhone or iPad you can use iBooks. It’s free from the app store.

But wait! How do you copy the ePub file to iBooks?

There are two easy ways. The easiest is to use a Mac computer with an up to date version of OSX. In it you will find the iBooks desktop app. Just drag the file onto the desktop app and it should sync with your iPhone or iPad. ‘Should’ being the operative word here…

If it doesn’t, or if you don’t have access to a Mac computer, Dropbox is your friend. It’s free, it’s fantastic, GET IT NOW. Seriously. No sane person should be without it. Although this also works through Google Drive, iCloud Drive, WDMycloud and many other storage services. It will also work if you email yourself an attachment and go from there. The instructions below are broadly the same.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Go to and create an account. It’s free.
  2. Install Dropbox via the App store or the Google Play store. It’s free.
  3. Save the ePub file to Dropbox. You should even be able to do that if you’re on your phone, but I recommend going through a regular desktop computer. Ask your grandmother if you can borrow hers.
  4. Open Dropbox and find the ePub file. Dropbox won’t be able to display it, BUT… you can ‘export’ it to another location. (Top right, three dots). Export, don’t copy.
  5. On iOS, you can export to Mail, Notes, Messages, etcetera. But we don’t want that. We want to export to iBooks (make sure it’s installed on your phone!) but that’s probably not listed. No problem, just look for this icon:

This is from a phone set to Dutch. Imagine it says 'Open in...'

Now select iBooks and the ePub file should show up there. You won’t need to go through this again. At least, not for this book.

Great. So what about mobi files?

Mobi files are similar to ePub files, except they’re for Amazon kindles. You can get the Kindle app for free on your phone. Just export from Dropbox to there, as described above. You can convert the ePub file to Mobi format here, for free, without any hassle:

There are many, many ways to read eBooks. You may prefer different eReader software or different eBook formats. I can’t cover everything, but hopefully I’ve helped you on your way. Okay, now go and buy your first eBook!

Ron Dudderie

The self-service page is up

(This is the long, slightly rambling version of an email I sent out on December 30th 2016)

Good news, everyone!

I try not you bother you with vain entreaties, but then again: shaking the apple tree that is this email list really does tend to remind people there’s a book or two out there they’ve been meaning to buy. I’d happily do a weekly column on the state of the world if I thought it would help remind you of my books, but like the well-meaning idiot I am I have been plastering the promise of ‘low volume, no spam’ all over the site, wherever the sign-up box appears. And so I try to keep my word, even as my wife and newborn child are simply desperate for me to be able to afford a Tesla and I have no more moral obligations towards you all than a hungry dingo towards the Guild of Babysitters’ Code of Conduct. So this email is not about trying to sell you another book. Or your first one, for about 80% of you…

Now, as we find ourselves in the interbellum between Christmas and global nuclear annihilation because 62 million racist, sexist morons believed all the fake news on Facebook and/or just wanted to watch the world burn, you may want to settle in with a good book and forget your troubles. You may even want to revisit my books, if the store that sells good books is closed and mine are all you have to hand.

If you have lost the digital copy of the book(s) you purchased or if you would like to have an updated version of your purchase, you can now use the self-service section of my website to get a fresh, updated copy. For free.

It took me a while to set up, but it has been quietly available for some time now and I think it is ready for prime-time. So if you decide to revisit a book (and I know many of you do) you may want to have the most up to date version. Also, if you’re some sort of happy-go-lucky optimist who thought a phone or a tablet was a safe place to keep files you PAID FOR and you lost them, you’re gonna like this option as well.

Your journey, young Padewan, starts here:

I regularly update my books to fix typos, grammatical errors, sentences what that don’t are are running good and even to remove or alter minor details that are inconsistent with what I wrote in later books. It’s nothing major, really: no new jokes, no extra scenes. Just a smoother reading experience. It’s just that my English has improved somewhat after six books and so I keep finding things that need fixing. That’s the entire reason all my characters are Dutch, by the way: I thought it would give me an excuse to make some mistakes. But it doesn’t, really, because I still get helpful emails about the Oxford comma, polysyndectic coordination, compound words, the differences in international numeric notation, a billion ways UK English differs from US English (carburator/carburetor/carburettor/carburetter) and other such issues, which is a bit much for a guy who picked up his English mainly from watching Knight Rider with Dutch subtitles. Even so, keep ’em coming. I’m keen to learn.

Here’s a list of current versions:

Best Sister Ever: 1.1, last updated December 2016
An Audience With Carstairs: 1.5, last updated December 2016
And The Winner Is: 1.4, last updated December 2016
The Trials of Carstairs: 1.1, last updated December 2016
The Reluctant Guide: 1.7, last updated December 2016
The Most Hated Man: 1.8, last updated November 2016

You can look up the version number in your copy. It will be somewhere near the acknowledgements and it is mentioned in the receipt with the download links. Doesn’t really matter, though. Just get a fresh copy, what do you care? It’s free! Oh, ignore the numbering scheme. I simplified it. Best Sister Ever has actually gone through seven updates by now, even though it’s currently numbered 1.1. Some updates were just about two or three typos.

Want the latest version? All you need to know is the email address you used to make the purchase. Did you forget which one? Try as many times as you like: the website doesn’t care in the slightest.

As ever, I am here to help you if you run into any kind of problem. However, I am but one man and I live in time zone GMT+1, so it may be a few hours before I get back to you. Use rather than replying to this email, please.

There is one tiny bug: some of you bought bundles of books that I have since deleted. The bundles, not the books. Like the Best Sister Ever / An Audience With Carstairs bundle, which makes no sense today as there are now two more books in that series. I had no idea what the repercussions would be of deleting bundles, but what’s done is done.
In that case you may not see your purchase listed after going through this procedure. Never mind, because I can look it up via Paypal and restore the books to your account. Just send me an email if you think something is missing. All I need is the email you used to make a purchase, or the email associated with your Paypal account. (They’re not always the same.)

You can email me anyway, if you have a question, a comment, a joke or even if you just took a funny picture of your cat. I like cats.

Best Sinterklaas Ever

Best Sinterklaas Ever is a free, short story that can be read as a prequel to the Carstairs Series. It is set seven years before the events of Best Sister Ever and is told from the perspective of Kate, as she and her brother Martin have an insane adventure during the arrival of Saint Nicholas, friend to all children, in the Dutch city of Leiden.

However, I recommend you start with Best Sister Ever.

My short comedy story Best Sinterklaas Ever can be found as a free eBook download on iTunes books, on Amazon or here:

The reason I don’t offer it directly is because I need you to go through Amazon or iTunes Books so I get more downloads and more publicity there. It’s one of the few ways I have of getting some publicity.

However, Best Sinterklaas Ever is included in all Carstairs bundles. See the webshop for those.