Your Kindle Fire works great as an Amazon shopping device, but sometimes you've got a few books or apps that you want to read from places outside of the Kindle ecosystem. I've got a ton of eBooks I've legitimately obtained through third-party bookstores, and I'd rather keep track of them all through my Kindle library. If you're in the same boat, you can get those books onto your Kindle in no time.
How do you get those onto your Kindle Fire? You use a process called sideloading. You can load apps, eBooks, music, and just about any other sort of file through sideloading. Your options may vary a little depending on the file type, but if your Kindle Fire can support it, there's a way to get it on your tablet. This tutorial just focuses on sideloading books, since that's the type of file Kindle users love most.
File Formats for Kindle Fire
The first thing you need to figure out is the format. Amazon Kindle natively reads .mobi files. If you have a book in ePub format, you can still read it, but you'll either need to convert it using a program like Calibre or by installing a separate eReader, like the Nook or Kobo app. If you go the separate eReader route, you do lose out on the convenience of having everything in a single library.
Supported files for Kindle books are:
- KF8 Kindle Format 8 (This is a very new format, so you're unlikely to find many books that use it at this point.)
- AZW (This is essentially a copy protected version of .mobi)
Supported files for Kindle Fire Personal Documents are:
That's an important distinction. You can open and read PDF books, but you cannot do so under the Books tab on your Kindle. Those are under Docs. That's why your Kindle Fire user guide is located in Docs instead of under Books.
Transferring Your Files by Email
You can email your Kindle files as attachments. The files must be in one of the supported formats, and they'll be added to the Documents section of your Kindle. To set this up, log into Amazon.com and then go to Your Account: Manage Your Kindle: Personal Document Settings.
You'll need to set up the authorized email account and address. Generally it will be something like "firstname.lastname@example.org." Only emails coming from approved email addresses will work.
Transferring Your Files by USB
If you use a micro-usb cable and connect it to your computer, you can transfer files to and from your Kindle just like it was an external hard drive. Place any .mobi files in the Books folder, and place .pdf and other formats in the Documents folder. Once you've added your files, you may need to restart the Kindle to get it to recognize your new books.
Transferring Using Dropbox
I usually don't like to fiddle with plugging my Kindle into my laptop, so I use Dropbox to both store my library and transfer my eBooks to my devices.
- If you use Dropbox, you'll want to navigate to your eBook file and rather than just tapping to open it, you'll want to select the triangle to the right of the file name.
- Next, tap Export.
- Choose Save to SD Card (your Kindle doesn't actually have an SD card, but this gets you to the internal storage space).
- Select either Books (for .mobi files) or Documents (for .pdf, .txt, .doc, and other files).
- Tap Export.
Once you've done this, you should restart your Kindle Fire. Your books will appear after that. If your book does not appear, double check that you waited for the book to fully copy to your Kindle's hard drive and double check that you chose the correct folder for the file format.