eBook – How to Change the Format Using Calibre

Calibre is a free eBook management program that serves multiple purposes, but today I’ll focus on the ability to change the format of your eBooks. As I’ve stated in multiple posts, I’m not technologically savvy. I’ll keep this as simple as possible, but you will need some basic computer knowledge to follow the instructions below.

The examples I give are for the Amazon Kindle using Microsoft Windows since these are what I use. Using another eReader or computer program may involve different steps, but my hope is that they are close enough that you’ll be able to figure it out using my examples below.

Why change the eBook format?

Since the eBook industry is still relatively new (and maybe even if it wasn’t), different eBook providers use different formats. The Amazon Kindle uses the MOBI format, Barnes and Noble uses the EPUB format, etc. Some eReaders can only read a single format. Others read multiple formats, sometimes with the addition of special apps.

Sometimes a book you really wish to read is only available in one format, like those that are part of the KDP Select program at Amazon. Without going into too much detail, authors who enter their books in KDP Select gain certain promotional benefits, but must offer those books through Amazon exclusively.

Maybe you bought a book on Barnes and Noble, but your eReader broke. Now you decided to buy a Kindle. In order for those books from Barnes and Noble to be used on the Kindle, the format needs to be changed from EPUB to MOBI. This may seem confusing, but Calibre makes it easy!

Note!

An eBook’s formatting can only be changed using Calibre if that individual eBook does not use DRM. DRM stands for digital rights management. If an eBook uses DRM, this means it is illegal to change the format. I will NOT tell you how to change the format of an eBook using DRM because it is illegal, not to mention I have no clue how to do so. None of my books use DRM because I believe the owner of a book should have the ability to switch them from eReader to PC, to wherever else they want. If you own a print book, nobody would force you to keep it on a specific bookshelf in your house.

Calibre

Calibre has more options than I know how to use. I only use it when I change eBook formats. If you prefer to check out the program before reading on, click here to visit the Calibre home page.

Before you can use the free program, you need to install Calibre on your computer. I’ve used this program for over a year and have never had any issues or inadvertently downloaded viruses.

This part is what I spoke of earlier when I said you would need basic computer knowledge. You need to be able to download the program and install it on your computer. Your eBook also needs to be transferred from your reading device to your computer. Again, this is something I’m hoping you know how to do already. I may do a blog post on this some time in the future.

A quick description would be to connect your eReader to your computer. Open the file containing your eBook. Open the file on your computer where you wish for the eBook to reside. Drag and drop, or copy and paste, the individual eBook file from your eReader to your computer. This is how it’s done with a Kindle, but I can’t say for sure with other eReaders.

How to change the format of your eBook using Calibre

Once Calibre is installed on your computer and your eBook file is in a folder of your choice, you’re ready to begin.

1. Start the Calibre program.

2. In the upper left corner of the Calibre window, you’ll see an icon that looks like a red book with a plus sign on it. Beneath this button are the words, “Add books.” Click on this icon now. This opens up a window to choose the file where your book is located.

3. Browse to the folder on your computer where your file is stored.

4. Click on the eBook file to highlight it.

5. Click “open” in the bottom right corner of the window you’re currently browsing. If the eBook you chose is one of the formats Calibre can read, it will automatically load the book into the program. Calibre can only read certain formats. The obvious formats are MOBI, and EPUB, but this also works using PDF, RTF, TXT, and a few others.

6. Once the eBook is uploaded, its name and other details appear in a list in the center of the Calibre window. Click on the eBook in the list to highlight it.

7. Once highlighted, right-click on the eBook and a drop-down menu will appear.

8. As I said before, Calibre has a ton of options, but the only one to concern yourself with now is, “Convert Books.” Move your mouse until it is over the “Convert Books” option. Another small window will appear to the side with a couple more options.

9. Click on the option that reads, “Convert Individually.” The other option is to bulk convert, which will convert every one of your books to a given format. This is something you may be interested in for the future, but ignore it for now.

10. Clicking on the “Convert Individually” button opens the formatting change window. This window contains a bunch of information you may want to learn how to use in the future. For now, the only two areas to concern yourself with are in the upper corners. One reads, “Input Format,” and the other reads, “Output Format.”

11. The box to the right of the “Input Format” button should display the original format of your eBook. If for some reason it does not, click on the box displaying the input format and a drop-down menu will appear. Choose the correct input format and click on it.

