Adding Books to the Kindle With Calibre


This document is designed to be a guide to help someone with limited computer skills add books to an Amazon Kindle 2.  The assumption is that someone more familiar with computers will setup the environment and load a repository of ebooks onto the computer.  This guide is intended to walk someone through the process of day to day usage and installing the software and setting up the environment is beyond the scope of this document.  The goal is to detail all the steps needed to select a book, convert it to a kindle compatable format, then load it onto the Kindle for reading.  The prequisites are that someone has loaded the computer with the ebook management software Calibre and has already loaded it’s library with imported books that are not nessicarily formatted for the Kindle.  The end of this document will contain some technical notes and tips about Calibre settings and whatnot for the person setting up the environment.    

QuickStart Overview

1)    Look at the collection of Books you have available and choose one you want to read.

2)    Attach Kindle to your PC using the special USB power cable it came with.

3)    Run the “Calibre” program that lists available books.

4)    Highlight the books you want to add to the Kindle in Calibre.

5)    With the Kindle attached to the PC, press “Send to Device” to upload your hightlighted  books.

6)    When the jobs are done you can detach the Kindle and start reading.


Detailed Instructions

Look at the collection of Books you have available and choose one you want to read.

You are going to have ebooks in two places.   The books you have on your Kindle and the books you have already loaded into Calibre.  Calibre is a great program that helps organize your ebooks and assists you in loading them onto the Kindle.   You might also have ebooks on your computer that have not yet been loaded into Calibre, but that is beyond the scope of these directions.

We are going to assume that you have either read or don’t want to read the books currently on your Kindle.  Lets get started with Calibre, this will let you browse your ebook collection in a few different ways.   To launch the program, look for the icon on your desktop that looks like the following:

calibre icon.png

If you have trouble seeing it or have too many windows in the way, you can also launch Calibre by clicking on the start menu and going to “all programs” and clicking on “calibre - E-book management” and then “calibre - E-book management” with the mini Calibre logo as seen in this example:

calibre icon menu.png

That will bring up Calibre and you will see the following program open up, without the colored circles:

calibre browse.png


There are a few ways to browse through the list of books in Calibre.   You can scroll though the list like you would scroll up and down a web page, that scroll bar is circled in green in the above picture.   You can click the column heading where it says “Title” right under the search bar to have the list ordered by title.  You might find it more useful to click the colum heading for “Author(s)” to sort the list by Author, that header is circled in blue in the above picture.  

When you have the list sorted by author you might be confused by why Kelley Armstrong shows up ahead of Amanda Ashley.  The answer is that even though the list is displayed firstname lastname, it sorts based on the lastname.   Some books are labeled incorrectly and have the name order reversed so if you are looking for a particular book from an author check for both the first and last names.

When you start to have a large number of books in the list it can start to be combersome to browse by the scrolling controls (green circle).  The “search” bar is a powerful tool and is circled in red in the above picture.   If you click the light grey text that reads “Search (For Advanced Search click the button to the left” you will be able to type in that spot and it will search the collection of books for whatever you type.  

This is really helpful for finding the works of a particular author.   If you search for “armstrong” it will find all the works by anyone named armstrong and the order of the name won’t matter.  If any books have “armstrong” anywhere in the title those will show up as well.  

If you were to type in “ashley” it would list all the books from Ashley Ladd, Ashley Anne, and Amanda Ashely.  If you were to to type “ashley anne” it would only display Ashley Anne’s books.    If you entered “ashley amanda” in the search bar, then it would display all the books by “Ashely, Amanda” and “Amanda Ashley”   If you clear the search box of anything you typed then it will go back to displaying the whole collection.   Here are some screen shots to show you what I mean, notice the circled search terms.

calibre search 1.pngcalibre search 2.pngcalibre search 3.png

Those techniques will let you look through the list of available books in Calibre and allow you to figure out which ones you might want to load onto the Kindle to read.  Leaving Calibre up and running you can proceed to the next step and connect the Kindle to the PC.


