How to Activate Microsoft Reader and Troubleshoot Activation Problems To read an eBook that you purchased from any of the various Web sites that sell eBooks, you must activate Microsoft Reader. You do not need to activate Reader to read a free eBook. NOTE: You cannot activate the current Pocket PC version of Microsoft Reader. Because of this, you cannot read an eBook that you purchased on your Pocket PC. However, you can download and read a free eBook on your Pocket PC.