Easy Kindle: Create a Kindle format eBook using Mobipocket Creator

Please note: This article was written 03/08/11.
It is left here because it still contains useful information.
Mobipocket Creator is no longer being supported by Amazon.
Amazon has upgraded software to the point that it is now better to upload your MS Word file directly to the Amazon KDP.
Other articles on this site tell you how.


See Notes at end of this article.

Download Mobipocket Creator
Other Formats, HTML, PDF, and Text
Add "Go To" Anchors (Guide Items)

Here is the easiest way I've found to create a Kindle format eBook, starting with an MS Word doc.

It's important to understand that Mobipocket is a versatile program, and offers many options that do not apply to the Kindle.

Please keep that in mind, and just ignore the miscellaneous information and options as you go through this little exercise.

Also, to keep things straight, and so I don't have to keep saying "your own file name, of course", please use file name "cjs_pie.doc".

OK... let's go:

When your book is ready to be published, create a folder for it on your Desktop, and copy your file and its cover to that folder, like this:


Then, open the cjs_pie_folder to display at half-size and leave it open at the left side of your screen.

Open Mobipocket Creator and leave it at half size on the right side of your screen.

Now, just grab "cjs_pie.doc" with your mouse, and drag it across the screen to Mobipocket Creator, and drop it on the little red book at the right of Mobipocket's page.

Mobipocket will immediately go to work, then display:

"Welcome to the Import File Wizard"
Import from MS Word Document **

Next will be four lines of options and settings; We are going to ignore them for now.

Just below those lines is the "Import" button.

Click "Import"

If your file is seriously flawed, Mobipocket will either just sit there, doing nothing, or abort with an error message.

If all is well, Mobipocket will import your file, then direct your attention to the left side of your screen, where you will see a red book, then a stack of selections under the title "View".

I call this the "View Stack".
One of the selections in the View Stack is "Cover Image"

Click "Cover Image"

A button named "Add a Cover Image" appears just to the right of the "View Stack".

If you didn't know where your Cover Image was, you could click that button and browse to find your cover image.

But you do know where your cover image is:

It's in the folder that is open on your screen, the folder we named "cjs_pie_folder".

Grab your cover, "cjs_pie_cover.jpg", with your mouse, then drag and drop it onto the "Add a Cover Image" button.

Your image will pop open and display, quite possibly larger than life, at the center of your screen, with an Update button just beneath it.

Click "Update".

If your image is ok, Mobipocket will accept it without comment.

Choose "Build" (icon with a couple of gears) from the blue ribbon at the top of your screen.

Now... Towards the center of your screen you will see some blank progress bars, with a "Build" button above them.

Click "Build".

(There are two places you must click Build... at the gears in the Blue Ribbon, and this Build Button.)

Mobipocket now goes to work to build an HTML file, then it will build your PRC (Kindle format) file.

It will inform you of each step as it builds, checks, and cleans your HTML file.
If Mobipocket Creator finds errors, it will stop and show you a list where you can look for your errors.

Often these errors are "Unable to resolve hyperlink"... and it tells you which hyperlink it could not resolve.

These may be no more serious than that you forgot to rebuild your table of contents after making a change. 

This is a great and wondeful feature of Mobipocket, as it finds errors that could cause you much grief later.

If all goes well, Mobipocket will display:

"Build Finished" at the upper right, near the View Stack.

It will give you some options for viewing, with "OK" beside Mobipocket Reader.

Click "OK" to view your file in Mobipocket Reader.

Mobipocket Reader is not perfect, but does provide a quick and easy way to find major errors in your Kindle format eBook.

Your Kindle format (*.PRC) file is now finished, and can be found in your My Documents\My Publications folder, like this:

My Documents\My Publications\cjs_pie\cjs_pie.prc

If all is well, you are now ready to upload your file (filename.prc) to your Shelf at your Amazon Dashboard at Amazon DTP.

To find the Kindle format (PRC) eBook you and Mobipocket Creator just created, look for this folder (named with your file name, of course)

My Documents\My Publications\YourFileName\YourFileName.prc

Inside the YourFileName folder (whatever you named your file), you will find several files, among them, “ yourfilename.prc”.

Be sure to get the file with the PRC extension.

That’s the file you will upload at your Amazon Shelf at your Amazon Dashboard at Amazon KDP.
* Note:
If you don't already have it, download Mobipocket Creator/Reader:
Be sure to get the Reader as well as the Creator... and be sure to get the "Publisher Edition".

