UPDATE2-4, on 2/6/11 - Original posting was 8/27/09, Update #1 was made 4/22/10.
This explains how to get and use Calibre to easily convert any free ePub Google file to Kindle format OR use a conversion site to have it done for you if the book is in the public domain.
SEE THE UPDATED VERSION OF THIS OLDER POST, WITH AN ADDED SOLUTION AND CLEARER PRESENTATION AT THIS LINK: (bit.ly/epub-to-kindle )
The below blog article below is now outdated and has too many off-topic sections due to chronological updates about Google Books, not particularly germane to the topic.
Original Posting on How to Convert free Google ePub books to Kindle format
Aug. 27, 2009 -- Yesterday Google offered over a million free e-books in EPUB format as well as in PDF format. (Many don't know that the Kindle 2, 3, and DX Kindles can read PDFs direct -- but this isn't ideal on the 6" screens.)
These ePub files are easier to work with than the PDF ones because they involve text-reflow instead of keeping a page exactly as originally laid out and therefore with words too tiny on small screens.
Also, Google has done, in that ePub file, the text-reflow for us, which should bring more reliable to-MOBI conversions for books with complex layouts .
This will also allow the Kindle features of highlighting, note-adding, font-size adjustments, and will be included in search results when the full Kindle is searched for key words. We just need to convert them to MOBI files.
Some newspapers have reported that the million+ free Google files are not usable on the Kindle.
They are. They just need a simple conversion.
There are currently at least three popular free tools that can convert ePub files to Kindle-compatible MOBI files: (1) mobigen.exe (not intuitive);
So, Calibre it is. Many use it already for organized computer records of their Kindle files or for retrieving combinations of newspaper feeds for their Kindles (not as easily navigated as the paid subscrptions).
This blog article focuses only on converting the ePub file-format to a Kindle-readable one.
If you don't already have this free software, created and maintained by Kovid Goyal, download Calibre here.
GET A FREE GOOGLE BOOK OR TWO
To get a free Google book (most written before 1923 but there are some nice older magazines there as well), go to Google's "Best of the Free" page and select one.
At the top right, once you choose a book, you'll see "Download" which will be a pull-down menu showing a choice of PDF or ePub.
If you have a Kindle DXG, you might prefer to just get the PDF. If the words on the PDF are too small though, then get the ePub file. IF you download an ePub file, then:
Open and run Calibre. On the LEFT will be your choices for set-up when you're converting a document. Hovering over anything will usually bring a help tip.
Accepting defaults is fine. The ability to change the "meta information" is nice - so you can have names and authors as you like them. If there is no Table of Contents you can 'force' Calibre to create one.
At the top are choices to "Edit meta information: as well as "Convert E-books." Follow the instructions, and then press the 'OK' button and the conversion will take a few minutes. I did one and moved it to the Kindle DX and it looks great.
Oh, Calibre gives you the option to optimize your converted file for the Kindle 2 or the Kindle DX.
So, yes, those million+ free Google books are fully useable on the Kindle - it just needs this added step, but it's also great to be able to customize so much of the layout if you want. Play with the software a bit.
Read foreign-language Google-books in English online
Google describes the book conversion process
How to download any of the 30,000 Project Gutenberg books to your Kindle, direct. -->
UPDATE1, 4/22/10 - Original posting was 8/27/09
I've added, below, a section about a new service that will convert a Google Book for you (using the method below) and send it to your Kindle if you want (Amazon charges 15 cents per megabyte of a file if 3G Whispernet delivery is used to send the file) OR will send it instead to the email address you use for correspondence with Amazon (no cost involved). That's RetroRead.
RETROREAD'S AUTOMATED GOOGLE BOOK CONVERSIONS
RetroRead (BLTC Press) offers free conversion of any free ePub Google Book to Amazon Kindle format for delivery to your Kindle or to your computer via your normal email address. As RetroRead's David Eyes describes in his Blitzes at BLTC blog you will be able to create an account through which you may upload any free Google ePub book (but ONLY Google book files), and have it converted and forwarded directly to you. He adds that the quality of the converted book can vary greatly depending on the quality of Google’s optical character recognition (OCR) conversion. The site is self-explanatory.
