Learn how to easily convert epub to mobi to read ebooks on your Kindle
Amazon ebook file types
When you buy ebooks from the Amazon Kindle store, they are AZW files.
The proprietary AWZ file extension perhaps stands for Amazon Word, but no one seems sure about this.
What is important to know, however, is that AWZ files are a format developed and based on the mobi file format. Amazon acquired Mobipocket in 2005.
Mobipocket SA was a French company incorporated in March 2000 that created the .mobi e-book file format and produced the Mobipocket Reader software for mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDA) and desktop operating systems.
The following file extensions can be used to define the variations on Amazon content formats.
AZW files can only be obtained from the Amazon website.
AZW1 is another name for the topaz format (Also called .tpz).
AZW3 is another name for KF8 This format first came out for the Kindle Fire. This is the primary format for most current Amazon Kindle devices, but they can also read the other formats.
KF8 also has a fixed width layout mode which can be used to convert CBR and CBZ files with a pane view feature.
AZW4 for a new version for textbooks (similar to PDF).
AZK for a special iOS version for Kindle Reader on Apple products.
AZW8 is the extension for KFX which is another special format currently on the Kindle Paperwhite 3, Kindle Oasis, and Kindle Voyage. This is the latest format and has several advanced features. It is being rolled out for all current products.
However, Kindle still supports the use of mobi files, so it is a format that can be used by Kindle and Kindle app users to load ebooks from sources other than Amazon or the Amazon Kindle store.
What is Epub?
Epub is the most widely used ebook file format. It was developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), which is now part of the World Wide Web Consortium and superseded the old Open ebook format (OEB) in 2007.
It is an open source ebook file that in some respects could be compared to how mp3 files became an industry standard for music.
The book format can be used with tools such as the EPUBReader Firefox add-on, Adobe Digital Editions and QuickReader.
Devices that can open this file include iBooks on an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. It can also be used on Sony Readers, Kobo Reader, and the Nook from Barnes & Noble.
In fact, the format is an open standard, and epub books can be used on almost any reading program or device.
Except for Kindle ebook readers
The best way to convert epub to mobi
There are many online converters that work quite well if you simply want to convert one or two ebooks.
But if you want to convert ebook format on a regular basis, or want to create your own library of ebooks, there is a much better way.
You need to download a free open source program called Calibre. It is available for Mac and PC.
It is an ebook management system that you can use to build your own ebook library that you can save and backup to protect your books.
This is good insurance against the possibility, albeit remote, of your Kindle being wiped clean due to “unspecified violations to Amazon’s terms of service”.
As well as being an excellent ebook file converter, Calibre also has tools to allow you to change or update book covers and to edit the ebook metadata.
Here is a quick tutorial on how to convert your ebooks
I downloaded an ebook in epub format from Project Gutenberg.
The first step is to select “Add Book” from the Calibre menu and select the epub files you want to use.
As you can see, after adding the book, Calibre loads all the information and metadata from the ebook file.
You can then click on “Edit Metadata”, or on “Convert Books”. Both with take you to a similar screen where you can fine-tune your book.
As you can see, the book cover is terrible. This is easy to fix. Do a Google image search to locate the original cover. Download it and then click “Change Cover Image”.
That is much better. You can also edit the metadata for a book if you want to have a special filing or indexing system for your ebook collection.
Now you are ready to convert your book to mobi format.
Select mobi from the “Output Format” button in the top right-hand corner and then click OK.
You will now have the new mobi version of your ebook in your Calibre library. From there you can load your book onto your Kindle, or open it with the Kindle app.
You can set the location of your Calibre library. So you can save to your hard drive or to Dropbox, iCloud or OneDrive.
But you can do a lot more with Calibre
You can also work the other way by using an AZW file to convert to other book formats.
First I uploaded a book from my Kindle library.
Then I clicked on “Convert Books” and ran three conversions.
You can see that I have converted the AZW file to epub format, mobi and also pdf.
Converting to pdf files can be useful if you want to print out certain sections of a book, perhaps for an assignment.
Calibre can convert to eighteen different document format file types, including docx, txt and zip.
For dedicated ebook readers, Calibre is a tool that can do everything you could possibly need to do.
Oh yes, DRM
Digital Rights Management (DRM) is used to protect the rights of authors and publishers. It is also used by ebook retailers such as Amazon and Apple to protect their proprietary files.
Not all retailers use it, so it is a matter of shopping for ebooks that are not DRM protected.
Can you remove DRM?
It is common knowledge that there are tools and ways and means to strip an ebook of DRM.
However, I do not condone the practice.
DRM is selected and set by self-publishing authors and small publishers to protect their work. It is not only a tool used by big publishers and retailers trying to keep you locked in their walled gardens.
If you are a Kindle lover, being able to convert epub to mobi will give you access to a lot of books that you cannot currently read on your device.
Using Calibre also gives you the option to have your own library that you can backup and save.
For authors, Calibre is a must have tool. In an earlier article, I explained how to convert Word docx files to epub and mobi formats.
For anything to do with ebooks, for readers and writers, Calibre is the best way to convert, edit and save files.
Further reading: The Ultimate Guide On How To Make A Table of Contents