In a potential blow to all the apps and websites that have popped up alongside the Amazon Kindle to streamline the process of converting EPUB ebook files to the e-reader’s propriety file format, starting in “late 2022,” the Kindle Personal Documents Service will finally support EPUB files, expanding where users can source their content.
The Amazon Kindle’s original AZW ebook file format was based on the MOBI format created for an e-reader app called Mobipocket, which was first released back in 2000 for a wide variety of PDAs and older mobile devices. Over the years it has evolved into the KF8/AZW3 format, and now the KFX format, which are all proprietary to the Kindle. For those who solely rely on Kindle e-readers and apps and only buy ebooks from Amazon, a proprietary file format isn’t an issue, particularly when Amazon offers one of the largest selections of ebooks currently available, and a streamlined way to get the files onto its devices.
But there are countless e-readers available on the market that offer better features than the Kindle does, including colour E Ink screens, and all of them instead support the EPUB ebook file format (among others), which is the most popular format in the world. It’s also a format that Amazon, to date, has refused to support. This has typically meant that someone looking to buy an ebook reader has had to either fully commit to the Amazon Kindle ecosystem, or choose one of the many alternatives and stick with their choice, because ebook files they’d purchased or downloaded weren’t cross-compatible.
That’s still mostly the case, but according to a recently updated help page on the Amazon website for its Kindle Personal Documents Service, which streamlines the process of sending files and documents to Kindle e-readers, there will soon be a workaround. Starting in late 2022, users will be able to either email EPUB files to their device or use one of the Send to Kindle apps to get EPUB ebooks onto their Amazon e-readers. The Kindle still can’t natively load EPUB files, so connecting the e-reader to a computer and manually copying EPUB files over is still not an option, but the Send to Kindle service will convert EPUBs into Kindle-friendly KF8/AZW3 files. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s still a welcome accommodation for users sitting on a mountain of EPUB files who want to opt for a Kindle device.
The help page also points out that Amazon is planning to drop support for sending older MOBI files through the Send to Kindle service as well. “Beginning in late 2022, you’ll no longer be able to send MOBI (.AZW, .MOBI) files to your library using Send to Kindle,” the page says. “This change won’t affect any MOBI files already in your Kindle library. MOBI is an older file format and won’t support the newest Kindle features for documents.” Why Amazon isn’t simply up-converting older MOBI files to KF8/AZW3s isn’t known, but for those refusing to let go of an old collection of ebook files, there’s always free apps like Calibre for converting between any ebook format you want.