** Note:
Use this same procedure, no matter the format of your input file... whether it is DOC, HTML, PDF, or Text.
When you drag and drop your file to Mobipocket, as described above, if your file is in HTML format instead of Doc format, Mobipocket will display:
"Welcome to the Import File Wizard"
Import from HTML Document
That's right... it doesn't matter whether your file is in DOC, HTML, PDF, or text... Mobipocket will figure it out.
If you try to give it a file it can't use, such as a DOCX file, it won't blow up, or give you an error message, it just sits there, doing nothing.
Note ***
To add the "Guide Items" required by the Kindle's "Go To" Menu feature, enter "Guide Items" into the Search box just under Birds on a Tightrope.


  1. Hi CJ! I read this post and it seems really simple! I got through the build part and I had only one error come up: "The book title was not set. Please call the set_book_title() function." I have been all over the forums at Mobipocket and have found nothing to tell me what I need to do to fix this. Any suggestions?

  2. Jean,

    When I saw that message before, the solution turned out to be as easy as just changing the title of my file, and making sure it was correct in “Properties”.

    I don't remember the exact details, but it was something as simple as the title being too long, or perhaps there was a space at the end of the title, between the title and the dot (period) of “.doc”.

    Like this: Title [space].doc

    That incorrect space will cause a problem for Mobipocket.

    Remember, the title you give Mobipocket doesn’t have to be the actual title of your eBook.

    You assign the actual title of your eBook when you upload it to be published.

    Please try this and let me know if it works, ok?


  3. CJ,
    Not sure what it was. I went in to properties for the Word doc and didn't have the title there so I typed it in, saved it, reloaded it and it went through with only one warning...that my cover was not specified. Now I am off to read up on where you cover the covers to see if I can fix that, too.

    Thank you so much for your help!

  4. Hi,

    I've done the initial Mobi run through as per everything I've read here and everything looks great BUT (isn't there always a but?) the bulleted and numbered lists are weird. Square boxes instead. Some of the numbered lists worked but the others didn't. There was no error message during the conversion.

    How to I do bulleted or numbered lists for the kindle?


  5. Dale,

    There is something weird about the way the Kindle displays bulleted lists.

    I think it is just another of those things where we have to accept that the Kindle is not YET perfect.

    I have discovered that using a degree symbol or a lower case o, instead of the default black bullet of Word, works better than the black bullet.

    Those are available in the 'pick list' that MS Word will drop down to let you choose different symbols to use as bullets.

    There are some other, more interesting, bullet symbols there, but probably none others that the Kindle will display.



    1. Does this also apply to the keyboard version of the bullet (and not using drop downs). So far, I have had good luck at using the mac option8 keyboard bullet. Many of the guides say don't use them, but I'm wondering if they are referring to embedded lists and not keystrokes.

    2. Kate,

      I have done a lot of experimenting without finding a sure-fire solution, but there's now hope that Amazon may have fixed the problem... but only in HTML.

      There seem to have been some recent improvements to the "MS Word saved as filtered HTML" that results in a nicer bullet in the resulting Kindle format file.

      There are some other improvements in the HTML to Kindle vs uploading MS Word directly.

      One example is that MS Word 2010 makes a very nice "Dropped Cap", but the Kindle will render it only if you upload the HTML file.

  6. I used mobi to ad my cover (it is now apearing full screen! yay!) I used word to create the html file complete with bookmarks and a TOC. The only problem I have now is that the "go to" menu on the kindle does not link to the toc or start like it used to. I tired to create the toc in mobi, but it does not work and I find it confusing.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  7. Hi Kristy,

    You just missed a spot!

    You have to enter "Bookmarks" into your Word file, then enter "Guide" items from within Mobipocket.

    Just enter "bookmarks" and / or "Guide" into the search box under the Birds on a Tight-Rope to find how-to articles on both.


  8. CJ,
    Got a problem (what else?). I’ve done everything I can imagine following your advice and have uploaded to kindle twice with not so hot results. I am using the first line indent etc to trick kindle but the indents are random especially with conversations. So I went back and reread everything on your site and discovered a couple of things. My copy of word does not have a *modify style* (CTRL-SHIFT-S does nothing) but I found the proper files on the tool bar and right side drop-down. I think I’ve done everything right. (BTW on the reader and kindle preview the book looks very nice.)
    Now I think I’ve discovered the problem. I have been uploading the wrong file. I have no .prc extention in the My Publications file. I have three .doc files. One for kindle content (the blue book), one marked HTML a document with a green dot in the center (716 kb), and finally one marked OPF, but no myfile.prc.
    Would you be kind enough to shed some light on this?
    Thanks, Spence.

