How to Read an Electronic Book

When most people think of electronic books, they think of trillion-dollar companies and mobile tablet devices. It might surprise you to know the electronic book was invented long before our modern notions of e-commerce and mobile devices became popular. For example, the epub can trace its lineage back to 1999, when the OEB was first established. This happened only six years after the PDF format was first released.

Epub is the format I use for all of my works. It is not proprietary. It is easy to author and distribute and it is easy to read. I also make my books available to my readers without DRM, so you can install and read them on the device of your choice. All my electronic books validate to the epub3 standard before they are made available for distribution, so they should function identically on any device that can read them.

What is an ePUB?

An epub format book or “ebook” is technically a web site (made up of html pages, css styles and web-compatible images) contained in a specially-formatted zip file. You could extract the archive and open the book with your web browser if you prefer, but there is an easier way.

The best way to think about electronic books is that the epub (a file with an extension of .epub) is just a document. You use an e-reader application to open it in much the same way you open a .doc file with Microsoft Word or a PDF file with Adobe Acrobat.

The good news is there are numerous high-quality free e-reader applications available on both mobile devices and on PCs. If you have an iPhone or an iPad, everything is pretty much done for you. The Apple Books app uses epub as its native format. If it doesn’t open the book for you right away, just e-mail it to yourself. When you tap and hold on the attached book icon, you should have the option to share it to Apple Books.

On Android devices, you can use either the FBreader or the Moon+ Reader apps. Both are quite popular and give you many options for organizing your digital library. The Google Books App also uses epub as its native format.

On PCs (Linux, Mac or Windows), you can use the Calibre application. Once installed, Calibre will make all your .epub files double-clickable which will open them in a desktop e-reader. The application also has a multitude of other functions which will make your electronic books much easier to manage.

If you have a Kobo or Nook device, you can read epub format books on them as well.

If you have a Kindle device, you can read epub format electronic books on it. PC World has a helpful guide. Note that importing your epub to Kindle will convert it to a proprietary format which you likely won’t be able to convert back, so be sure keep a copy of the original.

My store has a cloud-based e-reader service called Bitbook, where you can read ebooks purchased from Getabook.Today without having to download or import them to a local e-reader application. For most titles, the downloadable epub and the Bitbook edition are delivered together, so you have the choice.

For the record, as copyright holder to any epub distributed by my bookstore at, you have my permission to make copies of books acquired from my store for personal use and to install or import those books to the device or devices of your choice. Why, you even have permission to share my books with your friends and family! (within reason, of course). As always, if you have questions, use the link above to e-mail. Black out.

Starships Universe Officers Club

How do you join the Officers Club? Simple. Use the comment area to respond to this post with your review of any of the sixteen Starships Universe books available on Selected reviews will be posted on book pages and linked to your listing in our new Officer’s Club Headquarters. Certain quotes just might end up in one of our upcoming video trailers.

In your review, please include your e-mail in the appropriate field (it won’t be published publicly), the name of the book and your rating from one to five. Decimal values are acceptable.

The only requirements are you have to be a subscriber and you can’t quote anything you’ve posted about the book elsewhere on the Internet. You are also granting me perpetual and universal permission to publicly perform, publish and display your reviews.

What do you get? Glad you asked! You get to choose your branch of service: Fleet or Marine. You get to choose which faction you want to join: Terran, Proximan, Sarn, Yersian, Kraken or Heretic. Officers will be issued a rank. Each review earns you a battle star. The more books you purchase, the more awards and promotions you’ll receive. When you reach a command rank, you get your own ship. Higher ranks get more powerful ships.

Everything you receive will be displayed for all to see on the Officers Club Headquarters. You’ll even get your own unique link so you can show off elsewhere on the web.

Rank has its privileges. Black out.

Digital Bookshelf Subscription Idea

As you all know, running a web server comes with regular expenses in the form of bandwidth, CPU usage and storage costs. For the time being, the Digital Bookshelf will be free. My intent has always been to offer my new Digital Bookshelf as a free service, but I also have a subscription model for it.

If I charged you $5 a month to be part of a premium readers club, and made the bookshelf one of the perks, and gave you a free book every month alongside an enhanced newsletter, would that be something you’d subscribe to?

Tell me what you think in the comments.

Introducing the Palace in the Sky Cloud Digital Bookshelf

Sideloading is a thing of the past!

Long have authors and bookstore owners searched for a way to get digital publications from their stores on mobile devices without putting their readers through the technical challenge of copying files from computer to phone or tablet. While some PC manufacturers make things easy, most don’t, and navigating your way through the file system on a phone or tablet can be perplexing even for someone with a lot of technical experience.

Those days are over. The Palace in the Sky Bookstore is pleased to introduce one of our new featured cloud services, The Digital Bookshelf.

We use a technology called the Open Publication Distribution System to maintain a list of books purchased by our bookstore customers. We make that list available to customers using reading apps like Moon+ Reader.

OPDS works very much like an RSS feed. When you buy a book from our bookstore, you get a personalized feed from our cloud server containing all your books. Your feed is automatically updated with each book you’ve purchase plus any free offers you’ve redeemed. You can read your books online or download them to your device.

Moon+ Reader is an excellent choice for reading our EPUB3 premium digital books on Android devices. It works well on phones and is particularly impressive on all flavors of Android tablets with a side-by-side reading mode and high-definition display. Our books have never looked better!

Like most EPUB reader apps, Moon+ also has a catalog display feature which is seamlessly compatible with our new Digital Bookshelf. Readers can download books from their cloud bookshelf and then import them all at once or one at a time. Imported books show up in your catalog and can be read offline at any time.

If you have an iPhone or an iPad, your titles should download from the Digital Bookshelf and be automatically imported by iBooks. I haven’t had a chance to test this yet, however. If you have an iPhone or iPad and you’d like a free book or two, drop me a line and help me test the service!

Our Digital Bookshelf Cloud Service is now in beta. The Palace in the Sky Bookstore can now do everything the big retailers can. When you buy a book, you can download it immediately. It will be automatically added to your Digital Bookshelf if you would rather download it later.

We’re including a Digital Bookshelf trial with all purchases for a limited time. If you’d like to try it out, send me an e-mail and we’ll get you signed up! For updates on this and all bookstore news, be sure to join my mailing list!