Read Take Control of Preview to discover Preview’s hidden features for editing images and manipulating PDFs.

The PDF of any Take Control ebook can be read in any PDF-reading app, including the free Preview app that comes with the Mac and the free Adobe Reader for Mac or Windows. The Take Control series is also available in the EPUB and Mobipocket (MOBI) formats (except for a few old titles). These formats are sometimes preferable on mobile readers such as the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Kindle, and Nook. The table just below may fully answer your question, or you can continue reading below for extended details.

Quick Summary

To Do This with an EbookOn a Mobile DeviceOn a Mac or Windows Computer

Download from receipt Web page

After your successful purchase, click the button(s) on the receipt page to download to your Web browser, in a new tab.

Once the download is done, in iOS, keep tapping to move the ebook to an app.

You can also download to the Kindle Fire.

After your successful purchase, click the button(s) on the receipt page to download to your browser’s default download folder.

Download after closing the receipt Web page

In iOS, click the orange My Books button to see your library, and click a download icon in your library.

For other devices, look below in this table.

Use the download link in your email receipt.

Or, log in to your Take Control Ebooks account, click the orange My Books button to see your library, and click a download icon in your library.

Transfer from Mac or Windows to an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch

Use iTunes to transfer between the iTunes Books library and the iBooks app.

Or, copy into an app using lower portion of Apps pane in iTunes.

Or, use a cloud service such as Dropbox. EPUB expert Liz Castro explains how to do this in her article Sideloading ebooks with Dropbox, and her directions work for EPUBs, PDFs, and MOBIs.

Transfer from Mac or Windows to a Kindle

Use Amazon’s Send to Kindle for Mac (PDFs only, at the moment), or Send to Kindle for PC.

Or, for the Kindle Fire, read Adam’s TidBITS article, How to Download EPUB, PDF, and Mobipocket to the Kindle Fire.

Transfer to a Kobo

We don’t have in-house experience with the Kobo, but the directions on the Kobo Web site look useful.

Transferring a Take Control Book to iOS

If you didn’t download an ebook to your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch device directly from the cart, you have several options for transferring the ebook to your device.

Ad Hoc Reading in a Web Browser

From your iOS device, visit the Take Control Web site and log in to your account (the login fields are at the top of the site or try the special login page). If you are not on your Take Control Library page, tap the orange Your Books button at the top of the page. From your library page, tap the book’s PDF icon.

All ebooks that you’ve purchased through the Take Control cart are available to you here. You can also (usually) add Take Control ebooks that you’ve purchased elsewhere, perhaps through Amazon or Apple, or through Objective Development, DEVONtechnologies, or Smile. Or, maybe you won an ebook in a MUG raffle. To add a book, first make sure you are already logged in, then open your ebook, and second tap the Ebook Extras (or Check for Updates) button on the cover. If your ebook is in a non-PDF format, look in the Read Me First for help. (If all else fails, ask us for help!)

Adding A Book to an App’s Storage Area

To put a book into an app on an iOS device, use Safari to log in and access the book as described just above, except that you can download any format—tap the icon for the format that you want:

  • PDF: Notice that the PDF opens in Safari. To put it in an app (such as iBooks), tap the Share icon to get a Share sheet and then tap Open in. The “Open in” options will vary depending on which format you’ve downloaded and what ebook-reading software you’ve installed; ebook-reading apps include iBooks, Readdle, Kindle, PDFpen, and GoodReader, among many others.
  • EPUB: The EPUB doesn’t open in Safari. To add it to iBooks, tap Open in iBooks. To add it to some other app, tap Open In.
  • Mobipocket: The EPUB doesn’t open in Safari. When we tested this, Safari offered us an Open in Kindle link. We aren’t sure whether you’ll get that link if you don’t already have the Kindle app installed.

(The above directions are for iOS 8. If you have an older version of iOS, once you’ve downloaded your ebook to Safari, if the “Open in” controls don’t appear automatically, tap the Safari screen to reveal them. To download a PDF into Safari, you must be running iOS 4 or later. To download an EPUB, you must be running iOS 4.3.1 or later. At some point in iOS 4 or iOS 5, Apple added this option for Mobipocket, too.)

