Sunday, October 23, 2011

Convert EPub books to Kindle format. ALSO, almost a Million free Google books already in Kindle format

EPUB TO KINDLE - Example: Free Google Books

I'm updating an older post on converting free ePub books from Google to work on the Kindle.  (The earlier blog article was updated often for Google-book changes and lost its basic focus.)

  The conversion is actually easy to do, and although we can now easily get free Kindle-versions of these Google books, it's good to know how to do this for any ePub book that doesn't have a form of digital-rights-protection or management (DRM) placed on it.

Google now combines its free Google books with the ones they sell in the the newish Google Book Store.  If you'd like to see how easy it is to convert a free ePub book, go to Google's "Best of the Free" page and select one.

You can use Calibre to easily convert any free ePub file to Kindle format.
  You can also use the site to have it done for you for free but only for the free Google books.

  HOWEVER, almost a million of these free Google books are already in Kindle format and ready for simple downloads, thanks to Internet Archive, which will be covered right after the "Convert ePub to Kindle" section.

Google offers over a million free e-books in EPUB format as well as in PDF format.  (Many don't know that the Kindle 2, 3 ("Keyboard"), DX and of course coming Touch models can read PDFs direct -- but this isn't ideal on the 6" screens.)

  The added ePub versions of the free Google books are better to work with than PDFs because they involve text-reflow capabilities instead of a focus on keeping a page exactly as originally laid out, giving us words too tiny on small screens.

  Also, with the ePub books, Google has done that text-reflow for us, which should bring more reliable ePub-to-MOBI conversions for e-books with complex layouts.

  The ePub file converted to Kindle Mobi format will also allow the Kindle features of highlighting, note-adding, font-size adjustments and a better book-Search process, and the converted book will be included in search results when the full Kindle is searched for key words.

  There are currently at least three popular free tools that can convert ePub files to Kindle-compatible MOBI files:  (1) mobigen.exe (not intuitive);  (2) Mobipocket Reader 6.2  (loses some of the styling); and (3) Calibre, which has a nice interface, is easy to use, works with pc's and Macs, and gets the best results.

So, Calibre it is.  Many use it already for organizing computer records of their Kindle books or for retrieving combinations of newspaper feeds for their Kindles (not as easily navigated as the paid subscrptions).
  This blog article focuses on converting the ePub file-format to a Kindle-readable one (Mobi or Prc).

  If you don't already have this free software, created and maintained by Kovid Goyal, download Calibre here.

  GETTING THE FREE GOOGLE BOOK IN EPUB at Google's "Best of the Free" page.
  If you have a Kindle DXG, you might prefer to just get the PDF.  If the words on the PDF are too small or if you want to use the Kindle features mentioned, then get the ePub file.  IF you download an ePub file, then it's time for

  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.  But there's no need to do any of that.

  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.

Also, Calibre gives you the option to optimize your converted file for a specific Kindle model.

So, yes, despite news stories and story commenters who still post that the free Google books are not accessible on the Kindle, they are, with this one 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.

and ready for download, thanks to an amazing resource:

THE INTERNET ARCHIVE's Free Google Books - downloadable in multiple formats (direct to Kindle too).

  You'll see, on their main Google Books page, lots of interesting features.   At the top center is a box with the title "Internet Archive's Google Books" and the number of items currently available for that set, currently 903,273.

  There's an advisory that the files have been downloaded from the Google site and uploaded to the Internet Archive by users...and that they've been made text- searchable as a finding aid.

Then you're given a link to "All items (most recently added first)."

From that, select an e-book, like the one in the image above.  After I saw one I wanted to download, I got my Kindle 3 (UK: K3) ("Kindle Keyboard)

  1. I pressed "Menu / Experimental Browser" and pressed "Menu /EnterURL" and then typed in the URL, using the Sym key, which brings up a number/symbol box that can stay up while you enter alpha characters and forward-slashes as needed, etc.

  2. Then I asked it to Go and it took me to the book's page, which loaded almost instantly (it's all text).

  3. On a 6" Kindle, the full page is set to fit the width so the characters are small, but the Kindle then displays a movable zoom box with a "+" sign. (When you don't see a zoom box but you want one, you press the 'Aa' key at the bottom.)

  4. Then, using the 5-way controller, I went to "Kindle" on the Internet Archive's book page, left column, and clicked on it, which brought up a dialog box asking if I wanted to download the book and I clicked on "Yes."

  5. It took only about 7 seconds to get the half-megabyte file to my Kindle since my Comcast is fast and therefore my WiFi is too.

