If a friend has just shared a file in ePub and you don't have the faintest idea what it is and what kind of program you need to use in order to open it, don't worry: by reading the following lines you will immediately understand how to read ePub.
Assuming that ePub files are nothing more than books in electronic format that use an open standard based on XML, in order to read ePub it is necessary to have special readers, the so-called eBook readers.
If you do not have a tool of this type, you can, however, read ePub using the appropriate programs, online services and applications.
If you want to read ePub from your computer and if it is based on Windows, its OS X or on Linux I suggest you use caliber, a free software which is very useful for reading and managing digital books directly from your multimedia station.
To read ePub with Caliber the first thing you need to do is then to click here to connect to the software web page. Then click on the blue button Download calibre, then click on the icon corresponding to the operating system in use on your computer and finally click on the item Download calibre to start the download of the program and wait for this to be completed.
Now click on the file that has just been downloaded to your computer to start the program installation. In the window that appears, check the box for the item I accept the terms in the License Agreement, then click the button install and finally on Finish.
Wait for the software window to open and complete the brief initial configuration of the program by setting the interface language, the folder where you want to save the eBooks and the eBook reader model you may have.
Then click on the button Add books located at the top left, select the ePub file you want to import into the application and then double-click the title of the eBook you want to read to view it directly on your computer.
At this point a new Caliber window will open through which you can virtually browse your digital book simply by using the mouse wheel, the appropriate bar located on the side or the buttons previous Page e Next page located on the left sidebar.
Also using the left sidebar you also have the possibility to increase or decrease the font size of the ePub file, immediately view the index, read your digital book in full screen, add a bookmark and add reference points. Also know that by pressing the appropriate buttons you can also set your preferences for reading, view the metadata of the book, upload a theme and print your ePub.
If you do not prefer to install software on your computer but still want to read ePub you can opt for the convenience online service named MagicScroll. This service allows you to upload an ePub from your computer and read it directly online using a web browser.
To read ePub with MagicScroll you must then click here to connect to the main page of the service, click on the button + Add a Book to Your Library located at the top left and select the ePub file you want to read from the browser.
Once the upload is complete you can dedicate yourself to reading your ePub. To browse the uploaded digital book you can use the mouse wheel or the appropriate screen commands. If you wish, you can also dedicate yourself to reading the book in full screen. By clicking on the relevant buttons you can also add a bookmark and change some settings for using the service and reading the ePub file.
If, on the other hand, you are going to read ePub on yours iPhone o iPad or on your device Android I suggest you use Bluefire reader. It is a free application which allows you to open eBooks in ePub format, even with DRM.
To read ePub from your smartphone or tablet, open the App Store or Google Play, type "Bluefire Reader" (without quotes) in the search field, tap on the preview of the application and start the download and installation on the device .
Once installation is complete, access the app by pressing its icon. If you have an Adobe ID enter your data in the appropriate fields visible on the screen otherwise tap on the item Not now.
Now you can dedicate yourself to reading ePubs from mobile. Considering that Bluefire Reader supports integration with Dropbox, I suggest you upload them in advance to your account so that you can import them into the app by tapping on the item Library at the top left of the main screen and then choosing the item dropbox. If you don't have a Dropbox account you can read my guide on how to use Dropbox.
However, know that Bluefire Reader also allows you to download and read many free ePubs. To access the collection of free digital books, tap on the item Download books present at the bottom of the app screen, presses the magnifying glass icon, type the name of the eBook you want to download or the author of your interest and wait for the list of results to be shown. Once you have identified the book you want to download, press on its name and then on the button Free at the item ePub. In a few moments you can read the new ePub directly on the display of your device.