Dropbox Tip: If you’ve manually placed your ebooks in a Dropbox folder, you can access them in the Dropbox app on your iOS device. In fact, in iOS 8, Dropbox can display a PDF file so that you can read it right in Dropbox. Or, you can copy your file from Dropbox to an iOS app, such as Apple’s iBooks. In iOS 8, tap the Share icon near the upper right (it’s a box with an arrow sticking up out of it) to see a Share sheet; from there, tap Open In.

Older versions of the Dropbox app can’t display PDFs, but you can “open” a PDF in Dropbox and then tap the Share icon to get the “Open In” controls and then tap one of the options that appears, such as iBooks.

Using iTunes on Your Computer to Transfer Books to iBooks

You might have the ebook file on your computer because you downloaded it from a link on your eSellerate receipt, or through various special scenarios. Once you have the PDF or EPUB on your computer, you can load it into iBooks using iTunes:

  • On a Mac running 10.9 Mavericks or newer: First, drag the file into the iBooks app. Next, launch iTunes. (These directions assume iTunes 12.) Select your iOS device in the left-hand portion of the navigation bar (near the top of the screen). In the left-hand sidebar, select Books. Enable the checkbox for the ebook and then click Sync.
  • On a Mac running 10.8 Mountain Lion or earlier, or on a Windows PC: First, drag the file into the Books section of your iTunes library (or choose File > Add to Library). Then, select your device in the iTunes sidebar and click the Books tab. In Books, enable the checkbox for the ebook and then click Apply. In iBooks, if you can’t find the synced ebook, try looking in a different Collection.

More about EPUBs

When the Take Control series began in 2003, we were a PDF-only shop. When alternative formats became possible, we initially outsourced making EPUB and Mobipocket versions of the ebooks. This was good because the conversions were made, but it took longer than we’d prefer and the formatting wasn’t customized to the Take Control look and feel. All those EPUBs (and Mobipockets) remain available.

In early 2011, we converted our authoring and production process so that as we created updates and new ebooks, we could release those titles as PDFs and EPUBs at the same time, and with formatting that we chose, though we still outsourced the Mobipockets.

In 2013, we once again modified our process so that we can make PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket formats in house.

PDF vs. EPUB/Mobipocket

We choose the fonts, spacing, and other visual aspects of the PDF to provide an excellent onscreen reading experience, and we think it looks nice on the iPhone and iPod touch and gorgeous on the iPad. The PDF, like all PDFs, has a page-based layout in which a page break operates as a visual element. In contrast, the EPUB and Mobipocket versions are “reflowable,” meaning that you can customize the type and the text will reflow to fill your screen accordingly. Tables, captions, sidebars, and other complex visual elements may reflow oddly, and we have no control over that.

Reading a Take Control Ebook on a Kindle

Kindle Fire

To learn about ebook readers and transferring files to a Kindle Fire, read Adam’s TidBITS article, How to Download EPUB, PDF, and Mobipocket to the Kindle Fire.

Kindle 2 and Kindle DX

The Kindle 2 and DX support the PDF format, so you can move PDFs from your Mac to the Kindle via USB and read them without doing a conversion. We have tried this on the Kindle DX with the Take Control PDFs and the Macworld Superguide PDFs, and in both cases we think they look great! The Take Control PDFs use a fairly large type size, so they squish down to the Kindle DX’s screen size in a wonderfully legible way (we don’t have a Kindle 2 to check; our original Kindle still can’t read PDFs without conversion). Regrettably, in the PDFs, bookmarks do not appear on the Kindle DX and internal links and Web links do not work.

You can also use Amazon’s Send to Kindle for Mac (PDFs only, at the moment), or Send to Kindle for PC.

Read the TidBITS article, Reading Take Control Ebooks on an iPad (or iPhone or iPod touch) to learn how to get Mobipocket versions of your Take Control ebooks and load them on your Kindle.

