Best Format for Kindle

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How to choose a format for Kindle? Whether you are going to read a non-Amazon book on Kindle, or about to publish your own book on Amazon Kindle store, you're probably pondering the question "what is the best format for Kindle?". After reading this article, you will get your questions to be answered. Just pick the part you need. The first part is for readers, and the second part is for publishers.

best format for kindle

1. Best Format to Read on Kindle

When talking about the best format to read on Kindle, I guess you must own lots of personal documents or have purchased many ebooks from non-Amazon stores, and want to find the best format for those files to read on your Kindle device. Here in this part, I will introduce you all things about Kindle supported formats and thus give you a hint when you are choosing a format to read on Kindle.

First, you should know what file types are supported by Kindle.

Kindle Supported File Types

  • 1. Kindle Format (.AZW & .MOBI & .AZW3)
  • 2. PDF (.PDF)
  • 3. HTML (.HTML & .HTM)
  • 4. Text (.TXT)
  • 5. Microsoft Word (.DOC & .DOCX)
  • 6. Images (.JPG & .JPEG & .PNG & .GIF & .BMP)
  • 7. Other File Types (.RTF & .PRC & .PSZ)

As you can see in the above list, Kindle supports various file types. To tell the truth, however, except for the 1st Kindle formats, the left file types are not natively compatible with Kindle which can only be transferred to Kindle by "Send to Kindle" service. When you are emailing such files to your Send-to-Kindle address, the Kindle Personal Document Service would automatically convert those file types to Kindle .AZW format. Correspondingly, the original quality might be destroyed after being sent to Kindle.

Therefore, strictly speaking, when making the final decision of which is the best format to read on Kindle, we only need to compare the first three Kindle formats -- AZW, Mobi and AZW3.

AZW AZW is the encrypted Kindle format that is made by Amazon and can only be obtained from the Amazon Kindle Store. When you download a Kindle book from Kindle for PC/Mac or Kindle reading apps, you will get a file in .azw extension. AZW is not a format that you can make by yourself.

Mobi Mobi format is based on the open ebook standard using XHTML and includes JavaScript and frames, which is originally developed for MobiPocket Reader and later purchased by Amazon. Now it's a mostly-Kindle format Kindle devices. And it's easy to convert any other ebook formats to Mobi with an eBook Converter.

AZW3 AZW3 is also known as "Kindle Format 8" (KF8). Compared with the old Mobi format, AZW3 is more advanced by supporting more styles, fonts and layouts. AZW3 is the exclusive format of Amazon, and it's well-supported on a Kindle device. Moreover, it's easy to convert your personal document to AZW3 with some tools. Distinctive Features of AZW3 include:

  • image downsampling
  • dictionary and index markup (not directly)
  • packaging in a PRC container
  • some support for HTML5 and CSS3 (being developed, but not the same as EPUB 3)
  • fixed layout capabilities
  • comic books with panel view options
  • dual old and new format packaging for backward compatibility

After comparison, you may have an overview of the Kindle supported formats. To conclude, (1) AZW is not a format you can make by yourself; (2) Mobi and AZW3 formats are easily obtainable by converting the ebook format. (3) Mobi is widely supported on Kindle devices; (4) AZW3 format is more advanced than Mobi.

Now everything is clear. The best format to read on Kindle is the AZW3 format.

Pro Tips: To convert any of your ebooks or personal documents to Kindle format, you must try Epubor Ultimate--a professional and easy-to-use eBook format converter. A lot of file formats are supported by the tool. You can use it to convert your files to Kindle AZW3 format with only one click. Why not download it for a free trial?

Supported Input Formats: EPUB, PDF, DOCX, TXT, HTML, KFX, AZW, AZW1, AZW3, AZW4, Mobi, PRC, TPZ, Topaz.

Supported Output Formats: AZW3, Mobi, EPUB, PDF, TXT.

Detailed Guide: How to Convert eBook to Kindle Format.

Download Epubor Ultimate for Free

convert ebook to AZW3

2. Best Format to Publish on Kindle

If you are an author, you may want to publish your works on Amazon. Kindle Direct Publishing is a platform to be used by authors and publishers to independently publish books directly to the Kindle Store. Before you upload your books to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), you need to know what file formats are supported. The first part is for readers, and the second part is for publishers.

