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Old 10-07-2010, 10:56 AM   #1
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Best download file format for Kindle??

I am sure this has been discussed previously, and I did a search here and checked the FAQs/stickies but didn't see what I was looking for - if it's here, please provide a link for me. I don't want to so to speak!

This will be my first foray into the world of eReaders; I am computer literate but definitely eReader illiterate! I intend to download eBooks from other sites besides Amazon - there is a wealth of resources out there, isn't there? I'm pretty excited to see all the books that are available - and so many are free, too, not just classics.

I am sure that some of the books I want are only going to be in ePub format, and it's my understanding that these can only be converted via Calibre if they are DRM-free. This is one downside to the Kindle, but I guess I can live with it. (I know DRM can be removed from a book, but I really don't want to get into that.)

Anyway, given the choice of file formats to download, what is the best one for the Kindle? .prc? .mobi? something else? What formats should be avoided?

Your kind assistance will be much appreciated.

Holly
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Old 10-07-2010, 10:59 AM   #2
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You want Mobipocket format for the Kindle. This will have either a ".prc" or ".mobi" extension. Be warned, though, that not all files with a ".prc" extension are Mobipocket files.
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Old 10-07-2010, 11:12 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
You want Mobipocket format for the Kindle. This will have either a ".prc" or ".mobi" extension. Be warned, though, that not all files with a ".prc" extension are Mobipocket files.
Thank you Harry. So, given the choice, the .mobi file is a better choice than the .prc file - as in more likely to be compatible with the Kindle. I take it there is no way to tell if the .prc is a Mobipocket file until you have downloaded it and tried to open it on your Kindle?

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Old 10-07-2010, 11:20 AM   #4
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A "prc" file is just a "container" format - a little like a ZIP file; it can contain any type of data whatsoever. However, any PRC file you find on a modern eBook site is going to be a Mobipocket book. A ".mobi" file is just a renamed ".prc" file; it's not a different format at all.

Until you get your Kindle you can download either Mobipocket Reader for PC or Kindle for PC and read Mobipocket books on that.
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Old 10-07-2010, 11:22 AM   #5
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i use .prc type files on my kindle and so far no problem.
i use mobipocket creator to make my kindle-compatible files. i find it less cumbersome than calibre for file conversion.
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Old 10-07-2010, 12:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TenaciousBadger View Post
i use .prc type files on my kindle and so far no problem.
i use mobipocket creator to make my kindle-compatible files. i find it less cumbersome than calibre for file conversion.
I will have to check this program out - thank you for the link. I read the overview and I'm probably missing something here, but it doesn't seem to say anything about converting an ePub file to a .mobi file, just talks about creating your own eBook, or creating an eBook from a word, HTML or PDF file....?

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Old 10-07-2010, 12:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Anyway, given the choice of file formats to download, what is the best one for the Kindle? .prc? .mobi? something else? What formats should be avoided?
Do be aware that many ebook sources provide only DRM'd ebooks. To get them to work on the Kindle, you must be able to remove that drm.

cheers
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Old 10-07-2010, 01:49 PM   #8
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Do be aware that many ebook sources provide only DRM'd ebooks. To get them to work on the Kindle, you must be able to remove that drm.

cheers
Of the few sites I've looked at - Baen, Feedbooks, Manybooks, Project Gutenberg, etc. -they all offer books for the Kindle. I assumed this meant they were DRM-free and ready to be opened/read on the Kindle. Am I wrong?

I don't really want to deal with the legalities (or moral issues, if any,) of stripping DRM from an eBook.

Holly
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Old 10-07-2010, 03:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OakIris View Post
I will have to check this program out - thank you for the link. I read the overview and I'm probably missing something here, but it doesn't seem to say anything about converting an ePub file to a .mobi file, just talks about creating your own eBook, or creating an eBook from a word, HTML or PDF file....?

Holly
with mobipocket creator the input formats it recognizes are HTML, .doc, .txt and PDF (if i recall correctly) so no epub is not among them.
i don't use/read epub. even when i try to convert an epub file i don't normally convert directly from epub to mobi/prc since most often than not there are formatting errors. and i'm really peculiar about how the text __looks__ when i read.

PS: if we're talking what format you should choose when you buy a book (and you get the choice), for mobi file building i would say HTML. if it's well formatted just run it through calibre or mobipocket creator and bob's your uncle

Last edited by TenaciousBadger; 10-07-2010 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 10-07-2010, 03:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OakIris View Post
Of the few sites I've looked at - Baen, Feedbooks, Manybooks, Project Gutenberg, etc. -they all offer books for the Kindle. I assumed this meant they were DRM-free and ready to be opened/read on the Kindle. Am I wrong?

I don't really want to deal with the legalities (or moral issues, if any,) of stripping DRM from an eBook.

Holly
I think those books are all DRMfree. Baen has DRM-free books; a lot of its authors give the first ebook of a serial for free.
As for DRM-stripping; I never got the hang of it, so I can't be bothered. But I always had mobi-format on my other ereader.

Calibre is very good for converting, but once in a while it converts a book not that well and then I use a free online converter :
http://www.2epub.com/
· input: doc, epub, fb2, html, lit, lrf, mobi, odt, pdb, pdf, prc, rtf, txt.
· output: epub, fb2, lit, lrf, mobi.
It's only for 5 books at a time, but it's very handy and does a good job too.

