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Reading Epub books on Kindle is possible after conversion to Kindle's MOBI format.

If I have an ebook on my computer in e-pub format and send it to a friend's computer, can they then send it to their Kindle via a USB cable?

In this excerpt from Answercast #77, I look at ways to send a book that is in epub format to a Kindle so it can be read.

Epub books on a Kindle

Well, the answer to the literal question that you asked is yes. They can send it to their Kindle.

The problem is the Kindle won't be able to read it. In other words, they won't be able to read the file. So the practical answer to your question is no. Kindle does not support epub format.

However, there is a solution. There's a program called Calibre. It is (among many things) an ebook conversion program. It's actually a desktop ebook reader, but it will do conversions of one format to another.

Convert to Kindle format

You can use Calibre to load up your epub book and then save it in .mobi or MOBI format.

MOBI format is actually the native format used by the Amazon Kindle. They put a DRM layer on top of that, but fundamentally, it's the underlying format used by Kindle. In fact, the format I use to upload a Kindle book to be published is the .mobi format.

You can perform that conversion yourself using Calibre.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Article C6120 - December 10, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Reverend Jim
December 11, 2012 10:32 AM

You mention that Calibre is "actually a desktop ebook reader". While Calibre incorporates an excellent stand-alone e-book reader, Calibre is mainly an e-book library organizer/management program. For some time now the authors have released updates to Calibre every Friday. They are very open to suggestions for features and those that are accepted are implemented quickly. I made a suggestion for a change to the e-book reader several months back. It was available for download within three days.

For what it's worth, I give it five stars.

Frank D
December 11, 2012 10:36 AM

Rather than using Calibre, which I have tried two separate times and uninstalled as just too complicated, I use Hamster (100% Free Download Ebook Converter from Hamstersoft - "Hamster eBook Converter Is a 100% Free Download and Easy Way to Move eBooks Between Devices - allows you to convert eBook files in proprietary formats for Sony, iRiver, Amazon, Kobo, and other eBook readers into a version that can be read on any other reader") to convert .mobi to .epub and vice versa. Extremely simple and convenient to use, with no extraneous overhead, such as that which is installed with Calibre.

December 11, 2012 2:48 PM

It should be noted that this will probably not work for DRM locked EPUB files. I haven't ever dealt with e-books, Kindle, Calibre, or Hamster eBook Converter, but if I've learned anything, it is that companies that can make life frustrating for their paying customers usually will. Meanwhile, anyone who wants to pirate will get an unlocked version of the content and probably enjoy a better experience.

December 11, 2012 7:40 PM

Another way is to install the 'Nook for Adroid' App on the Kindle Fire -- works great. However, I agree that you are not doing justice to one of the really great 'free' open source programs ever -- Calibre. Calibre is NOT an eReader -- altho as one of its many functions and capabilities does provide an excellent eReader -- one that can read virtually any of the many eBook formats without requiring conversion -- and it is stand-alone, i.e., it is a separately executable program that you set as the default opener for eBooks of all types (EPUB, MOBI, PRC, LIT, AZW, HTML, FRZ, LPF, PDB, PDF, and probably many others). But it is NOT Calibre -- it just comes with the package. The real benefits of Calibre is its library management/organizer tools, its metadata editor, its 'Get Books' web searcher, and especially, its conversion feature which allows you to convert from virtually any format to virtually any format -- and, if you are so inclined, there are plugins that take care of the DRM issues. I have used Calibre for several years -- it now manages my 1500 ebook library.

Frank D
December 12, 2012 6:29 AM

The original poster asked "How can I read an epub formatted book on a Kindle." Calibre is wonderful for all the extra things it does and makes possible, but Hamster is the simplest, most direct route to the OP's goal. When all one wants to do is convert one format to another, Calibre is overkill, like installing Photoshop to lighten up a photo.

December 12, 2012 2:58 PM is an easy to use on-line eBook file converter.

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