Attach Kindle to your PC using the special USB power cable it came with.

The Kindle came with a special cable used to charge the battery and it doubles as the cable you connect to the computer to load books on the Kindle.  Here is a picture of that cable and where it connects to the Kindle.

kindle usb cable.png

If you look at the cable you will see that the end labled “KINDLE POWER ADAPTER” in the above picture has a power plug on it.  That power plug can be disconnected to reveal a standard USB cable connection.   The following picture will show you what I am talking about.

kindle usb cable 2.png

The small end of the cable plugs into the Kindle and the bigger end will plug into your computer.  You may have a window pop up on the computer when you plug it in that says something like “autoplay” and has options like “Open device to view files”.   You can close that window by clicking the X icon at the top right corner of that window.   Here is an example of what that window looks like on Windows 7.  

autoplay sample.png

Now your Kindle is connected to your Computer.  It is charging it’s battery and ready to be loaded up with books. 


Select and Add Books to Kindle

It is now time to add the books you have chosen to the Kindle so you can read them with the computer.  Lets start with a new screen shot to help explain this process.

calibre select.png

The first thing I should mention is that soon after you plug your Kindle into the computer Calibre will detect it.   When it does it will add a new icon next to the “library” button for your Kindle.   It is the “Reader” icon that is circled in green in the above picture.

Lets say that you have decided you want to read “The Perfect Stranger” by Annie Gracie and also read “Out Of This World” by Ann Wesley Hardin.  You need to select both books so they are highlighted in blue.  To highlight a book you just need to click it with the mouse, you can click the title, author, date, series or anywhere else on the book.  To highlight more than one book at a time you will need to press and hold the Ctrl key and then select the books you want by clicking on them.   In the picture above you can see the two books highlighted in blue and circled in red.

Now we want to send those two books to the Kindle.  The next.step is to click the “Convert E-books” button that is circled in purple in the above picture.  It will pull up a screen that looks like the following, click ok when it comes up (circled in red)

calibre Bulk Convert.png

Calibre will then start converting the highlighted books to a format the Kindle can definitely read.   You will notice that in the bottom right corner of the program there is a “Jobs” icon (circled in orange) and there will be a number of jobs running and slowly counting down.  When that goes back to zero you will know the converstion has completed.

With the Conversion finished, now you are ready to actually send the books to the Kindle.  With the two books still highlighted all you need to do is click the “Send to device” button that is circled in blue.  This will start the uploading process and you might notice the number of Jobs in the bottom right corner briefly go up.  When that goes back to zero the process is done and you have sucessfully uploaded a book to the Kindle!

calibre eject.png

The final step is to safely disconnect the Kindle from the computer.  To do that all you need to do is move the mouse to the “reader” icon (circled in green in the above picture), and hover there for a few seconds.  You will see and “eject” icon appear (circled in red) and when you click it, the Kindle will be ready to be unplugged from the computer.   This step is done to make sure the Kindle is finished coping files before it is disconnected.

You are done now and if you look in your Kindle and then go to the “home” screen, the books you just added should be in the list ready to read, congrats and enjoy! 


Tips and Technical Details for setting up environment

This section is intended for a more techinical audiance and can be skipped.  Is just a small collection of tips about setting up Calibre and a bit about the process that might be used to import the library of ebooks.

For converting PDF->MOBI I found myself getting much improved results when I changed the "Line Un-Wrapping Factor" to be .25 instead of 0 in the "Preferences->Conversion->PDF Input" tab.

In the "Preferences->Add/Save->Adding Books" tab I change around my import settings depending on the formatting of the incoming books's filename. Here are my most common settings.

In "Preferences->Add/Save->Saving Books" tab I set my "save template" to:

For formatting filenames ahead of importing them, I highly recomend "BulkRenameUtility" an awesomely powerful renaming tool found at: 

I also recomend the “Book Sorter” application located at  I have only scratched the surface of what it might do, but it has proven invaluable for fixing firstname/lastname ordering issues.   I am very impressed so far.