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Convert PDF Files to a Kindle Format

Updated on August 2, 2017
Craftymarie profile image

I've been a Kindle user since the very first one came out. My ereader comes everywhere with me so I can dip into my favorite books anytime.

Convert Adobe PDF Files to Kindle's own MOBI Format

See how you can change these files into a Kindle friendly format by using the freely available ebook and conversion software which is known as Calibre. This can make it much more simple for you with just 7 steps required to change to a MOBI file which is native to Amazon's own e-ink devices.

There are numerous methods for the conversion of these documents. Some of these methods require installing software which you'd never use otherwise or in making use of untrusted websites online. If you collect and read ebooks and documents from sources other than just the regular Amazon store then Calibre is going to prove to be a very useful ebook management tool for you in the long term. It is something that many people who read frequently love to use.

Kindle reading device mug
Kindle reading device mug | Source

1) Notes and Tips on Converting Files

You may well have gathered lots of these files from your job, from browsing around the Internet or even as a bulk buy or purchase on an auction site like eBay where you can often pick up a whole CD or DVD disk which comes packed with these ebooks ready to read in a PDF format. I know since I've done this in the past myself.

These files can be read on an Amazon Kindle without any conversion (refer to my previous article here on Hubpages about this) which is probably fine for short documents. Certainly they will work well on a Fire or most other color tablets which display them to their best advantage. However, an e-ink reader is very much a different thing.

Generally, long documents such as Novels are best converted to a MOBI (native Kindle format) so you can make use of all the great functions that your ebook reader has such as multiple text sizes, line spacing, highlights and notes which just don't work with PDFs.

You absolutely cannot convert a protected Adobe file into a native MOBI Kindle format - not without going into things which are probably not strictly legal anyway so you won't find any information on that listed here.

The file needs to be one that is standard and unprotected for the conversion process to work. If you purchased this from some online book store then it probably will have some form of copy protection enabled - as you'd expect. You might want to check with the source (where you got this from) whether it has some sort of copy or data protection on it or not.

Reading These is Much Better on a Color Fire Tablet

These will display in glorious full color on a Kindle Fire tablet and there will be none of the potential layout or readability issues that you might encounter with while trying to view your Adobe versions on a traditional e-ink device. You can use the built in viewer that Amazon provide or you can download the free Adobe app from the appstore instead - and this lets you annotate your files too which is very handy.

Using Dropbox Tip

Did you know that you store your converted .mobi files in a DropBox account online? You can then download these straight onto your Kindle device through Wifi or 3G if it has an experimental web browser on it.

Why are you looking to convert your PDF files to be read on a Kindle?

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2) How to Convert by using Calibre

To convert PDF files to the Kindle format explained in this article, you'll need the Calibre software. Look for this by searching for it online. It comes highly recommended and is used by many ebook readers.

1) ADD PDF TO CALIBRE. Select the button on the top-left of the Calibre software, Add Books. Find and locate your PDF file on your computer and then choose the Open button to add this into the Calibre program.

2) LAST MINUTE EDITS. You should see your file at the top of your ebook data. Press E on your keyboard if you need to edit any ebook information for the file such as editing the Author, Title or Date. Press C on your keyboard when you are done and ready to convert it.

3) WHAT'S YOUR OUTPUT. There is only one main thing you need to note on the conversion screen that appears. You must choose MOBI as the Output Format at the top-right. This tells the software to alter the format into one that is Kindle-friendly. Then press OK.

4) TIME FOR A CHANGE. It can take minutes or even seconds for your reading matter to be changed. It is likely to take a bit longer if it is a really large file or if it has complex formatting such as lots of tables and images inside. When it is done, you will see MOBI appear as a format underneath the image of the book's cover on the right-hand side of the program.

5) CHECK IT OUT. Unfortunately these are very hard to convert well. Most have some problems or issues with the completed conversion. Press V on your keyboard to view your finished output. If it looks OK then go ahead and transfer it to your device. Chances are it might look odd with short lines and extra spaces. We can probably rectify that one with step 6.

6) WALK BACKWARDS. Go back to Step 2 and continue on to Step 3 without pressing the OK button. Look in the left side panel and you'll see a selection there called "Heuristic Processing." Select this and choose to "Enable Heuristic Processing." Then select the OK button.

7) A FINE EXAMPLE. The Heuristic Processing works well for many files which otherwise have problems converting. It doesn't fix all of the issues because there are some which are just too complex for home document conversion. But it normally does a great job. I hope you've enjoyed reading this hub today, thanks for your visit. Do check out the video below.

Convert PDF to MOBI Kindle ~ YouTube

New E-Ink 'Just Like Paper' Paperwhite

If you want to read in the sunshine, an eink gadget is still the best type of reader to use because color tablets do not work so well in the sun and are harder to view. I love my Paperwhite which I can read in bright sunshine and also in bed at night too since it has an inbuilt light added.

© 2011 Marie

Your Comments

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the tips...

    • Craftymarie profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @CliffHowser: Thank you, Cliff. I appreciate your visit.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This sounds like some good software for the conversion of PDFs' to Amazon Kindle documents. Good Job!

    • Craftymarie profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @WebGenova: Yes, unfortunately converting from one type of document to another is not always straightforward and you can get some formatting issues. Calibre does the best job it can :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Calibre is an awesome piece of software: too bad converting from pdf to .mobi or epub could lead to strange graphical results, but in any way it's not Calibre's Fault :)

    • Craftymarie profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @Pam Irie: Thank you very much, veryirie :)

    • Craftymarie profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @laef: Calibre is excellent I admit, Laef. I don't often use it now I just get books from Amazon these days. But, it's perfect if you get ebooks from a variety of sources.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      8 years ago from Land of Aloha

      Converting PDF to Kindle is very helpful information; thank you!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for such information, I personally use calibre and it works perfectly as a management and converting software.The best of all it's that it allows you to choose your reader device (support all kind of readers like kindle including kindle fire), and the output format will suit exactly your device dimensions.

    • Craftymarie profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @JoyfulReviewer: Thank you, yes it can be done. Thanks for dropping by.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the helpful instructions to convert PDF to Kindle.


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