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Getting Free ePub Books on Your iPad

The iBookstore offers a lot of books and many of them are free, but you don’t need it to read a book. The iPad along with iTunes can import eBooks you’ve downloaded from other sources, but there is one limitiation the eBooks must be in ePub or PDF format.

Project Gutenberg is a good source for about 30,000 free ePub formatted books that you can download, and some of these may even be available in the iBookstore. However, we think that may be a little easier to browse through the library of free eBooks on Project Gutenberg.

If you’re not already familiar with the geeky details, ePub is the open, free-flowing eBook format that Apple is using for iBooks. However, let’s caveat that “open” piece — ePub books bought from the iBookstore will be using Apple’s FairPlay DRM (digital rights management) which means that while ePub is a widely supported format, Apple ePub books won’t work on other devices, and ePub books using other DRM (like Adobe Content Server) won’t work on the iPad. Headache, right? Well, the good news is DRM-free ePub eBooks — like those from Project Gutenberg — should work on the iPad and pretty much everything else.

In order to use your own eBook file, simply grab it with the mouse then drag and drop it into the open iTunes window and iTunes will import the book into your library. The next time you sync your iPad that book will be added to your iPad.