  9. Oh my! That IS a problem, Spence! I've not seen anything like it, before, but I'll try to help.

    Let's start with figuring out what version of Word you have.

    You ARE talking about Microsoft Word, right?

    You said:

    "but I found the proper files on the tool bar and right side drop-down"

    Can you trace that back to its menu name that appears on the main menu and give me the actual steps you took?


  10. Yike! I dug out the software and it’s Office 2003 XP Pro.

    On the toolbar across the top is a button for formatting and then a drop-down that now reads: Normal. Next to it is the font and then another with the size. Over on the right hand side is drop-down that reads “Normal” under a drop-down that reads: Styles and Formatting. Format has its own button on the very top of the cross page tool bar (along with File, edit, view, etc). That’s where I found indents and spacing, line breaks and what is very similar to your *modify MS word styles*. It has the *General* and *Indents* etc. The panel on the right side has things like Heading 1, 2, 3, etc.

    Basically I found the boxes that are very similar to the ones you show on your site and did as you suggested. For example, though, when I put in 1 px in the first line box MS changed it to 0.01 with an inch mark after.

    Since the layout looks good in the previewer and a Mobireader I suspect that the file I should use is the HTML that mobi generated. I looked at it and it seems fine. Mobi didn’t find anything to warn about.

    Does any of this make sense? What have I got to lose by uploading the HTML.doc file? Could I change it to HTML.prc?

    I appreciate your help.

  11. Hi Spence,

    We are in good shape, then, if you have MS Word 2003.

    If your books looks good in the desktop Kindle Previewer, then it's probably ok.

    But I thought you were still having problems with the indents... is that so?

    No, don't try to just change the HTML to PRC.

    You have to let Mobipocket build your PRC file.

    You may have just missed a step. That is very easy to do.

    I suggest that you go all the way back to your Ms Word file and go through the steps again.

    Now that you have your Styles set up right, be sure to *apply* those styles to your text... that is select (highlight) the text, then choose Normal Style or Body Style or whatever Style you want your major text to be... then go back and apply Heading Styles and other styles as needed.

    I probably didn't make that point in my tutorial... and I can see how it might be easy to overlook.

    This time, don't even save your MS Word file as HTML.

    Just feed your Word file directly to Mobipocket, and let it make the HTML file.

    Then watch each step carefully... notice that you have to select Build from the menu, then click on the build button that then appears in the middle of the screen.

    Also, you have to do that first Build in order to build the HTML file that you will then add your Guide Items to.

    Then, after you've added the Cover Image, and your Guide Items, you have to Build again.

    THEN, you will have a PRC file in My Publications.

    That second Build is probably what you missed.

    It really does sound clumsy and difficult typed out like that...

    That is the reason I put it in baby bird steps in the tutorials.

    I type it out here for you -- not for you to follow -- you should follow the tutorial, but just to call your attention to the fact that a lot is going on, and you have to be careful to get each step right.

    Good luck... and let me know how it goes.


  12. Well, CJ, I must be a dunce. I went back and rebuilt the file, sent it to mobi. There were no errors. I added the cover and guides to the html and rebuilt--but no prc file.

    I must say I'm at a complete loss. BTW it looks very nice on the kindle preview and mobi reader. I think I've had it for today.

  13. An update CJ. First, thanks again for your help. I ran the build and rebuild a couple of times trying something else. I notice that even through I have no .prc folder in my publications that mobicreator has a note that says "Your ebook is ready. What do you want to do with it." The only thing I can think of is the html IS the prc now but the extension doen't show. Any idea?
    Thanks Spence

  14. Hi Spencer,

    I was about to ask you what is the name of the file that you are able to view with Kindle Previewer... and what are the names of the files in your My Publications folder?

    I know it is possible to turn off extensions ... such as *.txt, *.doc, and maybe *.prc...

    Is it possible that is what is happening here?

  15. Hey CJ. The files are a .jpg, a .doc, an HTML document and Kindle Content (the blue book).
    I just put up the HTML document on Kindle and it looked good in the preview. In a day or so we'll have an idea what's happening. If it looks crappy I can take it down again.

    I hope this works because I have four other books to get up. At seventy there's not a lot of time to waste! :)

    Thanks again for your blog and your help!



    It has an extension of prc on my setup.

    I'll be sure to remember that in the future... if someone else has the same problem.

    Are you publishing "backlists" or are these being published for the first time?

    Now... don't forget... it's easy to fix if you do want to take your book down and upload a better copy.

    I'm so glad you figured it out!

