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Can anyone spell out supported book Kindle formats for me?

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Showing 1-17 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 11, 2009 4:10:48 AM PST
N. Harres says:
Hi all - my wonderful husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas and it's arriving today - so excited!!!! I've been following the discussions about library books and free books you can download online at other websites besides Amazon. I've browsed and it's getting overwhelming especially once you start looking at all the different formats available out there and all the "tricks" to get them to work on a Kindle. Can someone spell out for me what formats the Kindle will support without my having to add drivers/scripts or mess with formatting issues and then how to get such books onto my Kindle (I think I just have to email it to myself and then will be charged the 10 cents or whatever?).

Posted on Dec 11, 2009 4:29:42 AM PST
J. Harres - there are lots of websites you can get kindle books from. Some of my favorites are smashwords; ellora's cave and samhein (mybookstoreandmore). For all of these, select the mobipocket format and download to your computer; then simply drag those files from your computer to your kindle via the usb cord. There is another website (fictionwise, maybe...?) that will also allow you to send your downloads directly to your kindle. You can also send to and they will be sent for coversion and return to your kindle free (you'll have to download using the USB cable). Hope this helps!

Posted on Dec 11, 2009 4:34:33 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 11, 2009 4:36:36 AM PST
Paxton says:
J. Harres - Welcome to the Kindle club! I think you will love your new Christmas present.

Amazon supports a few formats - its own AMZ format, one called AMZ1 or TPZ which is TOPAZ, a format which allows the publishhers to embed their own fonts (but which is a flukey format that has some issues), native TXT files, native PDF files, MOBI and PRC files. Those can be copied directly to your Kindle without conversion, unless they have been encrypted (DRM'd) for a particular Kindle - usually the case with purchased content. But there are thousands of free books on Amazon - just go to the Kindle store and sort by lowest price to highest.

Also, download the free "Magic Catalog" from This is a Kindle book from Gutenberg Press which has thousands of free books listed in it. You can scroll thru and see what you'd like, or wait until the entire book is indexed (can take overnight as a background task) for author and title searches. Then click on any of the links, and the book will be automatically sent to your Kindle.

Also, if you send Word documents to (yourname), Amazon will convert it for you for free to the AZW format and send it to your email - just save it to the documents folder of your Kindle via the USB cable. You can go years without paying for a thing - although the Kindle store is VERY tempting!

Posted on Dec 11, 2009 4:46:43 AM PST
N. Harres says:
Thank you both for your replies - I think I've got a good grasp on where to start. Now I have to decide if I'm going to spend my time reading on my new toy or browsing for material to put on it!

Posted on Dec 11, 2009 6:17:34 AM PST
TuxGirl says:
.mobi or .prc will both work without conversion

Posted on Dec 11, 2009 6:22:52 AM PST
You may also want to check out these posts. They talk about some good sites to get books...

There is also this newer thread that is a little easier to follow:

Posted on Dec 11, 2009 9:56:35 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 11, 2009 9:58:39 PM PST
Mabalacat says:
I have about 1000 lit files that I used to read with Microsoft reader on my laptop. I found that the freeware program calibre E-book Manager will convert them to mobi which works perfectly on my kindle. In the convert screen under Look and feel I turn off font rescaling and text justification. The results are perfect for me.

Posted on Dec 12, 2009 12:19:09 AM PST
Diane says:
Someone yesterday mentioned this site that will watch for paper books to become available in the Kindle format. It even watches your Amazon wishlist for you. Do try calibe. I used that for tons of books. It's great because it downloads a little rundown of what the book is about and tags like whether it is fantasy or adventure. Once you get a hundred or so books on your Kindle, that will be VERY helpful. What a great husband.

Posted on Dec 12, 2009 5:24:54 AM PST
N. Harres says:
You all have been so very helpful - thanks! Now that I've spent so much time browsing all these free books, I'm going to have to set aside some time to read them. And to think, my husband thought owning a Kindle would cost him even more $$$$ - I had no idea so many freebies were available.

