Kindle eBook Conversion

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The Amazon Kindle reads a limited number of formats natively but nearly all of the currently available popular formats can be converted for use on the Kindle.

Note: This information can apply to most eBook readers though the formats in question and the tools used for conversion may differ.

[edit] Native Formats

.azw — the Kindle version of .mobi
.azw1 — aka Topaz; may have a .tpz extension
.txt — plain text
.mobi and .prc — unprotected MobiPocket = no DRM
.aa and .aax — Audible.com audiobooks
.mp3 — you know what those are
May or may not need conversion
.html — simple .html files may be converted but if the extension is changed to .txt, it can be loaded directly onto the Kindle
.jpeg — will work if placed in a special "screensavers" folder when creating custom screen savers, otherwise jpegs must be converted

[edit] Need conversion by Amazon or other software

.doc — MS Word files
.pdf — this is still and experimental conversion, if the document is heavy on charts, graphs and tables it won't turn out well but mostly text documents will be fine
.jpeg
.gif
.png
.bmp
.zip — the zipped file itself is not converted but you can zip a bunch of documents together and send to Amazon for conversion
.odt — OpenOffice files
Need conversion with other software (not through Amazon) - DRM free versions
.lit — MS Reader format
.epub — an emerging new standard
-er.pdb — eReader format, favored format at Fictionwise and eReader.com
.mobi — some secured mobi files DRM can be read with the use of the Kindle's PID
Cannot be converted (at this time)
.lrx — Sony's secured format

[edit] Conversion tools

Now that you know what can be converted you need to know what tools to use. Here is a list of FREE software that every Kindle owner should have if you want to venture outside of the Kindle store or want to create your own Kindle ready documents. You won't need all of them and some features overlap, but you should experiment to see which ones you like working with best.

MobiPocket Creator (Windows only)
Install MobiPocket Creator as the "Publisher Edition" and you'll be able to convert simple pdf files for use on your Kindle. Can also be used to correct or add metadata information on DRM-free ebooks.
MobiPocket Reader (Windows only)
Drag and drop PDF files into the Reader Desktop and read it on any mobile device. It also works for Microsoft Office files, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and RTF TXT files as well. RSS feeds, ePUB, and CHM files can also be converted.
Calibre (Windows, Mac and Linux)
Works best on books without DRM. Can also be used to correct or add metadata information on DRMed and DRM-free ebooks. Lots of different input formats work. See Calibre.
Stanza (Windows and Mac)
Currently working to add metadata support for DRM-free ebooks.
Mobiperl (Windows and Mac)
The perl scripts used to manipulate an eBook's metadata. Can be used via the command line or in conjunction with a GUI like Mobi2Mobi GUI or Calibre.
Mobi2Mobi Command Line (Windows and Mac)
How to use the command line for Mobi2Mobi. Works on .mobi books with or without DRM.
Mobi2Mobi GUI (Windows only)
How to use the GUI for Mobi2Mobi. Works on .mobi books with or without DRM.

Learn about other types of ebook conversion software by visiting our E-book conversion wiki.

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