Why won’t my Kindle read my books?

If you’re like me when I got my Kindle Fire, I was ready to read all the great masterpieces of history.  They are all available for free from sites like http://www.gutenburg.org.  But they all use the open source format called EPUB.  It became a frustrating ordeal until I realized Kindles will ONLY read MOBI format.  As long as you shop the Amazon store and follow their rules, you are fine.  But what if I have a book (legally) in another format?  How do I get that to my Kindle?

The best way I know of is to use Calibre. It’s free software that lets you catalogue your ebook collection on your PC and read the various formats directly on your computer. But it also interfaces to a lot of handheld devices… including Kindle Fire.

Download the latest version from http://calibre-ebook.com/download_windows. During the setup, specify your external device is an Amazon Kindle Fire. (You can always change that later) After its running, import the epub you downloaded or already have by clicking Add Books. It’s best to do one at a time at first so just select from a single directory.

I prefer to make sure all the metadata (author, description, cover etc) is correct, so right-click the book and select Edit Metadata (Individually). There’ll be lots missing and some red fields. In the bottom center of the window, click the Download Metadata button. Depending on the age and number of reprints, you might get several choices. Select the one you think best, then Next. Pick the cover that has the best resolution or looks best then OK. All the information is filled in and you can click OK again to return to your library.

Then you have to convert the book to MOBI format (the only one a Kindle will read). Right-click on your book and select Convert Books (Individually). Make sure the output format in the upper right hand corner is set to MOBI. There are a TON of options here, but as long as you designated the Kindle Fire at first, they will all be optimized for that device. Just click OK and let it work on it. It will take a bit, but it does it in the back ground. Just watch the Jobs update in the lower right hand corner of the main window to see when all the Jobs are done.

Plug the Kindle into the computer and wait until you get a button at the top that says Device. Then you can right click on the book in your collection, and say Send to Device. Make sure to send it to the Main Memory.

Calibre has the ability to import the entire Novel collecting in a single go, but it botches it up because the metadata isn’t consistent. I strongly suggest bringing them one at a time as if you were buying them from a store. That way you know what is in your library.

That’s the “quick and dirty”, but there’s much more to Calibre and the help is decent. There’s also videos on Youtube that can help. Let me know if you have any more questions.

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