Kindle File Formats – How to Read Everything on Your Kindle Fire

Kindle File Formats - How to Read Everything on Your Kindle Fire
Image by Zhao! http://bit.ly/1yIshgi

It’s a pretty well known fact that the Kindle is the most popular e-reader on the market. It came out relatively early in the e-book revolution and is backed by Amazon, which means it has a tremendous distribution network. The size of the Amazon network also means you should learn about the Kindle file formats so you can use your Kindle for your old e-books as well as your new ones.

Why You Need to Convert

One of the few problems with the Kindle (and many of the other readers as well) is that it only reads a specific type of e-book file. They developed their own Kindle file formats called AZW, or AZW3 (in the more recent versions). The Kindle also has the ability to read files in the MOBI and PRC formats. As far as document files, the Kindle can easily manage TXT and PDF files.

However, if you have e-book files that do not use those specific file extensions, your Kindle will have trouble opening them because they were not created with the specific Kindle ebook file format.

As we become more technologically savvy, and more dependent upon our devices, this gets more complicated. For example, if you previously had a different kind of e-reader device you may have many books that you want to keep, but in most cases, if those books aren’t using the Kindle file formats, your new Kindle won’t be able to read them.

You might also have a large document that you need to read for work, but you want the convenience of having that document on your Kindle instead of having to carry around your laptop anytime you think you may want to read it.

The good news is that you don’t have to lose access to those books or important documents if you have access to a good online ebook converter.

How to Convert

The really good news is that it is very simple to convert your e-book files from one type of format to one of the Kindle file formats, if you have a good converter.

In most cases, all you have to do is access the e-book converter and then tell it which file you want to convert simply by browsing on your computer and selecting the proper file. Then you select which of the Kindle file formats you want the file converted to. There may be some additional features to choose from, but they will depend upon the specific converter you’re using.

The converter should then either send you an email of the converted file or provide you with a download button on the website page you’re using. Then you just need to add the newly converted e-book (now created in one of the Kindle file formats) to your Kindle and you’re ready to go!

Which Format to Choose

Of course, if you are converting your e-book files to something that will work with your Kindle, you should convert it to the AZW or AZW3 formats. However, if you are converting your files for a different type of e-reader, make sure you select the specific file that can be read by your device.

Files Supported by Your eBook Reader

eBook Reader File Formats
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eBook readers have a lot advantages over books in a printed paper-form. They are lighter, multiple books can be stored on one device, you don’t need any bookmarks because the reader remembers the page you read last, and so on. Yet, once you decided that you want to buy an eBook reader, you have quite the variety to choose from.

Following, we have listed some of the most popular eBook readers and the different file formats they support. Whether your can open and view PDF documents, MOBI files, or even PNG images on your mobile reading device can help you to choose the right one for you.

Amazon Kindle

The most well-known of all eBook readers isthe Amazon Kindle, as well as the Kindle Touch and Kindle Paperwhite versions. The one file extension most commonly associated with the Kindle is the eBook format AZW3 (or AZW for earlier versions). Other files the Kindle can open and display are:

  • eBook Files: AZW and AZW3MOBI and PRC (unprotected)
  • Document Files: TXT and PDF

Other files are supported by the Kindle as well, made usable on the device through conversion:

  • Document Files: HTML, DOC, and DOCX
  • Image Files:  JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP
  • Audio Files: AA, AAX, and MP3 (Kindle Touch)

Unfortunately, not all eBook file types can be opened with Amazon’s Kindle devices. The very common EPUB file, which is used by many other eBook readers, is not supported.

Barnes & Noble Nook

The Nook series of eBook readers was developed by and for the American company and book retailer Barnes & Noble. The e-reading devices are based on Android technology, and B&N even offers a service where you can read a Nook Store book for free for one hour per day when connected with the wi-fi connection in the B&N stores.