Kindle 1

You can follow the advice below to convert your PDF, but you’ll get a better layout if you use the Mobipocket version of your ebook, as described in the TidBITS article, Reading Take Control Ebooks on an iPad (or iPhone or iPod touch).

You can convert any Take Control ebook PDF to the Kindle format with Amazon’s email conversion service: log in to your account, follow the “Manage Your Kindle” link, and configure your Kindle email address. Once that’s done, simply email the PDF as an attachment and Amazon will do the conversion. There is a small charge, and the pricing seems to be changing over time, but at present the cost is .15 cents per MB (most Take Control ebook PDFs are under 5 MB in size). Amazon has posted complete details on their Web site.

You can also use Amazon’s Send to Kindle for Mac (PDFs only, at the moment), or Send to Kindle for PC.

Here’s how the converted ebook looks and performs on the Kindle 1:

  • On the pro side, the PDF is reasonably legible and the graphics come through well, as do special characters and character-level formatting including bold, italics, and special type for Unix commands or text the reader should type.

  • The blue internal links that help with internal navigation don’t work and the notion of a page is vague, so the page-number cross references are helpful but not exact. However, not being able to skip around might lead to reading more fully and linearly, thus gaining a deeper understanding of the topic.

  • Web URLs can’t be “clicked” to open their Web pages (though even if they did, Web page display on the Kindle is poor). In particular, the Check for Updates button on the cover doesn’t work.

  • Further problems fall in the realm of formatting: some covers convert poorly, heading formatting is sometimes wacky, tables are often unusable, and the formatting around small graphics is often odd.

Keep your PDF so you can access the Check for Updates Web page, since it may have interesting post-publication news or access to an updated PDF.

Take Control and TidBITS in the Kindle Store

Through our partnership with O’Reilly Media, many older and all new ebooks going forward are available in the Kindle Store. However, if you are a regular Take Control customer, and if you want your Take Control ebooks integrated with your Take Control account, we suggest that you purchase them through us so that your ebook can be registered to you efficiently. Also, we are offering TidBITS (Mac and Internet news, reviews, and analysis) on the Kindle, so that readers can get some of our content natively on the Kindle and so we can become more adept with the Kindle’s limited formatting options.

Reading a Take Control Ebook on a Nook

Although I’ve tried my teenage cousin’s Nook briefly during a family party, I’ve yet to get one of my own and try the Take Control ebooks on it. In the last week of December 2010, I did get an interesting email message from Joseph G. about the Nook. Here’s what he wrote:

“I’m a long time Take Control buyer/user, and I recently bought a Kindle. I loaded all my Take Control books onto it but the reading experience, being black-and-white, was not good. I returned the Kindle and bought a Barnes&Noble NookColor. I was able to load all my Take Control books on the nook with no problems, and the reading experience is now very good. I can have my Take Control ebooks with me all the time, in full color. Being that it is a PDF and not in the correct nook ebook format, the links don’t work so if you could look into that and possibly make a nook version of your ebooks it would be greatly appreciated.”

I suggested that Joseph try the EPUB versions of his Take Control ebooks, and he wrote back to say that the EPUB worked nicely and to share his interesting reasoning for purchasing the NookColor:

“The EPUB versions of the Take Control books work very well. The links work, and I’d recommend the NookColor as a great format for reading Take Control books. I know that there will probably be an explosion of tablet devices in the next few months but I took a chance on the NookColor because it seems to fit well in the “gap” between my iMac and 13” MacBook Pro. Rather than get a more expensive tablet like the iPad or Samsung Galaxy (both over $500) I chose cost as one factor among others. The NookColor is $240, is a touchscreen device, color (big advantage over the Kindle), can connect to my Macs via USB, and has the connection to Barnes&Noble. While in any Barnes&Noble, I can connect to their WiFi and read any book in the store up to an hour a day. I can put Word documents on it, pictures, play games (just a few), and surf the web. The OS is Android so I’m hoping since Android can do a lot more than is now available on the Nook, that it’s Android capabilities will be upgraded, but it is still mainly a book reader.”