That's all it took.  Might add a screenshot of the Kindle downloading but this blog entry is already image heavy.  You can also save the Kindle file to your computer and then move it to the Kindle's "Documents" folder via the USB cable that's a part of the Kindle power cord.

IF a free google book is not available from Internet Archive and you don't want to convert on with Calibre, then try RetroRead's Automated Free-Google-Book Conversions.

  The Kindle is covered well, with Calibre, Internet Archive and Retroread.

Related articles:
  What is the Internet Archive?
  Read foreign-language Google-books in English online
  Google describes its own book conversion process
  How to download any of the 30,000 Project Gutenberg books to your Kindle, direct.

Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links.
NOTES on newer Kindles.
Updated Kindle Fire Basic  7" tablet - $159
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB - $199/$249
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16/32GB - $299/$369
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G 32/64GB - $499/$599
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $69/$89
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $119/$139
Kindle Paperwhite, 3G - $179/$199
Kindle Keybd 3G - $139/$159, Free but slow web
Kindle DX - $379 $299, Free, slow web
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £69
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi
Kindle Paperwhite 3G, UK
OTHER International
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB

Boutique Kindle
Deutschland - Kindle Store
Italia - Kindle Store
Spain - Kindle Store

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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  1. Given the forthcoming KF8 format, I will be holding off on doing much ePub conversion until new conversion tools are available. Otherwise I'll want to do it again...

  2. I found this title that's been very helpful in doing conversions with Calibre and creating content with Scrivener. It's $3 bucks or so but worth it for the info it offers. Mentions this blog too (which is how I found it)

  3. I followed your directions above to use Calibre. I then downloaded book from google ebooks. It downloaded as an epub.acsm file. Calibre not able to convert because "no suitable source format was found" Wondering if you could help me with the additional steps I need to take to be able to put the book on my Kindle.


  4. That's odd. Was it a rights-protected file maybe? These work only for the public-domain no-cost books. Did you see the lower part of that blog entry about the site that will just convert it for you? You send them a request and they do it and then leave you a link to pick it up and then others will be able to get it there also. Done only with the free Google book offerings though.

    See the link for "Retroread" ... Calibre has tech support for your main question though... Let me know how it goes.

  5. Most books you can obtain through THE INTERNET ARCHIVE's Free Google Books in the formats epub/mobi are, in general, unusable due to the quantity of erros derived from the OCR process applied to the original's scan.

  6. I have a question using Calibre. I have a Kindle keyboard.
    I want to convert an epub format into kindle format but Calibre only converts it into AZW3 which my kindle keyboard can not read.What do you recommend me?

    1. Anonymous, the Calibre support forum would be your best bet on this, but there are a lot of entries found by google about this.

      Try reading some of the questions and answers with the Kindle-Keyboard-Calibre-azw3-search I made for you.

      Let me know if it helps eventually. Thanks.

    2. Not the azw3. format, but the mobi.

    3. It's been awhile since I used Calibre for this. Again, you should go to the Calibre support forum.

      Re the search on azw3 problems that I gave you in an earlier reply, one of the first link results leads to a discussion of this problem:

      Sorry I can't be more helpful. In the article above, I mentioned "Mobipocket Reader 6.2" -- that might be more useful for you but it loses some of the newer formatting.

  7. Re a comment that was to link people to ways to have DRM (digital-rights management) removed from Kindle books for them, it's something that Amazon has requested strongly that sites not publish -- and then there are the Terms of Service, as requested by publishers.

  8. When I go to the Calibre site it said to pick a computer format, I have a kindle fire 1st generation, what format do I pick since there is none for the kindle to pick?

    1. Anonymous on Aug. 11 - This article goes a way back, and Calibre itself has terrific help responses available.

      However, for a Kindle Fire, I just get the Aldiko app or the Mantano app from 1mobile market app - get the 1mobile market app on our Kindle first though at the link in this paragraph.

      These two programs each read ePub books Direct, on your Kindle Fire, and no conversion has to be done. I slightly prefer Aldiko.

      This article was actually written for e-Ink ereader device owners, who needed ePub files cconverted to Kindle format.

  9. hello I have a first generation kindle and have downloaded caliber. When setting it up it asks which device and under amazon it doesn't list the first generation kindle, just the newer ones. Which model should I select in caliber?

    1. Anonymous, Caliber's support team is very responsive, so give them a holler. I have the first Kindle too, but my scrolling thing that looks like a mercury reading doesn't move very smoothly anymore, but I can still read books on it.

      Let me know if you can't reach anyone at Caliber and I'll look up how to make sure you do.


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