(Input format is the format your book originally came in. If it was originally from Amazon, the format should be MOBI. If it were from Barnes and Noble, it would be an EPUB format.)

12. The box to the right of the “Output Format” button automatically displays the MOBI format. By clicking on this button, a drop-down menu will appear. Choose the format in which you wish to change your eBook. This may require some research on your part, but I’ve already discussed the two primary eBook formats. MOBI is for the Kindle, EPUB is for the Nook. PDF files can be read on Kindles or your PC. I suggest learning which format your eReader uses before using Calibre.

13. Once the input and output are correctly entered, click on the “OK” button in the bottom right corner of the formatting page. This will take you back to the original Calibre page. A small pinwheel type graphic will spin in the bottom corner letting you know Calibre is currently working on a job. Once that pinwheel stops, your eBook has been converted.

14. Calibre keeps both formats, your original and the one it was just converted to. Now that the conversion is made, all you have to do is locate the Calibre Library folder. Books will typically be listed alphabetically by author name. You can open this folder, then the book folder, and all the formats available for that eBook will be listed. Simply drag and drop, or copy and paste, the file you need into your eReader’s book file.

There you go! Your eBook format has been changed! Happy reading.

If you have any questions about Calibre, feel free to ask. Keep in mind I only have limited use. If you have questions about where your files are stored on your eReader or on your computer, I suggest checking your eReader’s User Guide.

 If you’ve read and enjoyed The Fall of Billy Hitchings or In Search of Nectar, be sure to sign up for the Kirkus MacGowan newsletter for future updates and giveaways. Click here to join. My second John Reeves novel, WRATH, will be released on August 28th! Click here to read the first chapter.

How to Post an Amazon Review and Find its Permalink

This post is for those of you who wish to post an Amazon review and/or find its permalink, but are not considered technologically savvy. Yes, I fall under this category as well. If you don’t believe me, check out my post Technically Challenged? Me? Yup! This computer nonsense can make even the smartest person feel like a monkey.

I’m under the assumption you’ve already created an account with Amazon, but if not, click here if you’re signing up for Amazon US, and follow the sign up instructions. For United Kingdom members, click here. A quick note here. You can actually sign up at both sites. I do this so I can post reviews to both sites though I don’t think I can technically buy anything from the UK site.

 

How to Post an Amazon Review

Now that you’re signed up, this is the fun part. From here on out, I may refer to the reviews as book reviews since that’s my field of expertise. However, the same rules should apply for any Amazon review.

  1. Log in to your account by clicking “Hello. Sign in Your Account” and entering the needed information.
  2. In the Search bar, type in the title of the book for which you wish to leave a review. For example, you could type in, “The Fall of Billy Hitchings” to find my book. Depending on the book title and keywords associated with that book, you can try typing fewer words. In my book’s case, typing in “Billy Hitchings” is usually enough. Hit enter and a list should appear.
  3. Find the book you wish to review on the list. Click on the title or the book cover. Either should take you to the correct sales page. It doesn’t really matter which version of the book you choose (paperback, hardcover, kindle, etc.) as long as it is indeed the same book you read. The reviews for each version are connected.
  4. On the sales page, next to the star rating and below the title of the book, a link in parentheses says, “56 Customer Reviews.” The number depends on the amount of reviews the book has. I used 56 as an example since that’s how many The Fall of Billy Hitchings has as of today.
  5. Near the star ratings on the upper left portion of the screen, you should see a gray button that says, “Create your own review.” Click on that button. This takes you to the actual review screen.
  6. The review section has four parts. The first is the star rating. The star rating is subjective, but five typically means awesome, one means horrible, three means somewhere in between. Just click on how many stars you think the book deserves.
  7. The second is the title. As with any title, you want something that stands out and gives the potential reader an idea of what your review is about. Something like, “AWESOME and Character-Driven.” Only you know what you thought of the book, so this part is at your discretion.
  8. The third is the actual review. This is where you put your heart out there and gush your emotions onto the page… or just state whatever it is you thought about the product. There is a twenty word minimum. I’m not sure if there is a maximum length, but I’ve read some loooooong reviews! My suggestion is to keep it simple and to the point. Most online buyers these days want a quick answer or description.
  9. The fourth is a clickable box under the review to show you’re a verified purchaser. It’s not a huge deal as of now, but some people are less likely to read a review if it’s not a verified purchase, their thoughts being that maybe the reviewer didn’t really read the book or use whatever product it is they reviewed. The box should automatically be checked if you bought the item from Amazon.
  10. Beneath the review section, a yellow button reads, “Preview your review.” Click on it to see what your review will look like on Amazon. This is a good place to check for spelling errors and such. No worries though. If you make a mistake you can always edit the review later.
  11. There are two buttons at the bottom of the review. A gray button that reads, “Edit,” and a yellow one that reads, “Publish Review.” If you click edit, you’ll go back to the previous screen and can work your way back to this one. If you hit “Publish Review,” a note from Amazon will pop up stating your review has been submitted and will soon be reviewed. It typically takes less than a day for the review to go live, but it’s longer for new reviewers. Be sure to follow the review guidelines and the review will be up before you know it. Click here to check out those guidelines.

