Kindle Format Conversion Guide
This article outlines how to convert EPUB files and other file types into a format compatible with a Kindle.
One option is to use the Kindle Personal Document Service and have Amazon convert the files into their proprietary AZW format. The downside is that only certain formats can be converted. For other file types you’ll need to learn how to convert them yourself using the instructions below.
Once you have the proper software installed, converting PDF, EPUB, LIT, and other formats into a Kindle-compatible format takes a few quick steps for any non-encrypted ebooks and documents.
To begin, skim the format list below to see if the format you are trying to convert is supported by the Kindle conversion service. If not, skip down to the next section to learn how to use Calibre to convert formats.
Amazon’s Format Conversion
When using the Kindle Personal Document Service to convert formats, you can have the converted files sent to your Kindle wirelessly over 3G for a delivery fee or have them sent for free via Wi-Fi or you can get them delivered by email to transfer them to a Kindle via USB.
Amazon will convert and wirelessly deliver the following format types:
- Microsoft Word (.DOC) and (.DOCX)
- Structured HTML (.HTML) and (.HTM)
- Rich Text Format (.RTF)
- Text (.TXT)
- PDF (.PDF)
- Kindle Format (.MOBI, .AZW)
- Images: JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP
To make converting multiple files easier, the above formats can be packaged into a single ZIP file and sent to the Kindle conversion service.
Tip: The easiest and quickest way to send files to your Kindle is to use one of the Send to Kindle apps. Amazon has programs for Windows and Mac, and they also offer plugins for Chrome and Firefox browsers to send web clippings to your Kindle. Otherwise you can use the email method outlined below.
Setting Up the Kindle Conversion Service
Go to Amazon’s Manage Your Kindle page and sign-in to your Amazon account. Then click on “Edit Info” under the Kindle section. Change the Kindle email address to whatever you want or leave it as is—then memorize it or write it down, save changes, and close the pop-up.
Paid Delivery: If you want to pay to have the converted documents delivered to your Kindle wirelessly via Whispernet, scroll down to the section labeled “Your Kindle Approved E-mail List”. Add the email address from the previous step to your Kindle’s whitelist, (your-choice)@kindle.com.
The delivery fee is 15 cents per MB in the US and 99 cents per MB outside the US. A typical ebook ranges from 1/3 to 3/4 of a MB.
Free Delivery: To avoid wireless delivery charges, you can have the converted documents delivered to your primary email address to add to your Kindle via USB cable, or have them delivered to a Kindle with WiFi so that you don’t get charged a delivery fee for using the 3G wireless. Just send the files to this address instead of the paid delivery one shown above, (your-choice)@free.kindle.com.
If you are having trouble with any of this, see Amazon’s format conversion help page.
Converting Formats Using Amazon’s Conversion Service
- Open a new email.
- Put (your-choice)@kindle.com into the address line for paid delivery to your Kindle, or put (your-choice)@free.kindle.com to have the files delivered to the primary email address associated with your Amazon account.
- Attach the files you want to convert to the email (25 max and 50MB each max).
- Send email—no subject or writing needed unless the file you want to convert is a file type that is supported, such as PDF, in which case you’ll need to type “convert” into the subject line. Otherwise it will just send the PDF to the Kindle as is, instead of converting it.
Conversion typically takes anywhere from a few seconds to 5 minutes.
Using Calibre to Convert Formats for Kindle
Calibre is the most comprehensive, easy to use ebook managing tool there is. If you haven’t downloaded and set up Calibre yet, visit this other post on how to get started with Calibre eBook Managemant.
During the Calibre setup process, make sure to select Amazon Kindle when the wizard asks for a default device. This will ensure that EPUB and other formats are automatically converted to MOBI for optimal viewing on the Kindle.
Converting Formats With Calibre
According to the Calibre manual, the following format types can be converted to a Kindle format (MOBI): CBZ, CBR, CBC, CHM, EPUB, FB2, HTML, LIT, LRF, ODT, PDF, PRC, PDB, PML, RB, RTF, TCR, TXT.
Some file types convert better than others. EPUB to MOBI and vice versa usually works really well. You can also try applying some advanced code and settings for complex conversions of specific formats as outlined in the Calibre conversion manual.
Once you’ve got Calibre installed and up and running and have added some ebooks to the library, you can start converting the documents and ebooks one at a time by highlighting them and clicking the “Convert eBooks” button. Highlight multiple documents by holding down shift or control while clicking to convert them all at once. By selecting one at a time you can edit the books metadata (title, author, series, etc) and description.
An easier way is to just plug the Kindle to the computer’s USB, let Calibre detect it, and then click on the ebooks you want to send to the Kindle and click “Send to Device”. Calibre will automatically convert them to MOBI as it sends them to the Kindle.
Free Wireless Delivery
One last thing to note, Calibre has a built-in web server that you can setup to access your ebook collection using the Kindle’s web browser. Calibre can also email your books, news, and documents to a Kindle using a free gmail account. These can be set up in the Preferences menu.