Kindle e-readers finally (sort of) support ePub books

Enlarge / Kindles still don’t directly open ePub files, but now there’s one less hoop to jump through.

Andrew Cunningham

Amazon’s Kindles are some of the best dedicated e-readers you can buy, but a long-standing criticism from users of DRM-free books from non-Amazon sources is that they don’t support the open ePub standard. That’s changed sometime in the recent past, as Good E-Reader spotted: Amazon’s Kindle personal documents service will now accept ePub files sent to your device’s Send-to-Kindle email address, the same way it does. it currently handles PDF files, Word documents, and other image and text files.

Kindles don’t yet natively support sideloading of ePub files: the Send to Kindle service converts documents to AZW3 files, something users can already do themselves using a variety of free tools. But official Amazon support removes a step from the process and will help users avoid third-party conversion sites riddled with shady ads. We tested it with an 11th-generation Kindle Paperwhite running the latest version of Kindle software, and the conversion process seemed to work without a hitch.

If using the Send-to-Kindle email address is still too onerous, Amazon’s support document says it will add the same ePub conversion support to its Send-to-Kindle apps sometime in late 2022. Amazon also says it will discontinue Send to Kindle support for MOBI in late 2022, as those files “will not support the newer Kindle for Documents features.” MOBI files that are already on your device will stay there and continue to function as they currently do.

This grudging support for ePub files is one element of a slow software overhaul that has rolled out to newer Kindles over the last year or so. Amazon began rolling out Kindle UI changes last September, the first major UI update e-readers received since 2016, with even more tweaks added in March of this year. Software changes have been accompanied by hardware upgrades like the larger-screen 11th-gen Kindle Paperwhite.

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