Kindle’s are popular, but tricky ereaders. With a Kindle, you can’t purchase ebooks from vendors besides Amazon and Smashwords, however, you may purchase MOBI files directly from publishers and sideload them onto your Kindle.
Let us explain. Other vendors encrypt their ebooks, then provide an app that you can use to download their books on other devices. Which would be great if Kindle let you download those apps. But Kindle has its own Kindle store, where third party apps are not provided, which means you’re pretty much out of luck. You can still get MOBI ebook files for Kindle from Smashwords, though, because Smashwords does not encrypt its ebooks.
Smashwords (or from a publisher/author site) to Kindle
There are two ways to put ebooks from Smashwords (or publisher/author site) onto your Kindle: through a computer download or an email.
Way number 1: Computer Download
- Grab your computer, sign in to Smashwords.com (or go to the publisher/author site), and download the MOBI file of your chosen ebook.
- Plug your Kindle into your computer with the USB-Kindle cable.
- Your Kindle will appear in your computer—just like a flash drive would appear.
- Drag the MOBI file to Kindle’s “documents” folder.
- Disconnect your Kindle from your computer. The book will appear in your library on the device.
Way number 2: Email
- Email the MOBI file to your Kindle’s email address.
- To find out your Kindle’s email address, go to your account on Amazon’s website and click on “Manage Your Content and Devices.” Once there, click on the Settings tab.
- Near the bottom, under “Personal Document Settings,” you’ll see a list of your devices and the emails assigned to them. This email is where you’ll send the book too.
- Check that the email you’re sending from is on the “Approved Personal Document E-mail List.” (See illustration below.)
- Scroll down just a little bit more from the personal document section, and you’ll find the list of approved emails just under the list of device emails. Add or remove email addresses at your discretion.
- That’s it! You can now email MOBI files directly to your Kindle.
Before sending a file to your Kindle, though, make sure the email you’re sending from is on the “Approved Personal Document E-mail List.” This list can be edited on the same page you found the email address on (right below it).
Does it have to be a MOBI file?
Yes. While most other ereaders use EPUB files, Kindles only read MOBI files, which is why you can’t just copy any file bought elsewhere to your Kindle (without reformatting them). However, in addition to Smashwords, you can get MOBI files directly from publishers or authors and sideload them onto your Kindle.
Now you know your options for downloading ebooks onto your Kindle device. If you’d like to learn your options for downloading ebooks on other devices, check out our full blog: Everything You Need to Know About How to Download eBooks on Any Device.