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How do you put books on the Kindle from different sources, and what format should they be in?

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Showing 1-25 of 48 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 25, 2009 12:59:11 AM PST
Matthew says:
I just got a kindle, and I do not know how to put books on it from other sources or which format it should be in. Does anyone know?

Posted on Dec 25, 2009 2:01:38 AM PST
Congratulations on your new Kindle!

You can download books from other sources to your computer and then use the USB cord to move them into the Documents file of you Kindle after you attach it to you computer. The files can be .azw, .prc, .tpz, ,mobi, and .pdf, as long as they are not DRMed. You can also directly load.txt (text) files directly into your Kindle. Doc files (Word) and HTML files need to be converted before loading--you can either send them to your kindle's email & have Amazon do it (costs 15 cents each) or do it yourself for free using Mobicreater Publisher or Calibre (free downloads).

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 25, 2009 2:03:43 AM PST
Matthew says:
It doesn't come with a USB cable, do you have to buy one

Posted on Dec 25, 2009 2:24:51 AM PST
Yes, your Kindle does come with one--it is just difficult to discern when you first take it out of the box. Look at the end with the plug. The plug is removable--the USB end is inside it. That way the same cord can be used to plug your Kindle into an outlet to charge OR plug into your computer both to charge and to load things onto it if you want.

Just be aware that not all USB sockets on a computer are equal. Some may be the older 1.0 USB and others the newer 2.0. If the first USB socket doesn't work for you, try another.

Posted on Dec 25, 2009 5:01:46 AM PST
An HTML file doesn't have to be converted before transferring it to the Kindle. Rename the file so that the ".htm" or ".html" extension is changed to ".txt". Then transfer it to the "documents" folder on the Kindle, and you should see it on your home screen.

I'm not going to describe the process of renaming files because I don't use Windows or Mac OS and would probably get the steps wrong.

Warning: the Kindle will display HTML files with reasonable faithfulness to the original, but you may lose some of the formatting niceties for various geeky reasons (missing CSS style sheet is the big one), and links to other local files won't work at all. So this feature is best for web pages that are mostly unadorned text.

Posted on Dec 25, 2009 5:22:45 AM PST
Ravens Path says:
I use both mobicreator and calibre to convert and then upload my files. I know that the K2 can read pdfs but for some I have mobicreator change to a .prc file and then use calibre to convert to mobi. I can then add all the metadata and use calibre to manage my non-amazon library.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 25, 2009 5:38:12 AM PST
Matthew, the canonical discussion of this topic can be read here:

That will tell you all about getting Kindle books from other sources.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 25, 2009 7:45:41 AM PST
Patti says:
I used my USB cable and saved two .pdf file public domain books (previously downloaded from google books) to my Kindle, then dragged them into the documents folder. They show up in the folder on my computer, but I can't access them on the Kindle. They don't show up, and a search doesn't find them. Did I do something wrong?

Posted on Dec 25, 2009 7:49:52 AM PST
Ravens Path says:
Make sure you have the latest update. I had the same problem. They are updating the kindles in waves. There is a thead on this. I will see if I can find the link.

Here it is.

Posted on Dec 25, 2009 7:59:12 AM PST
I've found when I've moved pdf files over as pdf the print is really tiny and the formating is bad. If I send it to kindle ( and put convert in the subject line they will send it back to you via e-mail. This is a free step, no charge. Then you just click on it to down load it and then drag it over to your kindle's doc. file. Then you have a high quality and correctly formatted doc.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 25, 2009 8:05:16 AM PST
Debbie says:
Matthew - the Kindle did come with a USB. It's in the box, under the Kindle in a separate compartment under a black lid. I almost missed mine too when I originally opened it.

Congrats on getting your Kindle. I love mine

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 25, 2009 8:06:49 AM PST
Patti says:
I just got my Kindle yesterday. Shouldn't it have the latest update? Or not?

