Amazon recently announced that beginning in August 2022 it will no longer accept Mobi ebooks through its Send-to-Kindle service. Instead, it will now support ePub ebook files sent to its Kindle device and apps through the service.
What’s ‘Send-to-Kindle’ again?
Send-to-Kindle allows Kindle owners to e-mail compatible ebook files and documents to their own special Kindle email address. Send-to-Kindle converts these files to Kindle’s accepted formats and stores them in the reader’s Kindle library, to access on their e-ink device or smartphone app.
The change is interesting news for Kindle owners as well as publishers and independent online bookshops that sell ebooks direct.
One of the benefits of buying DRM-free ebooks is that you can read them on any of your favourite reading devices - Kindle, Nook, Kobo, phone or tablet. Most bookshops that sell ebooks ensure this by providing two types of files: ePub and Mobi.
About those ebook formats
Epub files work on almost any e-reader device and app, except Kindle readers or apps. Epub (electronic publication) is an open standard that anyone can read about and build software for. Creating ePub-compatible ebooks is reasonably straightforward for authors and publishers. There’s a huge range of software, both free and paid, that allows anyone to create an ePub ebook. You can even install extensions to your browser to save web pages and articles as ePub files, to read on your e-reader.
As well as their own proprietary formats (AZW and AZW3), Kindle e-readers and apps can read Mobi files. Mobi (or Mobipocket) is an old ebook format originally launched in 2000, and purchased by Amazon in 2005.
You can read more about ebook formats on The Epubizer.
From the early days of Kindle, Amazon’s e-readers and apps have understood and displayed Mobi format ebooks. And this looks set to continue, despite what some news outlets claim.
What does this announcement really mean?
The only change is the formats accepted by the Send-to-Kindle service. Nothing else.
A number of people seem to have misunderstood the announcement, and are claiming that the Kindle now natively support ePubs, and that Amazon will start selling ePub files soon. This isn’t the case, and certainly isn’t backed up by the very specifically worded e-mail announcement from Amazon.
Put simply, the list of accepted formats you can use with Send-to-Kindle now includes ePub, but from August 2022,Mobi files will no longer be supported. The ePub files sent to readers’ Kindles through the Send-to-Kindle service will be automatically converted to the Kindle’s own format, AZW for reading on your Kindle e-reader or app.
The Amazon Kindle's AZW format (a.k.a. Kindle File Format) is basically just the Mobipocket format.
In late 2011, the Kindle Fire introduced "Kindle Format 8" (KF8), also known as AZW3 file format that supports a subset of HTML5 and CSS3 features, while acting as a container for a backwards-compatible MOBI content document.
You can see that Amazon’s own Kindle formats, AZW & AZW3, both support Mobi files.
Your Kindle device – no matter how old – or smartphone app will still be able to read Mobi files.
But there’s a but.
Can I still get indie ebooks onto my Kindle?
That’s a different issue, isn’t it.
When you buy an ebook, many ebookshops and the publishers or authors who sell ebooks direct will send you either your choice of ePub or Mobi or a package of both formats. You can see which formats over 300 ebookshops stock in our list of DRM-free bookshops. (What’s DRM?)
The best way to get indie ebooks onto your Kindle device or app from August 2022 will be to buy the ePub.
But some indie outlets may only have Mobi files available. If this is the case, all is not lost.
You can still transfer Mobi files to your Kindle old-school style. Using an USB cable, plug your Kindle into the computer where you’ve downloaded your Mobi files to, and transfer the files from the computer to your e-reader.
Your phone or tablet’s Kindle app will still open Mobi files you’ve already downloaded to your device. It’s only e-mailing files to your Kindle library through Send-to-Kindle that’s affected.
If you’ve always bought Mobi files to read on your Kindle and you haven’t yet transferred them to your device, now is the time. But if you haven’t got the time to organise that, most bookshops will let you log back in to download a different format, or will be happy to e-mail you the ePub version if you contact them.
The deadline again: August 2022
Remember, you have until August to send all your Mobi files to your Kindle account. You can also keep them safe in your own ebook cloud library at Libreture. You get 500 megabytes of free storage, which is enough for hundreds of ebooks, and can upgrade at any time.
Many ebookshops may decide to phase out selling Mobi files after August, expecting that everyone will be using ePubs via Send-to-Kindle...
Your Kindle can’t actually read ePubs themselves, only Mobi files (or ebooks you buy direct from Amazon). The only way this could happen is if Amazon sends out a major software update to Kindle devices that allows them to read ePubs. So you’ll only be able to get ePubs onto your Kindle using the Send-to-Kindle service.
So it’s best to grab both Mobi and ePub formats from bookshops if you can.
I’ll update this post if things change, but now might be a good time to really organise your ebook library.