Why do so many people still need to manage ebooks as classic files?

When you want to bring your Kindle, Kobo, or Nook books to the tablet or smartphone, the easiest way is to download the app developed by the platform you are using.

However, it turns out many users don’t see it this way. It’s amazing how many people still perceive ebooks in terms of classic files – the ones you have to download to your computer, copy to a pen drive, and find a way to import them to the new device.

Many readers of Ebook Friendly constantly reach us to ask for help in transferring ebook files – usually from their current e-reader to a tablet. Use Google web search and you’ll realize how common is looking for answers how to “download Kindle books to iPad” or “transfer Kobo ebooks,” or “export Nook books.”

Obviously, many people, after using one particular ebook platform, have decided to go independent and work out a way to acquire ebooks from different sources, no matter the format or DRM. These are the people who will be delighted to discover Calibre ebook management, or independent book-reading apps that sync content via user’s own cloud (naming only Marvin working with Dropbox).

However, users who want to “download Kindle books to iPad” or “transfer Kobo ebooks” are not interested in getting involved that much in technology. They plan to buy a new device, have heard about compatibility problems, format issues, and file blocking (DRM), so they want to find out whether the books they have acquired so far will work on the new device – and how stressful the transfer would be.

Let’s rewind a few years back. It took some time for people to understand ebooks are files and not devices. And that one e-reader can hold thousands of ebooks.

Why so many people were confusing ebooks with e-readers? Because the book is a real object. You can hold it in your hands, it has a unique cover and smell. You can easily estimate its value and accept its price.

A file? A file represented by a 100 × 70 px jpeg that’s supposed to be its cover? It can not be a book. The closet thing that’s an object and that’s related to ebooks is an e-reader. You can hold it in your hands, and even you can make is look like a real book by putting it in the book-style case cover.

The times of confusing ebooks with e-readers are gone, but there are other things that need to be cleared. When you have learned ebooks are files, you want them to treat like files. You have them on the disc of your Kindle and you want to transfer them to the disc of your iPad.

When you are using an e-reader, every book cover you see on the screen represents a file. When you switch to a tablet, you first have to open an app, and then you see the books/the files. I think many people can’t accept hundreds of ebooks they have are represented by one little app icon on the iPad or Android tablet.

Why so many people so eagerly want to deal with ebook files? Do they need to be assured these files are worth something? Quite possibly.

And there is a question of ownership. Something that’s stored in Amazon, Kobo, or Nook cloud is not yours. Some users think that something that’s stored in the cloud they control (such as Google Drive or Dropbox) is not theirs as well.

Even if there is no easy way to open the Kindle book outside the Kindle e-reader or Kindle app, you want to keep the files for yourself, even if that would happen at the cost of convenience.

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