I have a fair number of documents I created myself–that probably shouldn’t surprise anyone–but I don’t think I’m the only one who does. And from time to time, I’d like to reference them, and I may not have my computer with me.
Carrying around a cheap Nook or Kindle isn’t much of a problem, though. If only I could get my Word documents to display on it… It turns out that’s not hard to do. Here’s how to load your own content onto a Nook, Kindle, or any other similar device.
The key is a wonderful e-book management program called Calibre. I’ve covered Calibre before, as it also has other uses. Load your Word documents into it, convert them to the format your e-reader uses, and you can carry your library with you. You can probably figure it out yourself, but here’s a tutorial on how to do it, if you need one.
But here’s the cool thing. You collect some information. You copy and paste it into a Word document, including graphics. Save the file, convert it into an e-book with Calibre, and you can take it with you in the field. With a little patience, you can even make your self-created documents look just as professional as regular e-books, if that kind of thing interests you. If you just want the information and don’t care what it looks like, that works too.
So, whether you’re hunting for collectibles on the secondhand market or carrying background intelligence to a job interview–you did profile the company and look up your interviewer on Linkedin, didn’t you?–you can carry a library full of information in something the size of a paperback copy of The Old Man and the Sea. Then, when you’re waiting, you can review the information, then tuck the e-reader away when showtime hits.
If you need something more discrete than an e-reader, you can load up an epub application on your smartphone and save your converted document to your phone. Then you can pull out your phone and look something up, and for all anyone else knows, you’re just sending a text message. Don’t do that in a job interview of course, but when you’re shopping, nobody will ever know.
Calibre is also useful for converting books between formats. If you bought e-books from Borders before it went under, you know why you might want to transfer those books to someone else’s hardware.
And if, for some reason, you prefer PDFs, here’s how to make PDFs from individual image scans, using free software.