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How to Convert a PDF File for Your Kindle

Recently, a friend sent me a sample of a book she was about to publish and asked me to read it. I was very happy – but unfortunately the copy she sent was formatted as a PDF file. And as many of us know, reading a PDF on a smartphone or even an ebook reader is a recipe for eyestrain.

I spent three days looking at my screen frustratingly until someone reminded me that you can email a PDF file to your Amazon account, and the file will be converted to Amazon’s .Mobi format, making the document a lot easier to read on a phone or Kindle.

It worked like a charm. There are a few quirks in the resulting document (no dashes to indicate paragraphs and the occasional strange symbol), but it is a lot of easier to read. If you ever face the same problem, here’s how to convert a PDF file so that it can be read easily with a Kindle or Kindle app.

First, you need to capture two information points: you will need your special Kindle email address (which you will be sending the file to) and you will need to ensure that the personal email address from which you are going to send the file is verified by Amazon.

On your laptop or desktop:

  • Go to the Preferences tab on Amazon Manage your content and devices page
  • Scroll down and click on “Personal document settings”
  • Scroll down to ‘Send to Kindle Email Settings’. This will show you the email addresses for all Kindle devices you have.

You can find your device’s unique Kindle email address in Amazon’s settings.

  • On the same page, scroll down to “Email List Approved Personal Documents”. This will show you all the email addresses you can send. If you don’t see your current email address, you can add a new address via a link at the bottom of the list.

If you don't see your current email address, you can add a new email address

If you don’t see your current email address, you can add a new email address.

You can also find your Kindle email address on your Kindle mobile app:

  • Go to the main page and tap “More” in the bottom right corner
  • Select “App Settings”
  • Your Kindle address is under ‘Send to Kindle Email Address’

Once these are established, it’s very easy to send a PDF document to your Kindle or to a device with a Kindle app:

  • Create an email (with your approved email account) and attach your PDF file
  • Type “Convert” in the subject line
  • Address it on the Kindle address of the device you want to send it to. (If you have more than one Kindle device, keep in mind that each device has a different address.)

Converting a PDF to a Kindle file only costs email.

Converting a PDF to a Kindle file only requires an email.

It may take a few minutes for the file to appear on your Kindle or Kindle device, but soon you should have a Kindle version of your PDF file that you can bookmark, annotate, font and resize the type, etc. Even with the glitches that will inevitably appear (most conversions are not perfect), you will end up with a much more readable document.