How to read electronic books and PDF patterns without an eReader

One of my recent giveaways was for an ebook, and a few people didn't think they could enter without an eReader, which makes me think this post is probably long overdue. As increasing numbers of knitting / craft books (and patterns) are available as ebooks, I find myself reading and reviewing them more frequently, and I have a few posts coming up which recommend books you can instantly download.

First I should perhaps tell you the main reasons I love ebooks:
  • Immediate downloads perfectly suit my lack of patience (this is also the reason I have a Kindle with 3G capabilities. I was never more grateful for that than when I finished my book in hospital at 3am, after unplanned surgery, and downloaded the next in the series!) 
  • There's no need to fit another book on my shelves - I have so little space in my Cwtch and most of it is taken up with yarn 
  • I can carry an entire library around in my pocket, almost weightlessly - I have bought several books in both physical and ebook format for this reason...
Reading ebooks without an ereader on Crafts from the Cwtch blog
My favourite knitting resource: The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt in hardback & on a 7.6mm Kindle Voyage with 300+ other books
My love of ebooks isn't new - I've had various incarnations of Amazon's Kindle since they were launched several years ago and absolutely love the Kindle Voyage 3G I had last Christmas. I read many more novels at bedtime because of the (auto) backlit display and carry it at all times - it even fits in the pocket of my jeans. So it may surprise you to learn that I prefer to read most full colour knitting/craft books on my iPad. Why? Because the photos look so much nicer and it's easier to zoom in and out.

Reading ebooks without an ereader on Crafts from the Cwtch blog
 Custom Socks by Kate Atherley - looks much nicer in colour, but is also handy in the portable Kindle format
But you don't need an iPad to read ebooks either, in fact, the device you're reading this post on is probably a great candidate for ebooks too. Here's how... 

The easiest place to buy content is often Amazon and their Kindle App is available for most computers, tablets and phones (using iOS and Android). Once you have downloaded the app(s) and logged in, any content will be synced across your devices and accessed almost anywhere! (This is especially useful if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription as there are SO MANY great books to borrow.)

Aside from my Kindle, I'm an exclusive apple-gadget user. A lot of my downloaded patterns come in PDF format. To use those I click the download link, and then tap on the screen on my iPad which gives the option to open the file in other apps, including iBooks. Selecting this opens (and saves) the document in iBooks where it can be accessed at any time.

As a Netgalley member, many of the books I review are in protected PDF format and need to opened using Adobe Bluefire Reader. I'll be honest, this is my least favourite option as it's not as intuitive as the Kindle app or iBooks, but it does work on both my iPad and my Mac.

There are sure to be other apps that you can use if you're using other devices too, so if you haven't already it's definitely worth checking out. Next week I'll be posting a list of great books you can download. 


  1. I purchased a kindle after I had my daughter.It was much simpler to sit up with around evening time while nursing and watch movies on, surf the web, and so on.I additionally have a couple books on there.I am a die hard book fanatic, and still order books,yet I do like my eBooks as well.The main issue is that some are not altered or paginated well, and they divert me when attempting to read.

    Rachel Wood.

    1. Yes, this was a big problem with the earlier ebooks, but now I find that most are great, and don't have an issue with this very often.


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