Learn about using the Kindle Previewer to convert.
- [Instructor] Another way to get your book up onto the Kindle Bookstore is to export it or get it into ePUB format, a valid ePUB format. And then from the ePUB, convert it to a MOBI file. Very likely, you already have an ePUB that you are submitting to the Apple iBookstore or to Kobo, and so you already have one that's good to go. Where you want to start with this process is this page here, Kindle Format 8 Overview. This is actually an old page because KF8, this format, was introduced in 2011.
But one of the reasons I like it, other than it reminds me of what's so cool about KF8, this is the current version for most Kindle reflowable and fixed layout ebooks, is that it's based on HTML5 and CSS3, which may sound familiar if you remember the ePUB chapter, because that's what ePUBs are all about. What I like about it is it's got all these handy links to things that I download all the time. So I have this page bookmarked in my working computer. And while we're on this page right here, the program I'm going to show you is one of their free utilities called Kindle Previewer.
And Kindle Previewer shows you what an ebook looks like in various models of the Kindle right on your desktop, either a Mac or Windows desktop. And I believe I've shown that to you a few times already in this title. One thing I want to mention, though, is that if you click here as I record this, if you click Kindle Previewer it brings you to the older Kindle Previewer, which is version 2.94. And the one that I've been using in this title is currently actually in beta, called Kindle Previewer 3.
So I recommend that you download that one if you want what your screen shows to match what's on my screen. The point about Kindle Previewer is that not only can it show you what a MOBI file looks like on various devices right on your computer, but it will also convert an ePUB to MOBI. We're going to jump there in a second, but there's one other thing I want you to download while we're here, Kindle Publishing Guidelines. This is the Bible of how your files should be formatted in order for the Kindle Store to list them and sell them successfully.
I've already downloaded it and I've opened it up in Acrobat. Here's the Publishing Guidelines. And I'm going to jump right to the very beginning, Getting Started. Isn't that inspiring? I think it is. And it's telling you paths to getting your content on Kindle. The main thing I want to call your attention to is right here. You can create them in-house, that means at your location rather than having Amazon convert for you, from HTML files or ePUB files. As we talked about previously, if you have a Word document you need to get it into HTML format to upload it there, or you can use an ePUB file.
And I would say that most professional ebook developers and designers use this method. You create a valid ePUB file using any one of the methods that I've already talked about, and then you use Kindle Previewer to convert it to a MOBI file so that you can test what it looks like on-screen in Kindle Reader apps and also on Kindle devices. You can side-load it, add it to a Kindle device and see what it looks like. And we'll take a look at that in a little bit. First let's talk about the process of converting an ePUB to MOBI.
I have Kindle Previewer running already. Let me Hide Others so we can focus on this. And all you need to do is choose Open Book. You can also drag and drop a book. I could look at the MOBI file, but in this case I'm going to have it convert this ePUB to a MOBI file. I'll click Open, and it does a little bit of conversion dance. It's checking to see if it can support the latest version of the file structure, which is technically called KFX believe it or not, and that's the enhanced type setting.
And there it goes. It has actually converted it to a MOBI file, and it's previewing it right now in Kindle Previewer. So I could say oh, that's what the book would look like on a tablet. And the drop caps are working pretty well, that's good. Those are usually pretty problematic. And there it is on a phone, and there it is on a phone in landscape. Let's put it back to tablet, portrait, so on. How do I get a MOBI out of this? You go to the File menu and choose Export. So I choose that and it says, you want a MOBI file or do you want an AZK file? Which is another file type, and it's actually the native file type for the Kindle Store.
If you've ever been able to extract what you've downloaded, the file type ends in .AZK. We won't get into it right now, but for now let's just get a MOBI out of this. And we will save it to the desktop and click Export. Boom, that was fast. There's our book right there. It was successfully exported here. And it's telling us that yes, this does support the latest version of the internal file strucutre, KFX, which includes enhanced type setting.
But for whatever reason, we're not going to be able to see it in this MOBI file. That's fine, it gets close enough. Now don't be surprised after you do the conversion, though, if it looks a little different from the ePUB. Let me show you what I mean. I've loaded this file onto three different devices. First I've loaded the ePUB onto my iPad, and here it is in iBooks. There's the cover, and there's the first content page. Looks pretty good. And I've also loaded the MOBI file onto my Kindle Fire, which is a tablet that has lots of apps in addition to a Kindle Reader being built-in.
And there's the cover, looks pretty good, and the interior looks fine to me. Still different, though, from the ePUB. And finally, I've loaded it onto another Kindle device, one of their E Ink lines, which are devices that are only for reading ebooks. There's no other apps on there like the tablet, like the Fire. And this one is the Paperwhite model. So you can see it's grayscale, so the cover looks grayscale. And when I open up the book, still looks pretty good, but definitely different from the original ePUB.
And we're just looking at very simple things. You want to check things like captions and tables and pictures to make sure that it works. And the workflow is essentially create an ePUB that following the Publishing Guidelines document will convert most successfully to a MOBI. And then when you're happy, then you can just upload the MOBI file to the KDP Portal and publish your book.
- Finding, downloading, and reading free ebooks
- Choosing the right format for your ebook
- Building reflowable EPUBs and fixed-layout EPUBs
- Using tools like Word, Sigil, calibre, Jutoh, Pages, PubCoder, and InDesign
- Adding animation and interactivity such as clickable buttons
- Creating ebooks for the Kindle
- Learning the pros and cons of PDF ebooks
- Creating reflowable and multitouch ebooks with iBooks Author