Posted on Dec 12, 2009 6:07:43 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Sep 1, 2010 2:15:41 PM PDT
Bufo Calvin says:
Welcome to the Klub, N.!

Here is a list...I've listed it before, but it's been quite awhile and it has changed a bit:

Files your Kindle should be able to read (you just put them in the documents folder):


Files your Kindle can read if they were downloaded for this specific Kindle (such as those you get from the Kindle store)


Files your Kindle can read if they do not have code (Digital Rights Management, other security) that prevents it:

.pdf (not the Kindle 1)

Files that can be converted by Amazon (with varying degrees of success) for free for your Kindle

.htm, .html

In addition, you can use "third party software" (not from Amazon...Calibre is a popular one) to convert other formats.

Last I checked, Calibre converted the following to mobi (which the Kindle can read):


By the way, the Kindle store itself has about 20,000 freebies right now (although the formatting may be better other places). This thread on free books may be useful:

(Amazon thread relevant to the discussion)

Your husband may be relieved to know that the last time I checked, my average download from Amazon was less than eighty cents...if I included titles from other places and the fact that we share the books in the family, it would be much lower. :)

Bufo Calvin
Amazon Author Central page:

Posted on Dec 13, 2009 1:56:06 PM PST
N. Harres,

Now that you've explored some various sites where you can get books for your Kindle, allow me to provide another tip for you. It's called Jungle Search and is a site you'll likely want to bookmark:

Jungle search is for the Amazon store only, no third party sites are included. It helps you sift through the thousands and thousands of books available from Amazon to help you find the kinds of books you want. First, select your preferred genre from the list at the side of the screen. Then fill in whichever of the boxes in the middle that are relevant to you. Would you like to search by price? If you're only interested in free books, enter 0.00 to 0.00. Or, if you want to "shop at the bargain table" and locate books under $5.00, put in 0.00 to 5.00. Or perhaps you'd rather search by customer rating? In any case, this site will help you identify the Amazon content that's available for your Kindle.

Welcome to the Klub :)

Posted on Mar 21, 2010 8:06:16 PM PDT
Julia T says:
I'm thinking of getting a Kindle, and my main priority is the ability to read (free) non-Amazon books. I've read the threads about using Calibre (or other programs) to convert eBooks to Kindle-friendly formats, and noticed the comment about DRM interfering with that. My question is whether the ePUB books that public libraries frequently offer are usually DRM-protected? (I.e., will I be able to use Calibre/other to convert library ePUB books to read on Kindle, or will DRM interfere?

Posted on Mar 21, 2010 9:00:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 22, 2010 6:17:47 AM PDT
Bufo Calvin says:
Julia, DRM is likely to interfere, if you are talking about books that would be under copyright protection (as opposed to typically older, public domain books).

You can ask your local library...I'm sure they can tell you.

Bufo Calvin
Amazon Author Central page:

Posted on Mar 22, 2010 4:49:03 AM PDT
Buttercup says:
Thanks for the question and all the answers. I wanted to know myself.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 13, 2011 6:51:57 PM PDT
Patti (PBP) says:
I would like to download a free ebook from the Baen Free Library site, do I download the unzipped files or download zip file in the Mobi/Palm/Kindle Format Zip. I do not know which one to use, thanks.

Posted on Mar 13, 2011 7:26:42 PM PDT
.mobi format is the one for Kindle. You will have to unzip it, if you get a zipped file, before moving it to Kindle. Only if you have a very slow, dial-up line, would I bother to download the zipped form, since book files are small, and I don't want to have to unzip it. I would normally recommend the non-zipped, regular .mobi/kindle format from Baen. I have dozens of books from them.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 13, 2011 7:31:12 PM PDT
Patti (PBP) says:
Thank you, I will give it a try, I found a few nice books I'd like to read.
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  13
Total posts:  17
Initial post:  Dec 11, 2009
Latest post:  Mar 13, 2011

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