The MOBI File is Dead: Long Live the EPUB

Recently, it seems that Amazon is ensuring the death of the MOBI file.

Over the last two years, as of this writing, Amazon and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has slowly phased out the MOBI file in favor of the EPUB file for ebooks. Starting from 2022, there is no longer any reason why you would ever need a MOBI file…ever.

Let's talk about this phasing out of the MOBI file and what it means for authors.

In this article, you will learn:
  1. How Amazon phased out the MOBI file
  2. Why Amazon switched to the EPUB file
  3. What these changes mean for authors
  4. How to upload EPUB files to your Kindle

Nov 2020: Amazon KDP Starts Recommending EPUB

Our first inclination that Amazon KDP was phasing out the MOBI file and introducing the EPUB came in November 2020.

It was at this point that Amazon stated, “We recommend using EPUB format for publishing new books and updating previously published titles.”

You could still upload MOBI files at this time, but the introduction of the EPUB file format (the most popular file format everywhere but Amazon up to that point) was a huge step forward.

June 2021: Amazon KDP Completely Switches to EPUB

Later, in June 2021, Amazon sent out emails to authors letting them know that when uploading new and updated books to KDP, they would not be using MOBI files, and instead recommended EPUB.

This was huge news, as the MOBI file had been a huge staple of the KDP ebook-uploading process.

However, the MOBI file was not dead yet. In order to side-load an ebook file that you did not buy in the Kindle Store onto your Kindle, such as a reader magnet or advanced reader copy, you still had to have a MOBI file.

April 2022: Amazon Announces EPUB “Send to Kindle” Support + Removing MOBI

In April 2022, Amazon announced the final nail in MOBI's coffin.

It was announced that, beginning in late 2022, MOBI would not only be discontinued when self-publishing your book through the KDP marketplace, but that side-loaded books would also not support MOBI.

Additionally, the changes specified that EPUB books would also be available to side-load onto your Kindle, in addition to all other supported formats.

Once these changes are firmly in place, they will mark the official end of the MOBI file, as there is no other reason why you would need a MOBI file anymore.

Instead, when distributing your reader magnets or advanced reader copies, you can simply use an EPUB file, which makes the whole process much simpler.

So let us examine some of the key benefits that authors can expect once these changes go live…

What This Means for Authors

The good news is, switching from MOBI to EPUB is almost universally a good thing for authors. It simplifies the uploading process, makes it easier to go wide, and is easier on ARC and Beta readers. Here are the key benefits:

  • Reader magnets and ARC copies: distributing a reader magnet, free book, or advanced reader copy (ARC) to your readers used to require a MOBI file because that was the only way to side-load the book onto Kindle devices. That is no longer the case, as you can now do it with EPUB.
  • Ebook conversion software: some authors would make use of ebook conversion software, either online or on their computer with tools like Calibre, that in most situations are no longer necessary. If you use a tool like Atticus or Vellum to generate your EPUB, that is the only file you will need.
  • Wide authors only need one file: Amazon, for the longest time, was the odd one out when it came to you EPUB. Literally every other vendor used EPUB, but Amazon insisted on their own MOBI format. So if you wanted to distribute you book wide to Amazon and other retailers, you had to generate two ebook files: one EPUB and one MOBI. Now, you only need the EPUB.

Additionally, formatting tools like Atticus no longer need to generate MOBI files, which is good news for us, as it makes the programs just a bit simpler.

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How to Send EPUBs to Kindles

You can now upload EPUB files to your Kindle (although some are delayed until late 2022). But how do you do that?

There are three main ways to do this:

  1. Use “Send to Kindle” Software
  2. Email the file
  3. Send via your phone (not recommended)

Let's briefly mention all three of these, or you can visit our more in-depth post on the subject.

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Method #1: Use a Send to Kindle Desktop Application

If you are using a desktop PC or Mac computer, you can download and install a “Send to Kindle” app. Using that app, you can send supported ebook files to your Kindle.

As stated earlier, beginning in late 2022, EPUB will be among the supported ebook files, and MOBI will not.

Other supported files include:

  • Microsoft Word (.DOC, .DOCX)
  • PDF (.PDF)
  • Text (.TXT)
  • Images (.JPG, .JPEG, .PNG, .BMP, .GIF)
  • RTF (.RTF)
  • HTML (.HTML, .HTM)

If you are sending the ebook file from your phone, you can use the Kindle app to perform this same function.

See Amazon's guidelines for using the Send to Kindle app to add to your library.

Method #2: Email the Ebook File to Your Kindle

When you get a Kindle device, you will automatically be given a distinct email address assigned to that device and any Kindle apps on your account.

You can then send ebooks to that email address (as an attachment), and it will show up in your Kindle library.

You will have to approve the sender's email address, under “Manage Your Content and Devices” on the Amazon website, which can be a little bit of a pain. But once it is set up, emailing your ebooks to your Kindle device is a relatively painless process.

See Amazon's guidelines for emailing books to your Kindle library.

Method #3: Use the “Send to Kindle” Function On Your Phone

While less common and a lot more error-prone, you can also send an ebook to your Kindle using the “Send” function available on most smartphones.

However, this is not a perfect method, and we definitely recommend using email on your smartphone instead. It's much easier to email the file, via your Mail app on your phone.

See this article for a complete breakdown of how to load an EPUB onto your phone.

The MOBI is Dead, Long Live the EPUB

After many years of using the MOBI file in Amazon KDP, and when side-loading ebooks onto their Kindle devices, the MOBI file is, for all intents and purposes, dead.

In its place, the EPUB reigns as the #1 dominant ebook file on Amazon platforms, as it has been on almost all other book-selling platforms on the Internet.

If you enjoyed this article, you might be interested to learn about Atticus, the #1 formatting tool for authors. Atticus automatically generates EPUB files for you, so you won't need any fancy converters. And no, Atticus no longer makes MOBI files, because it doesn't need to!

Check Out Atticus Here!


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