Prepping for my kindle: convert all ebooks or wait?
October 5, 2010 6:45 AM   Subscribe

Experienced kindle users: is it better to convert all my existing ebooks to .mobi or should I leave it all as it is and only convert what doesn't work?

Kindle prep: I'm expecting my very first kindle tomorrow (squee!). In preparation, I've been setting up my existing ebook library in Calibre and running conversions on everything to .mobi. But, on doing more reading, it seems like a lot of the native file formats might be just fine on the kindle - pdf et al. I've already converted everything, but now I'm second-guessing. Advice?

Calibre lists the following formats in my library:
epub (which I know is right out)
mobi (everything I've converted)
posted by L'Estrange Fruit to Technology (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
It depends on whether you got the Kindle DX or not. I find the PDF experience on the regular Kindle to be extremely frustrating and I end up converting them to MOBI files. However, it also depends on the nature of the PDFs: if they have a lot of images or funky formatting, the conversion process doesn't always work smoothly. I would recommend waiting and just testing out the other native file types before going to the trouble of converting all of them.
posted by hilaritas at 7:38 AM on October 5, 2010

The kindle (regular 3rd gen) showed up a day early, I experimenteth.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:53 AM on October 5, 2010

Reading PDFs on the Kindle (I also have a 3rd gen) is extremely frustrating unless the font is huge. I convert them to mobi with Calibre.
posted by OLechat at 10:44 AM on October 5, 2010

RTF works quite well on the Kindle 2.
posted by neuron at 11:16 AM on October 5, 2010

I went out today with the new kindle and OLechat, damn you're right about the tiny fonts.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 4:03 PM on October 5, 2010

Lessons learned so far (assuming Calibre as the desktop support software and a messy existing library of ebooks in various formats):

- Convert all .doc to .rtf before adding them to Calibre. If you've already imported everything, use the format view in the tag browser to find .doc files, then click to open path in the book details view to find the original and convert it, then delete the .doc from Calibre and add the .rtf.
- Assume you will need a chunk of time to correct author and book titles.
- Don't load everything on to the kindle, load the books in batches as you verify the metadata and add tags and/or series info.
- Open PDFs to check for large type, if unsure check them on the kindle to see if they're readable or need conversion.
- Very handy: in Calibre, use the format view in the tag browser to see only books with those formats. Target the ones that you know the kindle doesn't like (epub, lit, zip) to convert them in batches, then use the "remove files of a specific format" to delete the unwanted version and keep the conversion (Calibre stores a second copy of your books in its own directory, so you'll only be deleting it from the Calibre directory).
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 3:43 PM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

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