How to Put Ebooks on Your iPhone Without Using iTunes or iBooks

By | June 21, 2011

Reading books on my iPhone is a wonderful thing. I can carry a library around in my pocket, and add new books to read everywhere I want. Even on a train or in a waiting room.

But what if you have a whole collection of ebooks in different formats on your laptop or desktop computer, and you want to transfer them to your iPhone?

You can use iTunes to drag book files into the Books folder. Then you hook up your iPhone to sync it with iTunes,  and get the books on your phone that way. But to be honest, I don’t really like using iTunes to organize my books. Especially as I already have a big, organized collection of ebooks elsewhere on my computer.

So what do I use to put ebooks on my iPhone? Two free programs:

First I’ll explain what each of them does, and then I’ll tell you how to use these programs as a fast and easy way to put ebooks on your iPhone.

Stanza is a free e-reader app for your iPhone, similar to the iBooks app or the Kindle app. I prefer Stanza because it is very user-friendly.

Calibre is a wonderful free, open source ebook library program. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux, and you can use this program for a ton of different reasons:

  • to publish your own ebooks professionally and for free
  • to organize your ebooks by author, title, genre or tags you add yourself
  • to convert ebooks from one format to another. (.txt to .epub, for example.)
  • to share ebooks with other devices, like your laptop, iPad or iPhone.

The last option is the one we’ll use now, and I’ll take you through it in 10 easy steps.

  1. First, download and install Calibre on your computer.
  2. Open Calibre, and start adding the ebooks you want to transfer to your iPhone. You can simply drag and drop the files into Calibre, or you can click Add Books.
  3. Now, click Preferences > Sharing > Sharing over the net.  Here, you can set up your own server to share books with other devices. Pick a username and password (so random passers-by can’t get access to your books!) and you’re good to go.
  4. Keep Calibre running on your computer. Meanwhile, grab your iPhone.
  5. If you haven’t already done so, install the free Stanza app on your iPhone now.
  6. Open the Stanza app on your iPhone and tap “Get Books”.
  7. In the “Get Books” section of Stanza, you’ll see a top bar with “Catalog | Shared | Downloads”. Tap “Shared”.
  8. If you left Calibre running, the “Shared” section will show your Calibre ebook library! After you type in the password, you will have access to a complete list of the books.
  9. Tap on the title of the ebook you want to download to your iPhone and then tap “Download Now”.
  10. The ebook will download in seconds and will now be stored on your iPhone. Tap “Read Now” to start reading!
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5 Comments

SCM on July 30, 2013 at 12:08 am.

I searched for Stanza in the app store but I can’t find it.
Got Calibre running, just can’t figure out why Stanza isn’t showing!

Kat on August 14, 2013 at 6:55 pm.

It’s possible that Stanza is no longer available for new users. If so, that’s a shame! Amazon bought the company that makes Stanza a while ago, so possibly they’re just trying to eliminate the competition.

Joe on March 6, 2014 at 6:05 am.

OK… soooooo… since Stanza no longer exists, any suggestions for something else that will work with Calibre?

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