If you own a Kindle ereader or use the Kindle app, you can’t read epub files on your device. But there is an easy way you can convert epub to mobi files for Kindle readers.
After you use an epub to mobi converter, you can then read any epub ebook on your Kindle or app.
In this tutorial, we will give you an easy way to convert and read an epub file on any device. But you can also work with and convert many different ebook file types using this method.
But first, it is worthwhile understanding how Amazon ebook files work so you can choose the ebook formats that will work best for you and the ebook reading device or app you are using.
What are Amazon Kindle ebook file types?
When you buy ebooks from the Amazon Kindle store, they are in AZW files.
The proprietary AWZ file extension perhaps stands for Amazon Word, but no one seems quite sure about this.
What is important to know 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 define the variations of Amazon ebook file 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 the KF8 file. This format first came out for the Kindle Fire. It 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 is a new version for textbooks (similar to PDF).
AZK is 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. It is the latest format and has several advanced features. It is being rolled out for all current products.
However, all Kindles still support the use of mobi files. It is the format that Kindle and Kindle app users can use so you can load ebooks from sources other than Amazon or the Amazon Kindle store into your Kindle or app.
All you need to do is use a reliable epub to Kindle mobi converter for any non-Amazon ebooks you want to read on your Kindle.
What is Epub?
An Epub file 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 an epub 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 and the Kindle app.
The best (and free) epub to Kindle converter
Many free online converters work quite well if you simply want to convert one or two ebooks from an epub book to mobi.
But if you want to convert ebook formats regularly, or want to create your own library of ebooks, there is a much better way to convert an epub file to read on a Kindle device.
First, you need to download a free open source program called Calibre. It is available for Mac, Windows PC, and Linux. You can make your selection from the download link page.
It is an ebook management system that you can use to build your own ebook library. You can convert epub to mobi for Kindle and then save and backup to protect your ebooks.
It is good insurance too. You can avoid the remote possibility 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 that allow you to change or update book covers, and you can also edit the ebook metadata.
How to convert your ebooks from epub to mobi files
I downloaded an ebook in epub format from Project Gutenberg to use for my example conversion.
The first step is to select “Add Book” from the Calibre menu and then select the epub files that you want to convert from your file manager.
As you can see, after adding the ebook, Calibre loads all the information and metadata from the .epub ebook file.
You can then click on “Edit Metadata” or on “Convert Books.” Both will take you to a similar screen where you can fine-tune your ebook before you start your conversion.
In the image above, you can see that the book cover is terrible. It is often the case with free ebooks. But there is a quick and easy way to fix the problem. It is worth the minute or two to make your ebook look much better on your device library.
All you need to do is a quick Google image search to locate the original book cover. Download the image, and then click “Change Cover Image” in Calibre to add your new cover.
That looks a whole lot better now. 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 automatically convert your ebook from epub to mobi format, which is Kindle format.
Select the file extension .mobi from the “Output Format” button in the top right-hand corner and then click OK.
It will start converting, and in a minute or less, you will now have the new .mobi version of your ebook saved to your Calibre library. From there, you can load your ebook file to your Kindle or Fire tablets or open the new file in your kindle app.
You can also use the Send to Kindle app, using your Kindle email address.
You can change the location of your Calibre library if you want to do so. Then you can choose to save all of your ebooks to your hard drive or to Dropbox, iCloud, or OneDrive.
You can do a lot more with Calibre
You can also work the other way round 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 different conversions.
You can see that I have converted the Amazon AZW file to .epub format, .mobi, and also a pdf file.
Calibre can convert any ebooks to .pdf files. This can be useful if you want to print out certain sections of a book, perhaps for research 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 think of with your ebook files.
For authors, it is a great tool to be able to send epub and mobi files of your ebooks to your beta readers.
Use Kindle Previewer to convert epub to mobi
Another way you can convert ebook files is to download the free Kindle Previewer program from Amazon.
The desktop program is available for Windows and Mac. It is a very handy tool for authors who want to check the quality of a Kindle ebook before publishing on Amazon KDP.
But, it also has a useful import and export function that can help you convert an epub file.
You can import a whole list of ebook and document file types including kpf, mobi, azw, epub, htm, html, xhtml, opf, prc, azw3, azw8 as well as doc and docx Word files.
However, unlike Calibre, you can only export to mobi or azk files. But if all you need to do is quickly output a mobi file that you can read on your Kindle, it will do the job for you.
What about DRM?
Digital Rights Management (DRM) is applied to ebook files 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 around 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 Kindle using a .mobi file 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 ebook 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 so you can check your new manuscript in ebook format before you publish.
You can also use Calibre to convert any ebook file to pdf so you can print out pages of an ebook.
For anything to do with digital books, for readers and writers, Calibre is the best way to convert, edit, and save all your ebook files.