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Side-load and read your mobi ebooks on Kindle for iOS
User Rating:★☆☆☆☆ / 1
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 10:20

Inspired by my own article on side-loading ebooks on Kindle for Android I wanted to know how to do it for iOS-based devices like the iPhone, the iPad, or the iPod. It seems that the possibilities are on the one side different but on the other side somehow 'richer' compared to Android.

First of all, due to the 'walled garden' concept in iOS you can not simply hook up your device to your Mac or PC and transfer the files 'as-is'. This is the major difference to Android which is a huge drawback according to my perception but not too bad after all for the majority of users in general.

Furthermore, the various methods to side-load an ebook to your Kindle app have been evolved. Mainly because several hacks from the old days became obsolete due to updates on the app itself. This is pretty positive that the app developers over at Amazon are taking the feedback of their users into consideration and enable more features over the time.

Using iExplorer (previously known as iPhoneExplorer)

Several search results are pointing the forum threads what recommend to use a software called iExplorer in order to transfer your non-Amazon ebooks to your device. The important information in this scenario seems that the folder names vary between running iExplorer on a Mac or using it on a Windows PC:

  • Mac folder: Apps/Kindle/Documents/eBooks
  • PC folder: Apps/

Either way your book is going to show-up in your library. Most probably without a cover image.

But iExplorer seems to require the installation of iTunes which brings us to the situation that this method about iPhoneExplorer or nowadays iExplorer is actually obsolete. So, in case that you are only interested to side-load your Kindle titles to your iPhone, iPad or iPod don't bother yourself with the application. Otherwise, it's a great piece of software to control other parts of your devices, too.

Using iTunes

This might be the easiest version after all. Connect your device via USB, navigate within iTunes to Apps > File Sharing > Apps: Kindle > Kindle Documents and simply drag & drop your MOBIs from Mac Finder or Windows Explorer there. Or choose your files via the Add... dialog.

Transfer your .mobi files to your Kindle for iPad with iTunes
Transfer your .mobi files to your Kindle for iPad with iTunes

Of course, always assuming that you are actually having a Mac or Windows system at your fingertips. This looks completely different while running on Linux.

'Downloading' the ebook to your device

Since Kindle version 2.5 (~ November 2011) it is possible to use the registered app features directly on your device.

Access millions of free and out-of-copyright books from Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, and other online sources. Open supported files from Safari and Mail or use File Sharing in iTunes to transfer files to your Kindle app.

Sounds too good to be true?

While accessing .mobi files Safari offers a dialog to 'Open in Kindle'
While accessing .mobi files Safari offers a dialog to 'Open in Kindle'

No, it actually works pretty smart but as stated in the release notes it is somehow restricted to the native iOS apps like Safari or Mail. Unfortunately, I couldn't manage to download a file in mobi format from the Project Gutenberg web site in Chrome:

Chrome fails to open .mobi files for Kindle for iPad
Chrome fails to open .mobi files for Kindle for iPad

"Download Failed - Chrome cannot download this file. Error 102 (): Unknown File Type." - Thanks for that!

Amazon's Send to Kindle feature

As already mentioned in the Android experience your Kindle for iPad app or your Kindle for iPhone/iPod app has the ability to receive documents (in)directly through your Amazon's Cloud storage. Either you change to the tab 'Docs' (Kindle for iPad, might be different on iPhone/iPod) or you open the Settings menu in your Kindle app to discover your device-specific 'Send-to-Kindle Email Address'.

Lookup your 'Send-to-Kindle' Email Address in the Settings menu
Lookup your 'Send-to-Kindle' Email Address in the Settings menu

Next, send an email to that particular mail address with your MOBI file or any other kind of document as attachment. Wait for some minutes and synchronise your device.

All described methods are very simple to follow and sideloading your own Kindle ebooks on your Kindle for iPad app isn't really an issue anymore as it used to be in the past. Thanks to standard features in iTunes and the 'Send-to'Kindle' mail delivery you can quickly enjoy your books on any iOS-based device.

Happy reading!

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Taking web sites offline for demonstration on iPad
User Rating:★★★☆☆ / 2
Monday, 29 October 2012 17:06

This article is the iOS sequel to the initial article about how to prepare an offline version of your web site for the purpose of demonstration or for exhibitions: Taking web sites offline for demonstration. If you didn't read the original article, please take some minutes (5 to 10 maximum) to gain a better understanding on the following. Thanks.

I'm going to describe my steps using a new iPad (3rd generation) running on iOS 6. Originally, I did this procedure on iOS 5 which actually provides the same results. Due to a lack of hardware I'm not able to tell you whether this will work on the iPad mini, any iPhone (3, 4, 4S or 5), or an iPod touch. But probably it will just work as described here...

Put the prepared archive on your iOS device

Well, this is exactly where my headache started... Not only that iOS is more or less completely different to the desktop or Android experience, it is also the situation that you cannot simply transfer a ZIP archive to your device. For example, Safari just tells you that the URL cannot be processed/downloaded. Paff! Transfer via Bluetooth or WiFi? No way!

A quick research on either Google or Bing - you name it - reveals that it is necessary to have a 'reader/viewer' for ZIP files. Well, I guess it's just about having any kind of app which is registered for the mime type used in this case. Alright, following a couple of recommendations from various forums, I ended up with this selection of apps:

But after trying all of them we came to the conclusion that none was really capable to do the job as required by the original specification. The main problem we had was the lack of navigational buttons for Back, Forward, Refresh or Cancel.

Finally, finding Sites-2-Go HD

A second, slightly more intensive search then brought up this app: Sites-2-Go HD - you might also have a look at the Lite version prior to purchase to check the functionality and features. Compared to paid version there are some limitations and restrictions but for small sites still a good choice.

This app is your one-stop-shop to upload and display an offline version of your web site for demonstration purpose. I absolutely like the ease of handling. After all, it just takes you 4 simple steps from start to finish:

  • Start accepting files below 'Stored Sites / Upload'
  • Navigate with a browser on a desktop system to the IP address
  • Upload your ZIP archive onto your iPad
  • Select the Stored Site to launch your offline site

The result speaks for itself (screenshot of Sites-2-Go Lite - some images are left out on purpose):

Offline version shown in Sites-2-Go HD on iOS 6

The small amount of money spent on the full-featured app is well invested, and we are looking forward to supply more customers with this combination.

What do you think about this way? Are there any better solutions to do this?

Parallel universe: Android

Eventually, you might be curious about this episode might be on a new iPad running on iOS 6. If so, please feel free to read this article: Taking web sites offline for demonstration on Galaxy Tablet

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