Kindle Publishing: Kindle Previewer

Read messages on any Kindle publishing forum and you may be astonished to hear how many authors are agonizing because they uploaded their book to the Amazon DTP, then immediately discovered one --  or many -- errors.

The worst part is… there is not a thing they can do about it except wait for the Publish process to complete… which may be two or three days… then start over.

It would have been so much easier if they had proofed and previewed before going to press… or Publish, in this case.

If you want to be a successful Kindle author, remember this:

Your Kindle format file is not ready to publish at the Amazon DTP until you have proofed it to the Nth degree and “previewed” it on your own computer.

The easiest and most accurate way I’ve found is with Kindle Previewer.

NOTE:  Don’t confuse this program with the Preview function that’s available at the Amazon DTP.  This Kindle Previewer works on your desktop.

Kindle Previewer is provided by Amazon and is free to download.

Click here to DOWNLOAD Kindle Previewer

Scroll almost to the bottom of the page (past the KindleGen offer):

Near the bottom of the page, you will find:

Kindle Previewer for the PC


Kindle Previewer for the MAC

NOTE:  An important thing to know about the Kindle Previewer:

The Kindle Previewer doesn't work quite as most other programs do when opening a file:

If you RIGHT CLICK on a Kindle format file and say "open with Kindle Previewer", that won't work.

Kindle Previewer will claim your file is invalid, when it is actually OK.

You must first open Kindle Previewer, then Browse to find your Kindle format file.

Click to open your own file, and the Kindle Previewer will display it in grayscale and *almost* exactly the same display as the physical Kindle display.

I've seen some differences, but none of great significance.


  1. So, my confusion is why not just copy the new .mobi file to your Kindle and see what it looks like in the real thing, or to your "Kindle For PC"? Like the Motown song says, "There ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby!"

    David Smith

  2. You are right... there is nothing like a Kindle... unless it's another Kindle!

    But, while you are writing and editing, it's very convenient, and much faster, to be able to just open a program on your desktop to display something close to what your book will look like on the real thing.


  3. Dear CJ: I really appreciate the work you've done for us out here. So far, so good. I've cleaned up mss and it looks fine on mobireader. But for the life of me I can't figure out how to get it to be a .mobi file and send it to Kindle previewer.

  4. Thanks, Spencer.

    Sometimes people around the Internet call things by a name that "sounds right", but is just a "nick name".

    That's the case here.

    The output of Mobipocket Creator is a "prc" file.

    However, it is essentially the same thing as a mobi file.

    The desktop Kindle Previewer has a quirk about how it will load a file.

    You can't click on a file (mobi or prc) and say "open with Kindle Previewer"... Kindle Previewer will declare that it is an invalid file.

    You have to open Kindle Previewer first, then "Open
    File" and find your PRC file.

    There is an article about it around here somewhere... to find it, enter "Kindle Previewer" into the Ask the Birds search box.

  5. Thanks again CJ. This was a case of not seeing the forest for the trees. So far it looks excellent on the kindle previewer.
    I hope you don't mind if I list your blog in the acknowledgements.

  6. Hi Spencer,

    I'm glad to know your problem was that easy to fix!

    And, yes, that sounds great to have this blog listed in the acknowledgements... but please tell more... what is the name of your book, and can you tell a bit about it?

  7. The book is a mystery. The title is up in the air at the moment. The working title is "Paper Cuts." It's about a has-been P.I who is blackmailed into investing a blackmail case that turns into murder most foul.

    He wants to be a writer. His daughter wants him to get a job. His former boss (beautiful and bitchy, she is) wants to help her. His life is ruled by women--and he tries revolt.

    It's a comedy because it isn't a tragedy in the classical sense.

    Today is Table of Contents, and then cover art, and I have to learn how to do page breaks so that the blah, blah page is not shoved onto page one.

    Cheers and thanks again for your help.

  8. That sounds like a book I'd love to read... and would be honored to have you mention CJ's Easy As Pie.

    btw... the easy way to add page breaks before Chapters is to select "page break before" to the tag for Heading 1... or wherever you want page breaks.

