How to Sideload Books onto a Kindle – Review Geek


The Amazon Kindle is one of the best e-readers out there, but you don’t have to rely on the Amazon store to fill your device with content. There are a few other easy ways to get eBooks and documents onto your Kindle, and Amazon can even help you with that.

Everything mentioned in this article is free, and there is a way to transfer content to your Kindle from almost any device. Some older devices or file formats may require an extra step to move, but nothing here should be complex enough to trip you up.

Amazon has no problem with its customers sideloading documents onto their devices. Two of the three procedures described below are managed by the company itself. There is also a lot of copyright-free material available, which means sideloading can be free from guilt and legal issues.

Why you might need to sideload a book

Amazon has a wide range of books adapted for Kindle. Her Kindle Unlimited plan provides access to thousands of books and magazines for $10 a month, so why bother with sideloading files? There are a few reasons you might want to put something on your Kindle.

Close-up of the Kindle logo and a progress bar on the Amazon Kindle e-book reader.
Tada Images/

Maybe you don’t want to pay Amazon $140 a year or pay what they charge to buy books direct and think you can find a better deal elsewhere. The Kindle is a fantastic choice of e-reader, and sideloading means you can keep using a Kindle with whatever digital books you happen to own.

Classic novels are a good example. Copyright in books, novels and magazines expires 70 years after the death of an authorso that thousands of works are freely available. Sites like Project Gutenberg offer classic works as free downloads. You can then easily sideload these files onto your Kindle. Of course, if you want to waste money, you can still pay $4 for your money digital version of Pride and Prejudice instead of this; There is absolutely no logical reason – legal or moral – to pay for a digital copy of anything that is not copyrighted.

For copyrighted works, there are even cheaper options. Amazon isn’t the only bookstore in the world. Humble Bundle has regular eBook dealsand there’s no reason why you can’t read these eBooks on a Kindle.

And if your work or study involves searching through documents one by one, you might find the process easier on an eReader. Just load what you need and save yourself the hassle of lugging around a thick wad of papers. Kindle’s search, dictionary, and annotation features can even make your work easier.

You can email books directly to the device

Personal with laptop to email files at a desk

If you have a small number of files and a Kindle is connected to a Wi-Fi network, the easiest way is to email the file to your device to sideload it. Open your Kindle, go to the settings menu and select “Your Account”. At the bottom there should be a “Send to Kindle Email” that looks something like this: [email protected]. In most cases, it’s as simple as attaching the file to a blank email and sending it; Amazon will do the rest. You can send up to 25 files as long as the total email size is less than 50MB. This method is the easiest way to transfer documents between an iPhone and a Kindle.

But it can be a bit more complicated depending on your circumstances. Note that the email address you are sending the file from must be whitelisted; If you use the same email address that your Amazon account uses, it will automatically be whitelisted. If not, you must Register the email address you will use on Amazon’s website before sending files.

Only certain file types work with this method, but be aware that you are not limited to Kindle (MOBI and AZW) formats. The full list of formats is available here, and it includes popular file types like Microsoft Word (DOC and DOCX) and PDF. There are some notable omissions, including the EPUB format, though Free online conversion sites are available to convert your file into a file your Kindle can use.

Amazon even converts documents from PDF to Kindle if you type “convert” in the subject line of the email. There are pros and cons to conversion – you can use all Kindle features like adjustable text size with converted files, but you may also see some errors in the text.

If your Kindle doesn’t have Wi-Fi, you’ll need to complete an additional step. Since your device can’t connect to the internet and retrieve files directly from email, you’ll need to open the Kindle app on your phone and receive the file there. Once the file is linked to your account, sync it to your Kindle via Bluetooth, and then your eBooks should appear.

Using a cable is best for multiple files

The Documents folder of a Kindle Paperwhite
David McQuilling

Although you can email up to 15 files, the total size of the files should typically not exceed 50MB. In addition, your email provider may limit the number and size of attachments you can send beyond that. If you need to load hundreds (or even thousands) of books at once, consider using a cable. This method works with all versions of the Amazon Kindle.

Sideloading with a USB cable is as simple as plugging the charging cable that came with Kindle into the device and one of the USB ports on your PC, laptop, or Mac. From there, open the Kindle like you would any other removable device, then select the Documents folder. Drag and drop your eBooks into this folder, then go about your day while your laptop does all the work. Large transfers can take a while. Just don’t forget to properly eject your Kindle when it’s done, like you would a thumb drive or other storage device; There is a chance of file corruption if you don’t do this.

However, there are some notable disadvantages and difficulties that come with this method. First, Amazon will not convert any of these books for you. So if you’re using a format that Kindle doesn’t support, like EPUB, or you want your PDF file in Kindle’s preferred format, you’ll need to convert it first before dragging and dropping it.

Second, organizational issues need to be clarified. Amazon lets you organize the files on your Kindle into individual folders or “collections,” making life a lot easier when you have a lot of eBooks. Unfortunately, these folders don’t appear on the device’s internal storage, nor can they be created – you’ll have to add all your books and then sort them on the device itself.

You’re also limited to devices with USB ports, and you need a device that’s easy to drag and drop. In short, this method relies on you having a PC, laptop or Mac.

There is also a versatile app that you can use

Send a book using the Send to Kindle app
David McQuilling

Send to Kindle allows you to send documents to your Kindle from a browser, PC or Android device and is our preferred option. As opposed to dragging and dropping directly onto the Kindle itself, the app will convert files to one of the Kindle formats for you should you wish. As with the email method, EPUB files will not work and you will need to convert them before inserting them.

This method requires no cables. Use your Amazon login in the app, and if your device has a way to connect to the internet or sync with the Kindle app, the files you insert will appear on your eBook reader. Once you’re signed in, there’s very little that can go wrong, and Send to Kindle provides an excellent middle ground between the two methods above.

If you have files on your phone or tablet that you want to share, the Android app adds a Kindle option to the share button found in most apps. In addition to the option to send documents as email or via a messaging app, you can send them to a Kindle.

The browser app works on any Chromium-based browser (Chrome, Brave, Microsoft Edge, etc.) and offers a unique service. You can even convert entire web pages and transfer them to your Kindle. If a news or magazine website has a long article you want to read later, click the extension and it will be waiting on your Kindle when you’re ready. You can also use the extension to archive articles you like on your Kindle. Once downloaded, they are yours forever.

Any pages you send to your Kindle from the browser app are available offline. So if you’re going on a long journey and an internet connection isn’t guaranteed, you can still work through the day’s news or your favorite magazine articles—provided you download them to your Kindle before you leave.


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