All our books come in three downloadable ebook formats (PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket a.k.a MOBI); the PDF format is also available as a compressed Zip file. (For more on these formats, see About Our Ebook Formats, later on this page.) You can download any or all of these, and can read them on almost any device. Which format(s) you choose depends partly on which device you plan to read it on, partly on which app you prefer to use, and partly on personal preference. This page helps you understand the options and transfer our books to the places where you want them to be.
Viewing Our Ebooks on a Mac or PC
Begin by downloading the ebook to your computer:
- Download it from the “order complete” email: When you buy a Take Control book, we immediately send you an email message with the subject “Your Take Control Books order is now complete.” (Don’t see it? Please check your spam folder.) This message contains download links for the book(s) you just purchased. Depending on which browser you use, you may also see download links on screen.) Open that message on your computer and click the format you want—PDF, EPUB, MOBI, or PDF (Zip)—to download that format onto your computer using your default browser. Plain PDFs normally display within your browser window; other formats go into your default Downloads folder. From there, you can open them in the app of your choice (such as Preview, PDFpen, or Acrobat Reader DC for PDFs; or Books/iBooks or Calibre for EPUBs).
- Download it from your Take Control Library: You can always go to your Take Control Library page to download any book you’ve purchased from us. If you’re not already logged in, enter the email address you used to make the purchase and your password. If you don’t know your password, don’t worry: go to our password reset page. Enter your email address there and we’ll send you a link you can tap to set or change your password. Once again, the book either appears right in your browser (plain PDF) or goes to your default Downloads folder.
Double-clicking a book opens it in the default app for that file type, assuming you have it installed. On a Mac, unless you’ve changed your settings, Preview is the default app for PDFs, Books/iBooks is the default for EPUBs, and Kindle is the default app for MOBI files. You can also open books on a Mac by dragging them onto the appropriate app’s Dock icon, or—in most cases—dragging it into the app’s window.
Viewing Our Ebooks on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch
There are many ways to get one of our books onto your device so you can read it there in the app of your choice (such as Apple Books or Kindle):
- Download it from the “order complete” email: When you buy a Take Control book, we immediately send you an email message with the subject “Your Take Control Books order is now complete.” (Don’t see it? Please check your spam folder.) This message contains download links for the book(s) you just purchased. Depending on which browser you use, you may also see download links on screen.) Open that email message on your mobile device and tap the format you want—PDF, EPUB, MOBI, or PDF (Zip)—to download that format onto your device using your default browser. (Be sure to see “Downloads in iOS 13/iPadOS 13 or later,” below.)
- Download it from your Take Control Library: You can always go to your Take Control Library page to download any book you’ve purchased from us. If you’re not already logged in, enter the email address you used to make the purchase and your password. If you don’t know your password, don’t worry: go to our password reset page. Enter your email address there and we’ll send you a link you can tap to set or change your password. (Be sure to see “Downloads in iOS 13/iPadOS 13 or later,” below.) Note: Do not attempt to download our books using the built-in browser in 1Password for iOS/iPadOS. It does not handle file downloads properly. Use Safari or another standalone browser instead.
Downloads in iOS 13/iPadOS 13 or later: If you tap PDF in the email message or in your Library, the book will display in your browser, but it won’t be saved on your device unless you tap the Share icon and then tap Save to Files (to save it in the Files app), or tap a different option to save it to another location.
IMPORTANT! In iOS 13/iPadOS 13 and later, downloads in other formats go directly to the Files app. Open Files to see the downloaded book(s). (If you don’t see the book(s), tap iCloud Drive under “Locations” and then tap Downloads.) Tap a book there to open it in the appropriate app. For EPUB, Books is the default choice. (Note: On an iPad in landscape orientation, you must first select the file, then tap the Open button. On an iPad in portrait mode, or an iPhone, just tap the file.) Once the book is in Books, it should sync automatically to the Books app on all your other devices; see the next bullet point if it does not. If the book is in MOBI format, after tapping the book, tap the Share icon, followed by Kindle—but see below for further qualifications.
- Sync it from another Apple device using Books/iBooks: If you’ve already downloaded the book and added it to Books/iBooks on your Mac, you can use this technique to get it onto your mobile device. Books in PDF or EPUB format that you add to the Books (or iBooks) app on any of your Apple devices can sync automatically with Books/iBooks on your other devices signed in to the same iCloud account, as long as your preferences are correct. On a Mac, go to System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud (Catalina or later) or System Preferences > iCloud (Mojave or earlier). Make sure iCloud Drive is checked. Then click the Options button next to it and make sure Books (or iBooks) is checked. If it is, uncheck it and re-check it—sometimes, this odd procedure jogs syncing back to life. On an iOS/iPadOS device, go to Settings > Your Name > iCloud and make sure Books (or iBooks) is turned on; again, even if it is, you might try turning it off and back on again. With those settings in place, adding a PDF or EPUB book to Books/iBooks syncs it to your other devices automatically, usually within a minute or less.
- Send it from a Mac or PC to the Kindle app on your iOS/iPadOS device: Here’s another technique you can use after downloading a book to your Mac. You can often email ebooks (in PDF or MOBI format only) to your Kindle using a special address that Amazon provides; see instructions here. Alternatively, you can use the free Send to Kindle App (available on most platforms) to send a book from your computer to a Kindle app. Note, however, that some of our larger books exceed the maximum size supported by Send to Kindle (whether via email or the app). If you encounter that problem, see these instructions.
