How to convert a PDF ebook to AZW for Kindle…

You can find great deals for Kindle books on Amazon. But sometimes the deals are better direct from the publisher. But when you buy from a publisher, what you get is usually a PDF file.

You can read a PDF on Kindle…but not always comfortably. The first time I loaded a PDF onto my new Kindle, I knew immediately it was NOT going to work.

The type size was way too small. Picture the fine print in a legal document and you get the idea. I couldn’t imagine reading an entire novel in print that tiny. The scalable fonts don’t work on a PDF document. Few of the Kindle functions do.

I had to convert the PDF to the Kindle (.AZW) format. It’s easy to do, but HARD to find the directions on the Amazon site. Apparently, they’d rather you bought your books directly from them, rather than purchase ebooks from a publisher and convert them. Go figure!

However, I was determined, so despite their best efforts to hide the information on the Amazon web site, I found it. (Ha!).

There’s two ways to a convert a PDF file to a Kindle .AWZ file: one is free and the other costs a small fee (about 15 cents, depending on file size). The fee option, of course, is the easy way.

Easy way for a fee:

1. Attach your PDF to an email

2. Type “convert” (and nothing else) in the subject line. (And that means don’t include the quotation marks).

3. Email it to:  “” (This is the Kindle name Amazon assigned you when you bought your Kindle).

Amazon will convert your PDF to an .AZW file and send it via Whispernet to your Kindle. It takes longer than purchasing a Kindle book, sometimes as long as 15-20 minutes. Be patient. Don’t email it several times like I did the first time.

The free way

1. Attach your PDF to an email

2. Type “convert” in the subject line

3. Email it to “your kindle” (Note this email address is a little different)

4. Amazon will email you an .AZW file

5. Download the file to your computer

6. Attach your Kindle to your computer with the USB cord you received

7. Using the mouse, drag the .AZW file to your Kindle OR use the “move” command, to transfer the file to Kindle (the latter is what I do)

Tip: If you buy a PDF book from a publisher, pay attention to the file name that you receive. I bought several books from Ellora’s Cave and when I received them, the file name was the UPC code. Not a problem if you have only one book, but when you have several books in your Kindle named with numbers, you don’t know what the titles are. Before I send UPC-named books to Amazon to be converted now, I change the file name to the book’s title. Be sure you keep the .pdf extension if you change the file name.

Here’s the Amazon link with all the info:

Sending files to Amazon


My erotic romances are available for Kindle on Amazon. Cara’s books.

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19 Responses to How to convert a PDF ebook to AZW for Kindle…

  1. Marilyn McLaughlin says:

    When you send a .pdf file to Kindle to be changed to .azw file, how long does it usually take to receive the .azw file? I’m a new Kindle owner and I’m old and impatient. Can you give me a clue? Thanx. Marilyn

    • Cara Bristol says:

      My experience has been it takes between 5 and 20 minutes, usually on the shorter end of the scale, to get the azw file. On a couple of rate occasions, it has taken an hour or two. I suspect it depends on how many file conversions Amazon has in the queue.

  2. Ali says:

    I tried on my Kindle Wifi and it worked great. Thanks for this great solution

  3. mohamed says:

    i didnt buy my kindle from amazon but from a seperate retailer so how would i find out my kindle name?

    thanks :0

    • Cara Bristol says:

      To find your device name, go to menu, then settings, then “device email.” It’s listed right there.

      To change your device email, got to, then to “manage your kindle,” then “personal document setttings,” then “send-to-kindle email.”

  4. ray says:

    i try that but when i wanted to read my pdf i could only see symbols

  5. Sarah says:

    Where does it get sent? And where do i go to find the email from Amazon?

    • Cara Bristol says:

      It gets sent to Amazon. You have a special kindle email account with Amazon that is created when buy or register a kindle. If you used the “” and convert a file it will go directly to your kindle.

      If you use “,” the email Amazon sends you will go to your own personal email address that Amazon has for you on file (the one you gave them when you signed up with an account so can can buy stuff from Amazon).

      If you’ve never bought anything from Amazon, you’ll probably need to set up an account when register/buy your Kindle. Hope this helps.

  6. will says:

    Thanks Cara, your persistance sure saved me the time. You’re smart about it, thanks again.

  7. Arthur says:

    Does this work for the android kindle app?

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I don’t have an android or any smart phone so I don’t know. My suggestion would be to check out the manage your kindle page on Amazon.

  8. Hi Cara,

    Does Amazon bother about copyright thing when converting?


    • Cara Bristol says:

      It’s all done electronically, so I think Amazon will convert whatever you tell them to convert. In truth, I’m not sure how copyright factors in here. If you already own the document/purchased the document and you convert it to another format for personal use, I don’t think that’s copyright infringement. But I’m not a copyright expert.

      • Well, I actually had a Sidney Sheldon PDF which I didn’t purchase so I was curious. And as you said, it’s an automated process, nothing happened. But conversion is not up to the mark. Thanks for your post and reply.

  9. Cara Bristol says:

    Have you changed your email address since you got your Kindle? Amazon/Kindle will only recognize email addresses that it knows. You need to update it, otherwise if you’ve changed your email address and email a PDF from that address, nothing will happen. Likewise, if you put anything but CONVERT in the subject line nothing will happen. You might test it with another PDF file.

  10. Nicole Sinclair says:

    Where do i send the email from, do i send it from my normal email account or amazon or what ?

  11. My isp (comcrap) won’t let me send a large PDF file. Any way around this?

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I don’t know of a way around it — that’s an issue to take up with your ISP. If you convert a lot of files, you might consider switching ISPs.

      Could you split your PDF into two documents?

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