If you want to know how to download an ebook to Kindle, the first thing you need to be aware of is what file formats a Kindle can use. If you chose the correct file format then the process becomes no more difficult than using a file manager like ‘Windows Explorer’ to move the file from your PC to your Kindle with a little help from the USB cable which normally comes with your Kindle.
Choosing a File Format For Kindle
So here goes, the file formats that can be loaded and read by a standard Kindle ereader are:
- MOBI – this is the first of two file types designed by Mobipocket and is compatible with a standard Kindle.
- PRC – this is the second of the Mobipocket file types and is again Kindle compatible.
- AZW – Amazon’s own proprietary version of what is essentially a MOBI file, only available from Amazon.
- PDF – this is an Adobe file format and can be read on a Kindle but doesn’t come with anywhere near the flexibility you get with the previous three types. Be aware that you cannot change parameters for these files on Kindle, so if the text is too small then you will be stuck with what you get.
- TEXT – this covers any documents/books written using any standard word processor. It is an option if little formatting is required but still not as good an option as the two formats that top the list.
If you are using 3rd party suppliers of eBooks for Kindle the best option is to choose either the MOBI or PRC file formats. Assuming they have been formatted correctly they should work as well as Amazon’s own proprietary AZW software.
KF8 For Kindle Fire & Some Newer Kindles
But before we leave file types and just to complicate things a little more, Amazon now provide files in a KF8 format. It is fully compatible with the Kindle Fire but the full range of functionality available with the KF8 format does not work on every Kindle device. For a list of Kindle Devices that Support KF8 use this link.
Downloading An eBook to Kindle
Now for downloading a file to Kindle. If you have chosen one of the compatible files and have downloaded it to your PC, then all you need to do is connect your Kindle to your PC using the special USB cable provided for the task and then use your file management program on your PC to copy and paste the file to your Kindle in the appropriate directory, for books it is the ‘documents’ directory. The video below explains how this is done if you need further guidance.
Converting Other File Formats to a Kindle Compatible Format
Of course there are ways and means of converting ebook files from one format to another if you are really desperate for that book that doesn’t come in any of the formats your Kindle can handle. This article on ebook management should help you figure out how to turn an ePub into a MOBI or AZW if you really need to. This is relatively easy to do if the file does not have digital rights management (DRM) protecting it, but quite a lot more difficult if it has.
Where You Can Purchase Kindle Compatible Books
- Smashwords – multiple formats including MOBI
- Lulu – ePub or PDF
- eBooks – mostly ePub or PDF
- BookLocker – ePub, PDF and Kindle compatible
My favourite site from the list, as a publisher, is Smashwords and is where you can find most of the books published on this site in multiple formats including MOBI. ** Authors or publishers decide what formats to publish so not all formats are always available, you have to have a look see what you can get.