- Sync it from another device using a cloud service: Having downloaded one of our books on a Mac, PC, or other device, you can of course put it in a cloud storage location (such as iCloud Drive or Dropbox) and then use the Files app, or the applicable third-party app, on your iOS/iPadOS device, to open it. Refer to the instructions above for working with Files.
- Sync it from a Mac to Books/iBooks using the Finder (Catalina or later):
- Download the book to your Mac and add it to Books/iBooks (see the instructions earlier on this page).
- Connect your iOS/iPadOS device to your Mac using a USB cable.
- In the Finder, select your device in the sidebar.
- Select the Books category.
- Make sure “Sync books onto device name” is checked.
- Select All Books to sync all your books, or Selected Books to sync only those checked in the list below. (Note that there are two separate lists—one for “Books,” which in this context means EPUBs, and one for PDFs.)
- Click Sync.
- Sync it from a Mac (Mojave or earlier) or a PC:
- Download the book to your Mac or PC.
- Connect your iOS/iPadOS device to your computer using a USB cable.
- In iTunes, select your device at the top of the window.
- Select the Books category in the sidebar on the left.
- Make sure Sync Books” is checked.
- Select “All books” to sync all your books, or “Selected books” to sync only those checked in the list below. (If the book is not already in that list, drag it into the list now.)
- Click Sync.
- Email it to yourself: A low-tech approach but one that may help in a pinch: email a book to yourself as an attachment, then open the message on your iOS/iPadOS device and open the attachment from there. Note that you may run into attachment size limits, depending on your email app and provider and the size of the book.
Viewing Our Ebooks on a Kindle Device or in a Kindle Mobile App
If you purchased a book directly from us (not from Amazon), there are five main ways you can get it onto your Kindle device, or into the Kindle app on a mobile device (but see this page for extensive details and qualifications about the MOBI format):
- Use the Send to Kindle app (on any platform). The free Send to Kindle app, available for most platforms, lets you send MOBI files (as well as several other document types) to your Kindle account; from there, they sync to your physical Kindle devices and to the Kindle mobile app (but not to the Kindle desktop app). Note: This app does not support MOBI files over 50 MB; see below.
- Download it from your Take Control library: All smartphones and tablets, and most Kindle models, have a built-in web browser. (On a Kindle device, go to the More ⠇menu and tap Experimental Browser.) You can use this to log in to your Take Control account and go to your Library page to download any book you’ve purchased from us direct to your device. Enter the email address you used to make the purchase and your password. If you don’t know your password, go to our password reset page. Enter your email address there and we’ll send you a link you can tap to set or change your password.
- Email the MOBI file to your account. Every Kindle device, as well as the Kindle app on each of your mobile devices, has its own email address, which you can find by selecting your device on Amazon’s Devices page. (You can even edit these addresses to make them easier to remember, if you like!) Email a MOBI file as an attachment to that address, and it syncs to your physical Kindle devices and to the Kindle mobile app (but not to the Kindle desktop app). If you’re sending this from Mail on a Mac, be sure “Send large attachments with Mail Drop” is disabled for the sending account in Mail > Preferences > Accounts > Account Name > Account Information. Note: Again, this method does not support MOBI files over 50 MB; see below.
- Copy it to a cloud storage location (mobile apps only). If you put a MOBI file in Dropbox, iCloud Drive, or some other cloud storage location that’s accessible from your mobile device, you can then open that location on your device (for example, in the Files app on iOS/iPadOS), tap the file, and then open it in the Kindle app. Note, however, that behind the scenes, this process relies on the Send to Kindle app, which means it’s still subject to the 50 MB size limit; see below. Also, with this method, cover art may not appear.
- Email the MOBI file to yourself. You can email a MOBI file to yourself as an attachment from your Mac or PC. Then open that email on your mobile device and copy the file to local storage. From there, the same process and limitations apply as copying it from cloud storage.
If the MOBI file is over 50 MB, you can try a different method, called sideloading, which we describe here (along with other options for reading the book).
Important Update: On May 2, 2022, Amazon announced EPUB support for Kindle, which will also mean discontinuation of support for MOBI. Once all of Amazon’s Send to Kindle apps have been updated to support EPUB, we will stop distributing our books in MOBI format, which should magically make most if not all of these issues disappear!
Here’s how our three ebook formats compare:
- PDF: This format has carefully chosen fonts, spacing, and other visual aspects to provide an excellent onscreen reading experience. PDF uses a page-based layout, which means page numbers are fixed, and each page always shows the same contents, regardless of how far you zoom in or out. That makes it an ideal choice for reading on a Mac or PC, or an iPad (or other tablet) with a medium-to-large screen; it’s also the right format to use if you plan to print any of our ebooks yourself. On the other hand, PDF is generally not the best choice for devices with small screens, because zooming in far enough to be able to read the text may also mean you’re unable to see an entire line without a lot of tedious swiping.
- EPUB: EPUB is a “reflowable” format, meaning that you can change the font, size, or screen orientation and the text will reflow to fill your screen accordingly. This makes EPUB an ideal choice for reading on small-screen devices, but some people prefer it even on larger screens because it offers more control over the display than PDF and can require less scrolling. Page numbers in EPUB are variable, so they won’t correspond to page numbers in the PDF format. Graphics in our books remain at a fixed size, regardless of your font size or other settings. In addition, captions, sidebars, and other complex visual elements may reflow oddly, and we have no control over that.
- Mobipocket: The MOBI format is used only by Kindle (that is, physical Kindle devices and the Kindle app, which is available for most platforms). Otherwise, it has basically all the same characteristics as the EPUB format. However, it also poses some unique challenges, which we describe in detail on our All About MOBI Files page.