Converting Word Files to Kindle, iPad and Nook Files

Word to eBook

Okay, this will hopefully be a short and sweet tutorial on how to convert your Word files into files that your friends can read on their eReaders and Tablets.  Once again, you can click on any of the images in this tutorial to make them larger.

I mentioned the other day that we do this for our Beta Readers so that they can easily read our weekly chapters and give us notes on them.  And what I’m about to show you is wonderful for that, however, if you want to convert your whole document into an eBook to sell, I don’t recommend this method.  What I’m doing is fast, and efficient, but has a few little bugs, which aren’t a problem for just getting content out there to friends and family to review, but wouldn’t be good for paying customers.  Okay, with that said, let’s get started, shall we?

The first thing you need to do is go download a program called, “Calibre.” It’s a free download online for PC, Linux and Mac.  They tout it as an “eBook Management” software, and it’s great for quick and dirty conversions.  Click here to download it.

After you’ve installed that, go ahead an open up the Word document you want to convert in MS Word.  Now, because Calibre won’t take a .doc file (the proprietary file format used by MS Word) you’re going to need to click “Save As” and then click on “Other Formats.”

Depending on which version of Word you’re using, this may look a little different.  If you have a different layout, you might have to click on “File” then “Save As.”  Despite which version of Word you’re using, you’ll probably get a box that looks like this.

Click the drop down and scroll down until you see “Rich Text Format.”  Then click Save. Remember where this file is saved. Now our file is in a format that Calibre can read.

Open up Calibre and click on “Add Books” in the upper left hand corner.

Now, if you remember where you saved your file, search for the Rich Text File we just created.  Once that’s loaded, you’ll see the file show up in the queue in the center of your screen.  Go ahead and click once, to highlight the book.  Clicking twice will open the file.  Don’t do that.  Just highlight it. Now, click the big “Convert books” button.

This is going to bring up a new window.  You’re going to have a few dialogue boxes to fill in if you want in the upper right hand side, such as the Title, Author, series number, etc… Fill those in if you wish, and if you like, choose a cover image for your book.  Now, look up into the upper right hand corner where you see the “Output Format” dropdown.  If you want a Kindle book, select “Mobi.”  If you want a Nook or iBook format, click “ePub.”  Then click “OK” on the bottom right.

Congratulations.  Your eBook file is being made.  If it’s a small one, the process will only take a few seconds.  For larger files, it’ll take a tad longer.

When the conversion is done, you can tell by clicking on your book in the queue again and looking on the right hand side of your window where the cover of your book is (or if you didn’t load a cover, it’ll just show a picture of a blank book).  Below that you’ll see the formats listed.  If you see a Mobi or ePub file listed there, it’s done.  From there, just click on “Click to open” next to path, and the folder containing your eBook file will pop up.  Go ahead and do that and identify your new file.

For most devices you can just connect them to your computer and drag the new eBook file into the documents folder of your device, and it’ll show up like any other book.  Or you can put the file in your Dropbox (you are using Dropbox by now, right?!) if you’re planning on using a tablet to read the file and open your Dropbox app on your tablet and download the file there and select the app to open the file in.  If you created a Kindle file, the Kindle App will show as an option to open the file in after you’ve downloaded it, same goes for iBook files and Nook files.

Notice that when you open the file, it’ll look pretty good, but maybe a tab isn’t there, or there’s an extra line between paragraphs.  This is what I mean when I say Calibre isn’t a good option for converting your books for sell.  But for our purposes, the content is all there, as well as a couple tiny formatting errors, but that’s acceptable for our Betas who just want to read the text and give notes on content.

Okay!  There you have it.  The quick and easy way to transfer your files to your eReaders.  You can transfer all kinds of files like this, PDF’s, etc… Basically anything you think would be easier to read on your tablets and eReaders.

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Cheers!

Dana Melton
½ of Kirby Howell

15 Comments

  1. Dean Turnbow says:

    Great Article. Now, My wife has written book and wants to sell it on the internet. What is the next step? I am looking for a program like CDBABY (I am a songwriter) but for ebooks-do you have suggestions?

    • Dana Melton says:

      Hi Dean,
      I’m assuming if she’s ready to sell it, she’s already gone through the copyediting phase and all the re-writes. If not, I can recommend a copyeditor for her to consider. No book should be listed for sale that hasn’t been copyedited and proofed, but she probably already knows this… so let’s move on.

      The next thing she needs to do is start working the social media. Create a Facebook Fan Page, G+, etc… and build a base of friends/fans to grow on. After that, I recommend having an amazing cover designed. There are artists online that specialize in eBook cover design, but if she doesn’t find someone she likes, show her our covers, and if she likes them, we can refer her to our designer.

      After the book is finalized and the framework for selling the book is in place, she’ll need to convert the book to an eBook format. If you’re selling through Amazon, this means making a Kindle book. I’ve done our first book, and let me tell you, if you don’t know any CSS & HTML, it’d be easier to pay $100 or so bucks through Createspace or a freelancer and let them do it for you. If one of you do happen to be a coder though, there are some tutorials out there. I’ve not ventured to write a full Kindle Book tutorial, because of how in depth that process is. Our book is around 350 pages, and it took about 20 hours to fully and cleanly convert it. But I’m quite slow with these things.

      If you do go with Createspace, the beauty there is that they are part of Amazon, so it’s fully integrated with that online store. You can also download their templates to make the print books. But you’d need to search online for tutorials on how to create those. They’re not nearly as in depth as making a Kindle book though. We’ll be doing a tutorial for that process within a few weeks here, if you want to check back later for that.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Lewis F. Miranda says:

    This was a very nice tutorial. i ACTUALLY learned from it. not that i knew anything on the field, really. i just tried to make the conversion on my own, but got hopelessly lost. now i can do it.
    Also, the writing style is fantastic. smooth as silk, and paced so i could just take it in and roll.
    thanks a lot!!!!

    • Dana Melton says:

      Lewis, you just made my day! Thank you so much for the compliments and I’m absolutely thrilled that someone’s actually reading and learning from these tutorials here.

      All the best in your future writing endeavors, and thank you again for your comment!

  3. Fantastic post but I was wondering if you could write a litte
    more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Appreciate it!

    • Dana Melton says:

      Hi there! We’ll absolutely be posting more tutorials as we can. Any area in particular in Kindle conversion that you’re interested in? Might help us focus the next tutorial!

      PS: Thanks for the comment!

  4. Hey There. I discovered your weblog the usage of msn. That is a really smartly written article.
    I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to learn more of your helpful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly
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  5. This is the right website for everyone who would like to understand
    this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to
    argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa).
    You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that’s been written about for many years. Excellent stuff, just excellent!

  6. DR Rawson says:

    I’ve recently started with a world class photographic author. Your post will help me help him. He believes that the conversion process is the worst part of the writing process.

  7. forgetful says:

    Now, if you remember where you saved your file,…………………………… what a disaster…. i do not know where i saved my file………………..you need to make another USEFUL page like this to teach us how to remember……………….. by the way all this copuld be shortened to two sentence……………………….. 1- download clibre 2- convert the file………….but how do i remember where is my file…………….i wait for your tutorial.

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