Creating a Free Kindle-Compatible eBook: Part 1

June 19, 2012
Author Article Technology

Why Make a Kindle-Compatible eBook?

Amazon KindleCreating books to be published through Amazon for sale is not a very difficult process. Such files are covered with Digital Rights Management (DRM), which is normally a useful thing. However, there are some occasions when I have wanted to produce a free eBook to offer on my website by download—like this one, for example! I don’t want this book to contain DRM, nor do I want it to be available for sale. It will not be possible, therefore, to use the normal Amazon Kindle process for publishing your eBook. You are wanting your users to be able to get hold of this eBook from your site for free—presumably after they have done something useful, like subscribing to your newsletter.

The Kindle file format has a .azw extension. This is a proprietary file format, but is really just a DRM-protected version of a more general file format, which has a .prc extension. Therefore, files with a .prc extension can be read by Kindles as if they were Kindle books. So the question is, how can I make these .prc files, and what software do I require to make them?

In this set of instructions, we will do the following:

  1. Look at why we need a free Kindle-compatible eBook (which is what we have just done)
  2. Collect the software applications needed to make the eBook.
  3. Create and prepare the necessary files for the eBook.
  4. Use the free Mobi Creator program to put the files together and make the eBook.
  5. Test the book, and learn how to make the necessary corrections to get the book looking better.
  6. Show how to package the book and distribute it. Your users will not be able to obtain the book directly through the Amazon Whispernet, so you will need to give them clear and simple instructions on how to get the book on to their Kindle.

In part 2 tomorrow, we will collect together the software applications that you need. You will be delighted to know that it is possible to do this whole job for free—though better results can probably be obtained by purchasing certain types of software.

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