I am thinking of moving my extensive eBook library to iBooks or Kindle. Has anyone done this, and what does it take?

I just don't want book libraries in multiple proprietary formats, and have to look for content across apps.

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    What format or formats is your library in already? Where did you get them? Normally epub is the way to go, but you can't avoid different apps if your material has DRM. – Tom Gewecke Nov 4 '13 at 22:55
  • @TomG - Predominantly - Fiction > Kindle NonFiction > ePub. a ton of pdfs > iBooks – ICL1901 Nov 5 '13 at 0:10

Super easy!

Open iBooks, drag & drop the book you want to convert to the Desktop. It will create an .epub file. Then open it with Calibre and use it to convert the book to the format you prefer, eg. AZW3 for the Kindle.

The way back you can imagine it, it is the same but in the opposite direction.

  • Thanks @Matteo. Timely answer. I have to convert a new book. – ICL1901 Dec 24 '15 at 14:28
  • One more thought.. How about converting PDFs especially those with images? Anything new there? – ICL1901 Dec 24 '15 at 14:34
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    This process will not work for multitouch interactivie books in the .ibooks format or for any which have DRM (most paid-for books). – Tom Gewecke Dec 24 '15 at 17:41

Note that there are now three main eBook formats

  1. PDF which is not reflowable text and is used mainly for graphical books. There is a open specification for this.
  2. MobiPocket(Kindle files with extension .mobi (and encrypted as .azw)) The specification is not published and so Amazon can change it when they want.
  3. ePub which is most of the rest including iBooks. This is a published specification and there are open source tools that can create, edit and validate that the book meets the specification.

If the books do not have Digital Rights Management(DRM) then Kindle books can easily be converted to ePub as the format is similar, the reverse can also be done but you might lose some information as ePub data contains more things than Kindle data.

The easiest way to convert is to use Calibre which is a tool for managing ebooks including conversion, loading to devices and organisation of a library of books.

DRM books are tied to the application with which you bought them. An exception is that many ePub EBooks (but not iBooks and not Kindle) use Adobe's DRM and so can can be used in several devices.

There are plugins to Calibre, which are not legal in many countries, which allow removal of the DRM and thus use in Calibre allowing conversion between the formats. However I belive that there is no plugin for decryption of iBooks files.

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    Great answer Mark- thank you .. Are you saying though, that- while it's possible to "input" books into iBooks or Kindle, it's not easy or even possible - to move books from one library to the other? – ICL1901 Nov 4 '13 at 20:48
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    No it can be fone if the books are not DRM. If it is DrM then Kindle books can be unencrypted but DRM iBooks are not moveable (which is why I have not bought any) – mmmmmm Nov 4 '13 at 21:23
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    ok. understood. Kindle currently may be more flexible.. – ICL1901 Nov 4 '13 at 21:28
  • But Kobo, B&N, Sony, Baen, Smashwords etc. ie ePub might have more detail - which for novels is usually irrelevant – mmmmmm Nov 4 '13 at 21:30
  • Sorry, I did not understand this last comment.. – ICL1901 Nov 4 '13 at 21:34

Apple iBooks are very limited and therefor should be avoided if at all possible. Other eBook types are much more friendlier to use.

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    you might want to give examples rather than just saying "very limited" – dwightk Apr 6 '14 at 16:52
  • I think you have misunderstood the question and confused the store with the reader app. – Tom Gewecke Apr 7 '14 at 0:51

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