Ebook readers are a nice tool for people who like to do a lot of reading on the go (here’s our list of the best ebook readers), and Amazon’s various Kindles are among the best. Although the devices provide good performance in an attractive frame, Kindles do have one notable drawback — they do not support the EPUB format. For those unaware, EPUB is one of the most common ebook formats. It’s open-source and free to use, and as such, is supported by most ebook readers aside from the Kindle. EPUB is also a popular format for free ebooks, such as the public domain texts on sites like Project Gutenberg. As such, Kindle users may be miffed to learn they can’t read them.
Those who have a Kindle and a library of unreadable EPUB files need not worry, however. With a little work, it is possible to convert an EPUB file into a format the Kindle can read. Even better, the process is surprisingly quick. Here’s how to do it.
Kindle supports Amazon’s proprietary format, AZW, as well as the similar MOBI format. If you have an EPUB file that you want to read on a Kindle, the simplest way is to convert it to MOBI, and there are several programs that will allow you to do this. One of the most popular is Calibre, a program that allows users to organize ebooks and convert them to different formats. You can download Calibre for free online; it’s available on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
Please note: These screenshots are from the MacOS version of Calibre — but the procedure for Calibre on Windows is exactly the same.
Once you have installed Calibre, the first step is to add an EPUB book to the library. Download the EPUB file to your computer — from Project Gutenberg or a Humble Bundle — and then click on the button labeled Add books in Calibre.
If you want to select one specific file, click Add books from a single directory, then find the file and select it.
Once you have added the ebook to your Calibre library, select it, then click Convert books.
This will open a new window, giving you numerous options for adjusting the metadata and formatting of the new file you will create. For our purposes, the only thing that matters is the output format, which you can select from a drop-down menu in the upper right. Make sure this field is set to MOBI.
The conversion process may take a minute. Once it is finished, right-click on the ebook in your library and select Open containing folder.
The MOBI file should be there. Now, simply plug in your Kindle to your computer, then copy and paste the MOBI file to your Kindle.
Another reliable program for converting EPUB files to MOBI is Amazon’s own Kindle Previewer, available as a free download for Windows and Mac OS X. This is an application that allows users to preview the look of ebooks on various Kindle models. In order to accurately preview an EPUB file, the Previewer will automatically convert it into MOBI.
To use Kindle Previewer, download and install it, then select Open book from the main page.
After a short time, the conversion process will finish, and a dialog box will open to alert you and provide you with a link to the folder where the new file has been saved. Click that link to view the file location.
Now that you have a MOBI file, all that remains is to move it to your Kindle. Plug your Kindle into your computer, then copy and paste the MOBI file to your Kindle.