How to Preview Your Epub File Before Uploading to Retailers

“Thank you for sending me the ebook files. But, if I can’t open the #$%@ things, how do you expect me to approve them?”

Lots of writers mutter this under their breath when their formatter sends them their ebook files and asks for their approval.

I’ve said it myself.

Lots of writers would cross their fingers and tell the formatter that everything was fine.

I’ve done it myself.

Then I figured out I could login in to the retailer, wait for my file to load, and use their previewer. Every single time with every single file.

Have you tried that?

Such a time-saver and so convenient. Not.

Now, I use Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) to preview my file before I load. So fast, so easy. Here’s how you can do it, too.


Adobe Digital Editions screen shot

The First Time

Before you preview your first file, there’s a bit of setup to be done. Do this on your computer; mobile devices don’t play well with ADE.

Step One

Download your own copy of the Adobe Digital Editions here.

  • Read information, questions and answers on the linked page above.
  • Tick the little box to agree to the terms of service.
  • For detailed instructions, download the user guide on the same page as above.
  • Download whichever version applies to you.
    • for Windows the correct folder is C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Digital Editions x.x (x.x being the current version of ADE). More details are here.
    • for Mac, download from the App Store.

Step Two

Download the files from your formatter and make a note of where you put them.

Step Three

Set up your computer to automatically open Adobe Digital Editions for epub files.

  • In File Explorer (on PCs)* or Finder (on Macs), find the files you downloaded.
  • Right-click on the file name, click on Open with, click on Choose another app (see Figure 1 below).
  • From the list, select Adobe Digital Editions and tick the box to always use it to open epub files (see Figure 2 below).

Step Four

Preview your book. See the user guide linked above for tips and tricks on using Adobe Digital Editions.



Figure 1: Find your epub file


Figure 2: Set up auto-open for epub files

The Next Time

You can skip the download of  ADE and the setup to auto open. Simply:

  1. Download the files from your formatter and make a note of where you put them.
  2. In File Explorer (on PCs)* or Finder (Mac), find the files you downloaded and double-click. A tiny ADE icon to the left of every name of every epub file will make it easier to spot them.  Adobe Digital Editions will open on the cover of your book.

* These instructions are for Windows 10 or 11. For Windows 8, 8.1 go here. For Windows 7, go here.

© 2022 Joan Leacott

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