These days, if you have and sell your own e-book (or provide one as a freebie) you are utilizing a great strategy to increase your budget, build your subscriber base or create viral awareness and authority around your name. But what’s even more lucrative to have, is your e-book in kindle format. Reading digital books with a Kindle device has become so popular these days. Kindle book sales are far higher than hard cover book sales as Amazon claims. So why not convert your e-book into a kindle compatible book, upload it to Amazon and have it promoted there in this huge market?
So, in this mini tutorial I will share some info on how to turn your pdf e-book into a kindle .mobi file compatible with all kindle devices. The tutorial is a bit technical and brief but it will give you a pretty good understanding of what you must do in order to professionally convert your e-book file to the mobi format. Then you can upload your kindle book to Amazon and preview it there and also make it available for purchase (you will have the option to even let them promote your e-book in their huge market).
But let’s stick to the purpose of this tutorial. How to convert your pdf file into a mobi file supported by all kindle devices. Note that this tutorial assumes you are using windows. There are similar tools for Mac and I believe the method can be modified accordingly to produce the same wonderful results.
OK. Let’s begin…
If your e-book is plain and only text, then there is a really easy way to convert it to .mobi format readable by all kindle devices. You just go to yahoo.com and search for terms similar to:
pdf to mobi online
pdf to mobi converter online
Find a couple of websites, upload your pdf file and they will prompt you to download the .mobi file. Then you can preview the kindle book and see what website produced the best result. Don’t forget to bookmark the website or [Like] them to reward them for their nice (and free) little service.
In most cases though, an e-book contains images and if you want to include them in your kindle version then do not use an online service/website as they will likely give you a converted file with only text. And even if they do add some of the images, your book will look like a mess on kindle devices (prove me wrong and comment here).
So, here’s a more professional way to do it and this is how some of the big companies do it. First of all, do not convert your Word file (assuming you are using Word to write your e-books) to pdf at all! That’s right.- Instead, you will need to convert it to HTML format.
If for any reason (I wonder what that might be) you only have the pdf file, then you can use software like Adobe Acrobat to export (save as) file as HTML. But assuming you have the original source file in Word.
First, create an empty folder on your desktop and name it as you like (e.g. kindle_ebook) but don’t give it a very long name (you will discover why in a while, keep reading…)
Now in Word, open your book file and then:
File –> Save As (make sure to save as webpage, if Smoothed HTML option is offered select it.)
Select to save the file in the folder you created in previous step.
After Word is done saving (it will have an .htm extension), go to the folder on your desktop. You will notice it does not contain a single webpage file but it also has one or more folders (e.g. one for images) or more files associated with the actual .htm file.
Then you need to open your newly created HTML file with Word (right click and “Open with…” or similar) and make sure everything is in place. Edit the file according to your desire. Please note that your kindle version will (and should) be different than your e-book version and it makes sense right? (kindle screen is much smaller than a computer screen)
Next, you will need a tool called “KindleGen” offered by Amazon. This tool will perfectly turn your HTML file (.htm) into a Kindle book file (.mobi) and will ensure compatibility.
Again, go to yahoo.com and search for:
And after you download the file, copy it inside your “kindle_book” folder which lies on your desktop.
Now, here’s where this tutorial becomes a little more technical. The kindlegen tool is a command line tool which means you can only use it by typing certain commands in a command line window.
It is not difficult, just two commands needed, but if you haven’t done this before it might seem complex.
So, if you are using Windows XP:
Start –> Run –> and in the small window that will pop up enter the word:
…and click “OK”
On Windows 7, 8 (or even later version if they still have the command line tool included) search for a program named:
…and run it.
When you run the CMD tool, a window with black background and fixed dimensions (usually) will open up. This is where you have to type your two commands. Let’s get to it.
First you must navigate to the folder where you have kindlegen and the html file along with the images and the rest of the files.
The path of this folder in Windows XP should be something like:
C:Documents and SettingsYourUserNameDesktopkindle_ebook
…where “YourUserName” must be replaced with the actual username you have for that computer and “kindle_ebook” is the folder you created on your desktop with all the files (this is why you want to give a short name to the folder). If you don’t know your username (why?), then navigate to the:
C:Documents and Settings
…folder and look the names of the folders there. Acknowledge the folder with your username and make sure the “Desktop” folder is inside it. Also, make sure the “kindle_ebook” folder exists inside the “Desktop” folder.
If you are using Windows 7, 8 then you must know the path to your desktop and the folder there. If you can’t find that (not that easy for average user), then try to create the initial “kindle_ebook” folder on drive C: instead of your desktop. It will be easier to navigate there.
Now, in the command line tool type the following (first command) and hit enter:
cd C:Documents and SettingsYourUserNameDesktopkindle_ebook
This will take you inside the basic “kindle_ebook” folder where all your files are located (note there is a space after “cd”).
Next type the following command and hit enter:
…where “EbookFileName.htm” is the name of your book file that you saved in HTML format. (again, there is a space after “kindlegen”).
Important: Whatever you type in the command line tool should be case sensitive. Also, take account of spaces.
If everything went according to plan, the mobi file creation process will start… Discard the warnings kindlegen will give you and wait until the kindle book is created. You will get a final message, something like “mobi file created but with Warnings!“.
Now, go to the “kindle_ebook” folder and you should see the .mobi file there. This is the file you should upload to Amazon and there’s an option to preview it there.
If you want to take it even further you can create an .opf file and an .ncx file so that you can utilize the certain features kindle devices have like book cover, table of contents, content highlighting, back cover text etc. But if I go into that stuff it would make this tutorial really complicated for the average user.
Do you find the above step by step guide too technical? Do you want the job done quickly by a professional who will also make use of the features kindle devices have, like the “Cover Image” feature or the “Table of Contents” feature etc.? Then you can try this little pdf to mobi service for a really low price ($5). Alternatively, check out this small ebook to mobi service (also $5). I have personally tried these mini services and I know there are professionals behind them, else I wouldn’t recommend any.
Reading books via Kindle has become so trendy these days especially among quality readers. Kindle sales are rising year by year. New device versions are invented and released (e.g. Kindle Fire). Moreover there’s kindle for iPhone and iPad. If you have an e-book and you are not yet in that billion dollar market, then I believe you are missing a lot. So, go ahead and try to make your first pdf to mobi conversion!