Hello everyone! If you’re like me and get your eBooks from sources other than Amazon all the time but prefer to read on a Kindle device or using the Kindle app, then you’re probably familiar with the Send to Kindle service where you email the book file to your Amazon address. Well, today I did just that with a .mobi eARC file an author sent me and I got an automated email from the Amazon service department informing me that:
- MOBI and AZW are now outdated. Newer software features on Kindle devices and in the Kindle app will not work for these files.
- Any MOBI/AZW files already in your library will still exist and will still open, but may not have all features available as mentioned above.
- Starting in August 2022 the preferred format for Kindle will be EPUB
So I decided to experiment. I removed that MOBI from my library, converted to EPUB, and sent it again just to see if maybe Send to Kindle has already been updated. The answer is no, the send failed 30 minutes later. Next I sent the EPUB with the email subject line “CONVERT” which is supposed to accept other eBook formats and convert to Kindle’s preferred format. This also failed, which is interesting. I guess we don’t have that option anymore while Amazon makes this transition. For now, I’ve re-sent myself the MOBI file.
The email also advised that while MOBI and AZW files already in your library will continue to open, if you want to take full advantage of Kindle features, you should convert to EPUB and re-upload once this change takes effect. Fortunately for me I keep all of the eBook files sent to me in the cloud, so I can, but I predict many ebook owners are going to be hung out to dry on this issue as Amazon still does not allow you to download your document files from your Devices and Content library. (Thanks, Amazon.)
So what does this mean? For the rest of the month and going into July, nothing. Carry on as normal.
Starting in August, book reviewers and purchasers getting eBooks from sources outside of the Amazon store offerings should go for EPUB files, not MOBI. Authors and publicists sending out review copies should consider either defaulting to EPUB format or checking in with reviewers who request MOBI starting in August / for a planned review date in August or father off in the future.
If you do have access to your non-EPUB eBook files and you need to convert your library, here’s how:
- For protected EPUB files (DRM) from places such as NetGalley, download your locked EPUB and open using Adobe Digital Editions. This will generate an unlocked (standard) EPUB file, which should be what you now need for Send to Kindle starting in August. You can stop here or use the next step to clean up the data/add a different cover image/etc. Yes, many listings on NetGalley have a Send to Kindle option directly on the site, but I find they send without covers attached, and I like having the backup file.
- For converting all unlocked eBook formats to any other unlocked eBook format, and to make edits to things such as title, author name, cover images, etc. use Calibre. Even while MOBI was still the preferred format for Send to Kindle, I was loading my MOBI files into Calibre first to make sure the title, author name, and cover image were present and what I would be looking for on my Kindle device. NetGalley files in particular notoriously do not attach cover files and I usually have to add them.
Pro-tip for Calibre: You can change the location of your library folder in Calibre. I have mine in the sync folder for my cloud backups, so my entire Calibre library (all my books in every format I have plus their cover art) is constantly backed up.
Pro-tip for NetGalley: When viewing a book’s listing on NetGalley, right-click or CTRL/CMD + click on the image to open it in its own window/tab. Change the word “medium” in the URL to “large” to view and download the largest available cover image file for that book. Using this to replace the cover image in Calibre will guarantee that the cover doesn’t have a weird white border due to being too small when viewing it on Kindle or any other ereader.