There you have it. You’ve just submitted an Amazon review. Depending on your settings, Amazon should eMail you when your review goes live.

How to Find an Amazon Review Permalink

An Amazon Review Permalink is the URL that leads you directly to that specific review on Amazon. If you were to click on the permalink on a website, or copy and paste the permalink into your browser, you’d automatically be taken to that exact review.

There are two ways to find a review’s permalink. It’s easiest when finding a review you wrote yourself, but it can be done for those written by others as well.

  1. If you wrote the review, log in to your account and click on the, “Hello Kirkus Your Account,” button toward the upper right-hand corner (your user name should be in place of Kirkus). Either that, or hover your mouse pointer over the button and choose, “Your Account,” from the drop-down menu. (Note: if you’re searching for a review you didn’t write, scroll down to the section in this post labeled, “Permalinks for Reviews You Did Not Write.”)
  2. Scroll toward the bottom of the account screen. On the left, there are large labels such as, “Orders,” and “Payment.” Scroll down until you find the one labeled, “Personalization.”
  3. To the right of “Personalization” you’ll see three columns. Beneath the one labeled, “Community,” click on the link that reads, “Product Reviews Written By You.” If you’re on the Amazon UK site, the link reads, “See All My Reviews.”
  4. This page lists the reviews accepted by Amazon that you’ve written. Search through each page until you find the book you’re looking for.
  5. Once you’ve found the book or product you’re searching for, beneath your review you will see two buttons. One reads, “Comment,” the other, “Permalink.” Click on the “Permalink” button.
  6. At the top of the screen, the URL in your browser should now display the “Permalink” to that review. Any time a person types in this exact permalink, it should take them directly to this page.

Copy and/or Paste the Permalink

To copy, highlight the entire URL at the top of the screen in your browser. You can either right-click the highlighted words and select copy from the drop-down menu, or you can press “Control” and “C” on your keyboard simultaneously.

To paste, select the screen where you prefer to paste the text, whether it is a document or an eMail. You can either right-click the screen and click “Paste” from the drop-down menu, or you can press “Control” and “V” on your keyboard simultaneously.

Permalinks for Reviews You Did Not Write

  1. The first thing to do is get to the review screen. The easiest way to do this is follow steps two through four above in the “How to Post an Amazon Review” section. You don’t need to log in to Amazon to find a permalink. If the book or product has a bunch of reviews, finding the exact review you’re looking for will probably be the hardest part.
  2. Right away, you’ll see two main reviews highlighted. One is the most helpful, the other is the most critical. Just below those two are the rest. Go through one page at a time until you find the one you’re searching for, or if you know it’s a recent review, click on the link labeled, “Newest First” at the top right of the list. This puts the reviews in order starting with the most recent.
  3. Once you find the review you’re looking for, look at the bottom of that review. You’ll find three links you can click on. Click on the one labeled, “Permalink.”
  4. At this point, you can copy and paste the permalink directly from the browser. If you’re not sure how to do this, refer to the section above named, “Copy and/or Paste the Permalink.”

There it is. It looks like a lot of work, but it’s really not. It’s more about your comfort level with Amazon’s site. Once you do it a few times, it’s like anything else and will grow easier.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back with you as soon as I can.

If you’ve read and enjoyed The Fall of Billy Hitchings or In Search of Nectar, be sure to sign up for the Kirkus MacGowan newsletter for future updates and giveaways. Click here to join.