Last edited by desertblues; 10-07-2010 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 10-07-2010, 03:39 PM   #11
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with mobipocket creator the input formats it recognizes are HTML, .doc, .txt and PDF (if i recall correctly) so no epub is not among them.
But you can import OPF files into MobiPocket Creator just fine. Unzip your epub and you will find the opf file that MobiPocket can build a mobi from.
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:29 PM   #12
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In my (admittedly limited) experience with buying books from Baen and Fictionwise, their books in Mobi and especially PRC (in Baen's case) are very poorly formatted. While they technically work on the Kindle, they're pretty ugly. (Then again, the same can be said for some of the ones you buy straight from Amazon)

So it really seems like trial and error. Try the Kindle format first, if it's ugly, then try downloading the epub and converting that (though you probably will want to load it up in Sigil first and save, it seems to convert a lot better if you do that, I guess because Calibre can read the TOC built by Sigil better than some of the ones made by other methods)

On the other hand, from Manybooks/Feedbooks just download the kindle format. I haven't really any problems with books from there (just one from Manybooks that didn't have chapter marks, but then it was a novella, not a novel)
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Old 10-07-2010, 07:34 PM   #13
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In my (admittedly limited) experience with buying books from Baen and Fictionwise, their books in Mobi and especially PRC (in Baen's case) are very poorly formatted. ...
I've encountered the same thing. Usually when a book is billed as being for Mobipocket or Kindle and is a PRC the odds are greater that it is to some degree poorly formatted. Mobipocket .PRC files are less likely to contain complete well formatted meta data (title, author's name, cover image, ...) than those posted as .MOBI files.

I frequently download ePub files instead. Its not that the ePub versions are formatted any better. Its that I can fix things in Sigil, an ePub editor, that Calibre doesn't do on its own.

When it comes to what format to download for a Kindle, if the book has DRM then only download the Kindle specific .AZW format. You can also download .TPZ (Topaz) format, but they frequently display poorly. The Kindle can read AZW, MOBI, and Mobipocket PRC files if they don't have DRM. If a MOBI or PRC has DRM it won't display on a Kindle.
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Old 10-08-2010, 11:14 AM   #14
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This eBook thing is a bit more complicated than I expected. Spoiled by paper books I guess - all you do is go to a book store buy the book and you're done, it's already properly formatted and ready to read! I'll get the hang of it with experience.

I have to remember that eBooks - and eReaders - are really still in the early development stage and each new generation will be better than the last as manufactures and publishers respond to user demands. (Well, one can always hope that there is positive response from the corporate folks "in charge." )

This is what I am getting from all of you knowledgeable folks:

1) If the eBook has DRM, best thing to do is download the Kindle-specific file
2) If DRM-free, try the Kindle/.mobi version first and if it looks like
crap, try the next step:
3) If DRM-free, download book in HTML or ePub version and convert it
with Calibre, Sigil, MobiPocket creator or similar program for a chance at
better formatting.

From this I am assuming that if you buy an eBook and the format of the file you download is very poor/unreadable, you can actually download another version from the same site without paying for it again, is this correct, or does it depend upon the site? (Perhaps I should stick to free books until I know what I am doing!)

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Old 10-08-2010, 01:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OakIris View Post
This eBook thing is a bit more complicated than I expected. ………………
(Well, one can always hope that there is positive response from the corporate folks "in charge." ……………

This is what I am getting from all of you knowledgeable folks:

1) If the eBook has DRM, best thing to do is download the Kindle-specific file
2) If DRM-free, try the Kindle/.mobi version first and if it looks like
crap, try the next step:
3) If DRM-free, download book in HTML or ePub version and convert it
with Calibre, Sigil, MobiPocket creator or similar program for a chance at
better formatting.

From this I am assuming that if you buy an eBook and the format of the file you download is very poor/unreadable, you can actually download another version from the same site without paying for it again, is this correct, or does it depend upon the site? (Perhaps I should stick to free books until I know what I am doing!)
Hi OakIris; don't you worry. It looks more complicated than it is: remember there are thousands of people ereading and they all had to start somewhere.
If you can handle the AmazonKindle apps for PC, you've already made a good start.
And Amazon.com has a very good customerservice; if you think your ebook is badly formatted (like things in it missing etc), they'll try to help. You can get them to phone you.

Formats for the Kindle: Kindleformat = protected mobi from Amazon.com. Kindle also handles unprotected mobi g.e from Feedbooks.com etc.
Kindle also reads PDF, but I read some PDF-files on the Kindle and wasn't impressed by their quality, so now I convert them in Calibre.

Free books
To download free books: look what format it is; on the bookdownloadlink or somewhere on the page; in doubt email them.
On Mobile Read (Sticky's) there's lots and lots of excellent formatted free mobi-books+ free advice how to download them, to be had.
On Amazon.com are free books as well for your Kindle; you can download and try them out now on your Kindle for PC. When you've got your Kindle you synchronize it. Only books bought at Amazon.com can be synchronized.

Buy books
Go to Amazon.com for Kindlebooks
Other webshops: look for unprotected mobi (without drm), epub……..or whatever, but it has to have --no DRM-. Convert it in Calibre to the format Kindle can read= mobi.

Organising your library and converting books (without DRM) to mobi, Kindle-readable format : check out the free program Calibre at http://calibre-ebook.com/ ; take the tour and try the different functions.
It is a very friendly, easy program that loads the books you didn't buy at Amazon, on your Kindle. You'll like it.

Don't go stripping DRM as yet; there's plenty of free books to be had. I never got the hang of it; didn't have the patience.

And best of all; have fun.

Last edited by desertblues; 10-08-2010 at 03:23 PM.
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