    Putting the page break in the tag instead of a manual page break also avoids most accidental blank pages.


  9. Dear CJ. When I get this thing finished I would be delighted to send you a copy as a thanks. We'll have to figure out how to do that. :) As you say: "Just take one step at a time." BTW, I have 3 other books that I'm going to put up before the end of the year.
    Thanks again. Spence.

  10. Dear CJ,
    Been trying to use Kindle Previewer but it seems that if your file is isn't in one of the .azw, .mobi
    or .prc formats it won't work. I have my file in html. Any way of previewing that except on Amazon's own slightly inadequate previewer when you've uploaded?
    And, while I'm here: is there any way of getting the title page away from the top of the page? It looks really odd stuck against the top of the page. Same with the Copyright page. Putting in line breaks has no effect.



  11. Hi Brian,

    I think I see your problem...

    You are trying to use HTML without going through MS Word.

    While that is quite possible for people who know how to program the HTML file, I find it much easier to format the file properly with MS Word.

    Using the CJ's Easy As Pie Search Box under the photo of Bird's on a Tight-rope, look for how to create and apply Heading Tags.

    Then, look for a Tag named Title, and apply the Title Tag to the Title of your page, then modify the Title Tag to add pixels before.

    You will have to experiment to get the Title exactly where you want it.

    I'd start with 100 pixels before... then add more if that is not far enough down on your page.

    All these things are explained in different articles here, but it's too much to try to explain in a message... so just use the Search Box to look for more help if you get stuck.

  12. CJ, been looking for an answer on this and just can't find it. The Kindle Previewer has a picture of a tree on the menu to view the cover, I would guess. I have the TOC working, the NCX working but something as simple as "Cover" is slowing me down. The cover shows up in the mobipocket creator but not when I use the Kindle Previewer. I get a "error generating this page position: 1874." Any ideas? Will this stop me from getting my book accepted?



  13. Pete,

    It might not keep your book from getting accepted... but you wouldn't like your results.

    The Publishing Platform doesn't make decisons... that's why we have to be so careful to Preview our work before submitting to Publish.

    I think I see your problem:

    Are you including your cover in the Word file instead of "Add Cover" with Mobipocket?

    If I were getting an unexplained error, such as you have, I would go all the way back to my MS Word file and start over, and just be sure I've done every step right.

    Remember, when it sees an error, software doesn't always know exactly what is wrong, so sometimes it gives you an error message that doesn't make sense.

  14. Hi I posted this question once on the TOC blog. Ask again. I had done the TOC page but when I click onto the Table of content tab on Kindle Previewer, I always have a pop-up saying 'yr book is currently missing the table of contents'. What have I done wrong? Is it possible that the tab is not valid on Kindle previewer but will work on real Kindle. What is the NCX file? How can I do this one.
    Pls kindly answer me.
    Thank you.

  15. Supawan,

    The first thing to do is go back through the steps to enter Bookmarks in MS Word and Guide Items in Mobipocket Creator.

    They are very easy to do, but it's also very easy to make a mistake... even a tiny typo, such as an accidental period or comma, will result in the message you got.

    Enter "Guide Items" in the Search box under the Birds on a Tight-Rope photo... you will find two or three articles to tell you how to do it.

    You can also search for how to create an NCX... or just look at that article featured in the
    "headline" articles on CJ's Easy as Pie main page.

    I'm sorry you didn't get an answer before... I remember your name, and thought I had answered you.

  16. Hi CJ. For the life of me I can't get my chapter headings centered. They look great in Word and I've tried revising the styles for headers to no avai (cntrl-shift-s)l. Your guide talks about doing this by editing your HTML file but I don't know HTML and don't know how to edit such a file.

  17. Hi Unknown,

    Mobipocket Creator often forces Headings left, because, I think, the original Kindle page size was so narrow.

    The new software, which came out on the 11th, may solve that problem, but I have not yet learned to use it, so can't advise on it.

    In the meantime, if you must have centered headings, you might try Calibre... it is a free download... (it's DONATE-WARE)... just search for "Download Calibre".