KDP Supported File Formats

  • 1. Microsoft Word (DOC/DOCX)
  • 2. Kindle Create (KPF)
  • 3. HTML (ZIP, HTM, HTML)
  • 4. Mobi
  • 5. ePub
  • 6. PDF
  • 7. Rich Text Format (RTF)
  • 8. Plain Text (TXT)

And then use Kindle Previewer to preview your book and mare sure your book is displayed well.

Tips: The supported file formats of Kindle Previewer include: ePub, Mobi, HTM, HTML, XHTML, OPF, KPF, DOC, DOCX.

MS Word Most MS Word DOC/DOCX files convert well to ebooks. However, some files with complex formatting may not convert as well, especially if they have graphics or tablets. So before you upload a DOC/DOCX file to KDP, use the Kindle Previewer to make sure your book converted successfully.

KPF Kindle Create is a free interior formatting tool you can use to create a reflowable or print replica KPF file. Whether you are writing a comic book, cookbook, travel guide or novel, Kindle Create can help you prepare your book for publication. Kindle Create allows you to import DOC/DOCX and PDF file and then export your ebook as a .kpf file which can be directly uploaded to the KDP.

If your book is a text-heavy book, such as novel, essay, or memoir, use DOC(x) file. Your DOC(x) file is converted into a reflowable ebook.

If your book is a comic, graphic novel of low complexity, or with lots of images and complex formatting, such as textbook, travel book or cookbook, use PDF. Your PDF will be converted into a print Replica eBook.

HTML If you have basic HTML knowledge, you can create an HTML file to refine your formatting and layout, then create a folder containing the HTML manuscript file along with the image files, which you need to compress into a ZIP file before uploading to KDP. We do not recommend you to proceed with the HTML file unless you are very familiar with HTML tags.

Mobi As Mobi is the real Kindle format, undoubtedly to upload a Mobi file to create for your book is a great option. Mobi file would result in the fewest formatting problem. Just make sure your Mobi file is fully-crafted before you upload it to KDP. If you are not sure, it's suggested validating your Mobi file with Kindle Previewer.

ePub EPUB is one of the accepted file formats at the KDP. You can upload an ePub file at the KDP, and it will automatically create a Mobi file for you. However, you'd better create the finial Mobi file for Kindle by yourself, instead of doing any conversion at the KDP itself. (If you are to publish your ebook elsewhere, besides Amazon Kindle, you're recommended to keep your ePub file since ePub is the most widely-used ebook format on other platforms.)

PDF PDF, to be honest, is the worst format to be uploaded to KDP. PDF file has a fixed layout. The embedded formatting or images in the PDF file don't convert well to eBooks. When converted to ebooks, the results are almost always very poor and visually unpleasing. So don't try to upload a PDF to the KDP.

RTF RTF is similar to DOC/DOCX file but it's much simpler than DOC/DOCX. You can format your text and insert simple images. Change the font, increase the letter, align your text, add bulleted lists are all supported in an RTF file. But RTF is not supported by Kindle Previewer, which means you cannot preview your RTF book before publishing.

TXT TXT files for manuscripts that do not contain images are supported at KDP. As the KDP would automatically your TXT files to HTML, the image location referenced in a TXT file won't convert successfully. Different from the above file formats, TXT file has no formatting, fonts, etc. Therefore, it's not suggested choosing TXT as the format to upload at the KDP.

Now you must have a clear idea about all the supported formats to publish on Kindle and the features for each format. All the above formats are supported by the KDP. Frankly speaking, it's hard to say which is the best format to publish on Kindle.

However, there do exist some formats that are not recommended. They are:

  • HTML -- Difficult for manipulation unless you are a tech-savvy.
  • PDF -- The results are poor.
  • RTF -- Not supported by Kindle Previewer to preview before uploading.
  • TXT -- No formatting at all.


loves technology & reading very much. She seeks the methods to enjoy eBooks and audiobooks more freely and wants to share everything new she has got with you.

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