* If you do want the direct-to-Kindle option, you need to have created earlier a special address for files to your Kindle -- [you]@kindle.com ...
So be sure you've set up a [you]@kindle.com address first. This setup is done at your Amazon "Manage Your Kindle" page. Here's a guide for using that management page.
This would involve letting RetroRead have your [you]@kindle.com address and, as mentioned, the Amazon fee for whispernet delivery would apply (15 cents per megabyte of a book -- with most ePub books under 1 megabyte -- but the one I uploaded tonight was over 2 megs because some pages were image scans). However, you can also choose to just get the converted file and move it to the Kindle yourself. Read his blog for the additions he's made to the site's capabilities. Lots of good things.
You can also choose recently converted Google books that are listed as available for download on the left side of the RetroRead page.
For those looking for interesting less-seen free books, it's hard to do better than David's list of the Latest Converted files.
At any rate, this is a quick intro. I tried it last night and it works well. The book I converted for this blog article was used at Retroread, and the results were the 99% the same, since RetroRead uses Calibre also, although the last half of the final page, which happened to be the Table of Contents page at the end, was missing.
Many will find this service very convenient. But the service is not offered for any ePub books other than the Google books. However, you can use this blog guide to do that yourself as needed. Your own conversion from ePub to Amazon format should take about three minutes after you've had a chance to work with it.
LATER UPDATES - THE COMBINED GOOGLE BOOKS STORE
After Google combined its free Google books with ones they sell now in a general Google Books store, and the earlier instructions (above) on how to find downloadable, free files no longer apply, I used "strikeout" for those. The rest of it remained the same, however.
Google now may require you to (1) have a Google account for downloading Google e-books as well as (2) a credit card even to download a free book *IF it's not a public-domain book* (corrected information from @mikecane).
I had a credit card with Google already because I had experimented with buying a web-version of a paid Google Book when the Google web Bookstore was launched, and I was asked for it when I tried to download "The eBook Insider" - which is free but is NOT a public domain book.
I used it to 'buy' a $0.00 Google eBook to test whether these are still easily convertible to Kindle format AND uploadable to Retroread (see details below), who will convert free *public-domain* Google files for the Kindle community, at no cost. If someone else has already requested a particular free Public Domain Google eBook, it'll be listed on the Retroread site as downloadable by everyone else for their Kindles.
The basic steps when I 'bought' this currently-free NON-public-domain book:
. Click on a book you want and it'll give you the option to 'buy' it even if its $0.00 AND if it's NOT a public-domain book. It'll give you the option to "Get" it if it's in the public domain, and you can then click to download it.
. After 'buying' it, I received these alerts:
"This book has been added to My Google eBooks" and
"Access all your Google eBooks at books.google.com"
. After clicking on "My Google Books," you can see the books you've downloaded, both paid and free.
. Click on the book you just received and you're given options to
"Read now" (which would be in web-browser version) OR
"Read on your device" (Nook, Sony, Kobo etc but not Kindle)
Google then offers you the following choices to be able to read the new book:
1. Installing a Smartphones app (Android) or a Tablet app (iPhone & iPad)
2. Laptop and computers (reading in web browser)
3. eReader and other devices
b. Adobe PDF (*IF* included)
*NOTE*: Retroread could NOT convert my free Google book because it isn't a public-domain book and is therefore not successfully searchable on their site. I then converted it via Calibre as described below.
Again, when a Google eBook IS public domain and free, you are given the option to "GET" the book without purchasing it. When you click to accept that option, the eBook winds up in your Google library.
(End of Updates)
Kindle Fire 7" tablet - $199
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $79/$109
Kindle Touch, WiFi
Kindle Touch, 3G/WiFi - $149/$189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189, Free, slow web
Kindle DX - $379, Free, slow web
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £89
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi, UK - £169
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $109
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi - $189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers. Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.
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