When it comes to e-readers on my iPhone and iPad, I can't seem to commit myself to one application wholeheartedly or exclusively.

That's not a bad thing, necessarily. I mean, I'd like my electronic reading material to be portable and accessible no matter the program I utilize. (I don't want to run into the problems faced by those who had their copies of 1984 revoked by Amazon. I dislike DRM in my books, just like I do in my music.)

Between my iPhone and iPad, I have the following e-readers installed: Google's Mobile App, Instapaper, Amazon Kindle, Stanza, iVerse, Panelfly, Marvel, Comixology, iBooks, Kobo, and the BN eReader.

I use all of them, truth be told, because my reading materials are saved in multiple file formats and are spread out across multiple devices. I read my RSS feeds using Google Reader (and I prefer my iPad for this.) For those "I should definitely read that later" articles, I use Instapaper. I have the first handful of issues of The Walking Dead on the Comixology app. I recently finished Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on the Kindle app. I love the idea of being able to share books with Barnes & Nobles eReader.

There are a number of ways in which you can load documents to e-reader apps on these devices.

Drag-and-Drop PDFs

Steve Jobs announced at WWDC yesterday that iBooks, Apple's iPad e-reader app, will be soon be available on iPhone as well and that the iBooks app would have the additional capability to read PDFs.

But in the meantime, there are other ways that you can install and read PDFs on your devices -- for free.

he Stanza app on the iPad, for example, will allow you to drag-and-drop PDFs from your desktop to your iPad.

Step 1: Connect your iPad to iTunes. Step 2: Select the device and the apps tab in iTunes. Step 3: Scroll to the bottom, where you can select Stanza. Step 4: Drag the PDFs to the iTunes screen then sync your device.

Add EPUB File to Library

You can download books in the EPUB format via a variety of websites, including Google Books and Project Gutenberg.

Apple's native iBooks app will read EPUB files, as will Stanza.

Step 1: Download the EPUB file. Step 2: Open iTunes, with the device connected. Step 3: From the File menu, Add File to Library, choosing the file that you've downloaded. Step 4: Sync your device, and open iBooks to read.

The different e-readers tout different features -- readability, catalogue, annotations, sharing, syncing -- and I really don't mind having multiple devices to choose from. I'll use alternately use the app that allows me to get the book the cheapest (or free!) or the one that lets me move the file from my computer to my mobile devices or the one that lets me take the best notes in the digital margins or the one that lets me share books with friends.

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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