  • eBook Files: EPUB and PDBCBZ (Nook Tablet)
  • Document Files: PDF; DOC and DOCX (Nook Color and Nook Tablet)
  • Image Files: JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP
  • Audio Files: MP3, AAC, and OGG (Nook 1st gen and Nook Color)
  • Video Files: MP4, 3GP, MKV, WEBM, and more (Nook Tablet)

The Nook does not support Amazon’s AZW3 and books stored in the MOBI file format.

ECTACO jetBook

The jetBook is ECTACO’s mobile reading device which was introduced to the market in 2008. Files supported by the jetBook include:

  • eBook Files: EPUB, FB2, MOBI, and PRC
  • Document Files: PDF, TXT, RTF, and HTML
  • Image Files: JPEG, PNG, GIF, and BMP
  • Audio Files: MP3

The built-in MP3 player enables users of the jetBook to listen to music directly on the device while reading.

Amazon’s AZW and AZW3 files are not supported by ECTACO’s jetBook.

Kobo eReader

The Kobo (the name is an anagram to the word “book”) was developed by Kobo Inc. in Toronto, but later on bought by the Japanese company Rakuten. The following files are supported by the Kobo reader:

  • eBook Files: EPUB, MOBI, PRC, and CBZ
  • Document Files: PDF, TXT, and HTML

The Kobo Reader does not support Amazon’s AZW and AZW3 files.

PocketBook

Thee is a huge list of mobile reading devices developed and going under the name of PocketBook. The brand also produces tablet computers with an Android operating system.

  • eBook Files: EPUB, MOBI, FB2, and DJVU
  • Document Files: TXT, PDF, and HTML

Amazon’s AZW and AZW3 files are not supported by PocketBook devices.

Now that you read about the file formats supported by the most popular eBook reading devices, it should be a lot easier to make a choice. But even if you encounter an eBook you can not open with the reader you bought, you can still convert your eBook files into a supported file format.

 

The Best eBook File Formats

In the early days of the eBooks, there were limited options when it came to the file extensions that were used. Whatever file they gave you was what you used because that is likelyebook file formats all that was available. However, today people and businesses have started publishing eBooks and there are also eReader devices on the market today. Of course, another problem is that we seem to replace our frequently replace our electronic devices with “bigger and better” models.

Because of those things, it’s become more confusing to keep track of the eBook file formats you can use on your devices and what will need to be converted before you can open and read it (or send it).

We’re here to clear up that confusion for you.

ePub

This eBook file format can be used on the Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Readers and most Apple devices. There are also addons that can be used in Firefox to read the book on your computer. ePub is an open format and it was created with the purpose of acting as the source file for the book as well as the format needed for the end user.

AZW

The AZW file format is based on the MOBI format (but it has a much higher level of compression) and is used exclusively on the Amazon Kindle. However, Kindle has created many apps that allow their eBooks used on Apple products, computers and most tablets.

LIT

LIT is one of the eBook file formats that has been discontinued. It was developed for use on mobile Windows devices through the use of Microsoft Reader software. Since this has been discontinued, you will probably need to convert your eBook files to a format that can be read on your current devices.

PDF

The PDF eBook format is familiar to many people because it is a typical PDF file from Adobe. While this is one of the more popular eBook file formats, it has limitations. It can be read on any device that is equipped with Adobe Reader (and a few others), it does not scale well. This means the PDF eBook format is not very good for smart phones and smaller mobile devices.

ODF

The ODF file format is an XML based format. This is becoming popular because it is the default option for the OpenOffice suite of products that have been developed to give people a free alternative to the traditional Microsoft Office products.

Mobi

The MOBI format is used by the MobiPocket Reader. There is also software and apps available to read these types of eBook file formats on other approved devices. Some of the reading apps for other devices also open Mobi files. However, MOBI files sometimes have trouble converting tables and images on different size devices.

 

Now that you know what the best options are for eBook file formats, you can make a better choice when you are forced to use an eBook format converter on any of your eBook files.