Posted on Dec 25, 2009 8:11:00 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 25, 2009 8:18:21 AM PST
The way to tell if you have the latest update with PDF support is to press HOME, then MENU, then select Settings. You'll see the software version on the bottom of the screen. It should say "Version: Kindle 2.3 (399380047)".

Are you sure you put the PDF files in the "documents" folder on your Kindle? If you put them in the "root" or top-level directory on the Kindle, they won't show up in your Home screen. Also try sorting your Home screen "By Most Recent First". That should cause the files most recently added or accessed to bubble up to the top of the list.

Posted on Dec 25, 2009 8:17:16 AM PST
Ravens Path says:
Even though you just got it the Kindle may not have the latest update. I was confused about that too. I just followed the directions last week and had no problems updating it manually.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 25, 2009 8:08:56 PM PST
Patti says:
Okay, either I did this wrong or there was a glitch, but the first time I attempted it, it didn't work. I called kindle support tonight and they talked me through it, and now it does. The pdf file I downloaded from google books is now on my kindle. The text is very small. So I'm going to start do as Freda suggested and have emailed the file to I hope this works!

I wanted to thank you and everybody else for the advice!

Posted on Dec 25, 2009 8:44:23 PM PST
I sent a pdf book to,,,it came back, I put it on the book and the type was still miniture! with no size change avalible as with other books!? Anyone know of a work around for this? I had a friend copy the text to ms word ro-do the font size to 24 then pull it back into adobe, that worked fine but there has to be an easier way!!!

Posted on Dec 25, 2009 9:31:33 PM PST
If you email the document for conversion, and it is a pdf, you have to put 'convert' in the subject line, or it will not get converted. You can also use free software like Calibre or Mobipocket Creator, Publisher edition, to convert documents yourself.

Posted on Dec 26, 2009 1:16:32 AM PST
Matthew says:
Thanks everyone for the advice, I have now got it working

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2009 4:00:09 AM PST
irish says:
I had the same problem. I sent a pdf file to my kindle address and the font was small on my kindle. What I did was change it to landscape mode. The print became much larger and therefore readable. I also sent the same file to be converted. But that came back as just a bunch of computer symbols.

Posted on Dec 26, 2009 6:49:05 AM PST
I sent the file to amazon WITH the "convert" in the subject line and it still came back just as tiny and there was no enlargment of the text option with it on the kindle!!??

Posted on Dec 26, 2009 6:52:21 AM PST
Matthew says:
Did you send it to
And was it a pdf?

Posted on Dec 26, 2009 7:05:42 AM PST
Debbie says:
Charlie - I kept having the same problem with pdf files. No matter how I sent it for conversion the print was so small it was uncomfortable to read. Even in landscape mode. So I downloaded Calibre. It's a free download. With Calibre you can convert it to mobi format and then send it through Calibre to the Kindle. When you do it that way you are then able to adjust the font size and so far I've been able to use Text to Speech on all of the books I've done.

I really know nothing about computers. I was sort of apprehensive to try Calibre. But it is so easy. You can manage your books very easily. You can add notes to them etc. If I can do it I think anyone can. I would recommend it.

Posted on Dec 26, 2009 7:08:55 AM PST
Bufo Calvin says:
As to formats for the Kindle, people may find this message helpful:

(Amazon thread relevant to the discussion)

Bufo Calvin
Amazon Author Central page:

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2009 7:27:09 AM PST
Dragi Raos says:
Debbie, if the font is too small to read comfortably and you cannot increase it, then you are still looking at (uncoverted) pdf file.

That said, Calibre (or/and Mobipocket Creator) is still the way to go, I think.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2009 7:52:04 AM PST
Debbie says:
Dragi - I did send them to Amazon for conversion. They came back the same way. Therefore that's when I downloaded Calibre and now convert everything myself.
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  21
Total posts:  48
Initial post:  Dec 25, 2009
Latest post:  Oct 21, 2012

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