My Kobo Aura HD H2O is "in the mail" so I'm trying to prepare for it by adding existing non-DRM ePub books that I already own. Ideally I'd like to be able to add books to the Kobo Desktop App and have the device sync via WiFi when it arrives.

In the interim, and ongoing, I'd also like to have the Android App installed on my phone & tablet so that I can read the same books there and also have them sync location, bookmarks etc.

I've looked through the Kobo support / KB section and google a bit, as well as explored the Kobo Desktop app, but I'm not seeing a way to do this.

What am I missing? Thanks in advance!

(And please please don't say that only books purchased via the Kobo store can be added and that I have to copy them onto the device directly and not have any sync capability... The reason I'm switching to Kobo from Kindle is to rid myself of the hassle of having islands of content!)

  • I have the same problem as the first question. I have been copying and reading ebooks from epub but for the last couple of days I have trying to copy two books but then when I look for them in the kobo it tells me my library is empty. When I try to copy them again it tells me that the books already exists, do I want to skip, replace etc. I am not sure what the problem is. I have been downloading and copying books from the library for a long time and I never encountered this problem. Any ideas?
    – user6514
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 3:11

5 Answers 5


Please note that if you simply need to transfer .epub files to the reader, you can simply connect it to your computer with an USB cable, it will be treated like an external USB storage drive; you can simply copy your books on the reader (maybe on a new sub-directory to keep things clean and neat) and when you disconnect it, it will update the database and recognize your new books. There isn't anything easier than this ;-)

Anyway for a more complete management, I suggest you to try Calibre, it is a superb ebook manager itself with a ton of features; also, it is free and opensource and it is available for Linux systems too, if these are things that are relevant for you.

One of its strengths is the opportunity to add plugins to extend its functionalities. It works perfectly with any ereader device, without the need to add anything, but I suggest to you a couple of plugins that are specifically aimed at Kobo users, that can be useful to have:

  • Kobo Touch Extended Driver: It replaces the standard Kobo device driver shipped with Calibre, its main feature is to optimize the .epub books you are sending to the device with the particular format used by Kobo, called .kepub.epub. Kobo e-readers have two different readers inside (I mean "reader" as a software here), one is used for standard ePub files while the other has some different features and is used for Kepubs. I prefer the last one, but in the end it is a matter of personal preferences, so I suggest you to try both of them and see which format you like the most.
  • Kobo Utilities: this is a must-have tool, IMHO. It allow you to perform many operations directly on the device, by manipulating its internal database; it is nothing too complicate, but it could be considered as a tool for advanced users that know what they are doing; I must say that I've never had any kind of problem, but I suggest you to read the warnings from the author.

Please note that you don't have to download these plugins from the MobileRead forum, the easiest way is to install them directly from inside Calibre, where this task can be performed from a nice and handy graphical interface.

  • 1
    Great info in this post, many thanks! Yes, if you assume a computer in the loop, many things are possible. After struggling to get a library ebook onto my Kobo because of Adobe Digital Editions crashing, I finally installed Calibre and was very impressed! I really like the convenience of WiFi sync as often my monthly epubs arrive via email on my phone when my computer isn't handy. If I could hookup to Dropbox, Gdrive or similar, that would be a good workaround and avoid the USB cable and computer in the middle of everything. (Fwiw, Pocket is a great example of the ease-of-use provided.)
    – mm2001
    Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 21:19
  • If you want to use Calibre, the use of a computer is pretty much unavoidable. It can be configured to act as a web server to make its content available to any web capable device. But even this way, it needs a computer if you want to run it, plus that computer must be turned on and online for all the time that you want its web server available.
    – Sekhemty
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 8:19
  • Ok, I'm a Calibre convert! Calibre is definitely worthwhile installing. I also added the suggested Kobo plugins to Calibre. V nice! Lots of subtle things that I'm still noticing (like page n of X within the chapters) and some of the images and text formatting seems to work better than the default epub I had. I haven't played with the utilities yet.
    – mm2001
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 2:30
  • @Sekhemty I tried to copy my books on the reader, but it did not work. See my question. Are there more details that might help me?
    – babou
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 23:34

I've managed to upload external ePubs to Kobo's Desktop App on a Mac. Whether a similar process would work on a Windows machine, I can't comment, but in case this helps any Mac users out there:

You need to create a new folder in your user's Documents folder called Digital Editions.

Copy the ePub file into this folder.

Don't hit the sync button, that won't work. You need to hit ⌘-Shift-S and the app will ask for permission to synch with your Documents folder.

Hit yes and the e-book should then appear under My Books.

  • That is some easter eg… :-) Confirmed this still works as of 2022 on the 4.33 app on macOS 12.4 Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 16:20
  • Oh my gosh, what a tip! Still works in Kobo Desktop 4.37.17113 on macOS 12.6.7 in August 2023.
    – Jeff
    Commented Jul 29, 2023 at 14:21

You can't expect answers if you refuse to accept answers that state the truth. afaik, you can't make a Kobo sync state with sideloaded books (and I've delved a long way into the software and database structure). Kobo is only slightly better than Amazon about "islands of content".

If you only need to get content onto the Kobo, then your best bet is to load the books into Calibre, and then sideload from there either by USB or Wifi via the Calibre server.

  • Thanks. I was trying to state what I'd found to save time -- and was hoping that there was some alternative. Apparently not. Bit of a shame. I'd happily pay Kobo for storage space in their cloud if they'd keep everything sync'd up.
    – mm2001
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 22:51
  • I think the epub vendors are worried about being complicit in book piracy if they let you store your own content in their cloud.
    – Auspex
    Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 16:51
  • Such a pain if so, as I now pay for several monthly magazines, as well as technical books that are not copy protected. If the Kobo could sync via Dropbox or similar that would be good enough (though still not ideal).
    – mm2001
    Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 21:16

I just purchased the Kobo H2O and use the following way to get books from other sources onto the reader via wifi:

  1. Get dropbox account
  2. Add folder in dropbox named for example "epub"
  3. Add the books you want to this folder, either by computer or when purchasing books with your smartphone (this is how i usually shop for new books)
  4. Log in to dropbox mobile page on you Kobo reader and navigate to your book folder.
  5. Set this as startpage for browser or add bookmark (you still have to login every time you open the browser, but you get redirected to the right folder straight after login)
  6. Click on file and wait... Then accept download!
  • This solution is to be used with care. There are contents that can be freely obtained for your own private use, but that you are forbidden to distribute. However, whatever stays in a dropbox account is publicly accessible (according to their site info).
    – babou
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 12:38

I've managed to upload external ePubs to Kobo's Desktop App on Windows. (please see GGx comment for the original Mac solution)

Copy the ePub file into a folder located in your user's Documents folder called My Digital Editions. (It was created by Kobo app for me)

Don't hit the sync button, that won't work. You need to hit Ctrl-Shift-S to synch with your Documents folder.

The e-book should then appear under My Books.

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