eBook formats that the Amazon Kindle supports

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There is no shortage of e-book formats and e-readers, although not all e-readers support all e-book formats. Take the Kindle, for example, which supports most e-book formats, but not all. Those that the e-reader does not support can be converted into a format that it can read.

The AZW format

The primary format that the Kindle may be most comfortable with is the AZW format. This format applies to all e-books available in the Kindle store. It is almost identical to the Mobi format and the reason for this is that the AZW originated in the Mobi format. The latter, in turn, was created by the French company MobiPocket, which took over Amazon and converted it to the primary Kindle format.

The Amazon AZW format is still a little different from Mobi, however, as the former has better compression, so the same AZW format e-book takes up less space compared to Mobi. While the Mobi format is DRM-free, the AZW files are not.

Other supported formats

Aside from AZW and Mobi, other e-book formats the Kindle supports include Microsoft Word File, Plain Text, Rich Text Format, HTML Page, Unprotected PRC, Compressed PostScript File, Adobe PDF (not all PDF files look the same on Kindles), and HTML Page. In addition, Kindles can also decrypt some image file formats, including JPEG, PNG, and the BMP format.

Audio book formats

The Kindles can also play audio books. Supported formats include the popular MP3 files. Every audio book saved in MP3 format can be listened to with a children’s e-reader. Then there are of course the Audible (AA) and Audible Enhanced (AAX) formats that Kindles are compatible with. All Audible audiobooks owned by Amazon are in the above file formats.

Formats Not Supported by Kindle

The open source EPUB format is the most notable omission here, so there is active speculation that Amazon may change its mind about this format soon. Other formats that are not compatible with Kindle are LIT and LRF, the latter being developed by Sony.

Fortunately, there is software available that can convert an unsupported format to one that the Kindle can easily recognize. Prominent among these are the Caliber and the Kindle Create.


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