    Happy Kindling,

    CJ, at CJ's Easy as Pie

  17. Hey CJ. These are first time published. I'm hoping to start a small company to publish other people as this is the future.

    I put up the HTML and we'll see how it looks. I can take it down. BTW, the Blue Book appears BEFORE you add the guides so that also added to the mystery as I thought the prc would only show up after the second build.

    Thanks again for all of your great help and you are mentioned with graditude on my title page.

  18. Thanks, Spencer!

    Are you ready to share the name of your book?

    You say you hope to start a small company to publish the work of others...

    Let me share a dream of mine... that is to encourage older folks to publish... not so much their life stories... but their crafts and SKILLS.

    Long ago, master craftsmen would pass along their skills... such as crafting hand-made boots, for example... to their young helpers, but that's not done so much today.

    I know there is a wealth of knowledge in the heads of so many retired people who -- without self-publishing -- will never get a chance to pass it along...

  19. CJ. The book is titled PAPER CUTS, An Aaron Hanover Mystery, and will hopefully be up soon.

    I like your idea of sharing older peoples' skills and think it would be interesting if they also shared stories about those same experiences.

    Traditional publishing is soon to be gone, along with the bean counters who have all but ruined them and the so-called literary agents who tend their gates and keep so many good and decent writers at bay.

    The big books stores ran their smaller cousins out of business and now they are slated for the scrap heap.

    We live in interesting times. Thanks again.

  20. CJ. The book is live and looks very nice. I'm too tired to read the whole thing tonight. I think I'm very pleased.

  21. CJ,
    I am delighted to find your site, as I am going deep in the Kindle publishing world and am facing all the mystery of making the books look right. I'm commenting here to touch base about your dream of encouraging older folks to publish. I've been fostering the same idea and wrote some about it in my book, "Little Shifts." I also created a user group locally to help people into modern communication. Most of my efforts are backed by my deep desire to transfer, archive and deliver all the senior knowledge that we are at risk of losing. I think we have an amazing opportunity now with self publishing to push that dream down the tracks. I'd love to connect more about it and share ideas. Please do contact me at suzannastinnett at gmail. I don't see a way to contact you through the site here other than comments.
    Thanks again for this tremendous resource you have created. I run #Kindlechat on Twitter and will definitely pass this on.
    Brainmaker on Twitter

  22. Hi Suzanna,

    I did answer your email... perhaps a spam filter snatched it up.

    Yes, I would like to talk with you further about the "preserving senior knowledge" project.

    I did have a Contact Us page, but must have lost it in the recent upgrade.

    I'll upload another soon...

    In the meantime, my contact info is below:

    Happy Kindling,

    CJ, at CJ's Easy as Pie Kindle Tutorials

  23. Hi CJ,

    Thank you for all your wonderful tutorials here! The Mobipocket Creator instructions above went off without a hitch, but when I opened both files it created -- the Mobipocket (OPF) file and the one it created for Kindle -- all my blank line spaces were gone. A very bad thing. What could I have done wrong? (The Mobipocket conversion also threw some of the other spacing off in the text as well, but only in a few spots.) Everything looked fine in Word, the TOC was in place, as well as the bookmarks. Any ideas? It also bolded my chapter titles without asking, and that's not what I want either. So I'm stumped. (Btw, the original file was a Word 2003 file, with a couple of small jpg images inserted into the text, and I got rid of all the page breaks and had inserted section breaks instead.)

    Thanks for your help.

  24. Michael,

    I don't know what's wrong, but let's see if we can figure it out...

    First check to be sure you have the "Professional" version of Mobipocket... not the "Home" version.

    Next... please delete those section breaks and replace them with page breaks.

    The "special code" for "section break" is ^b (that's a caret b), delete them and replace with manual page breaks (CTRL-ENTER).

    I've seen section breaks cause mysterious problems in the past... and they serve no useful purpose in a Kindle file, so let's get them out of the way first.

    Try that, then be sure your MS Word file is clean and go through the Mobipocket procedure again.

    Let me know what happens, ok?

  25. Hi CJ,

    Thanks for your response and your help. Yes, I have the Publisher version (vers. 4.2 build 41), and I cleaned up my files very carefully. I followed all the steps. I replaced all the section breaks with page breaks, etc. Sadly, it's still not working, or at least it is not recognizing empty lines with no characters in them (even if spaces are added to the lines).

    What's really odd is that apparently it is not just that one Word file that Mobipocket Creator is doing this to. It is every Word file on my system -- old, new, you name it. I just now created a brand new Word file, typed in some text, added some line spaces in between, and Mobipocket Creator in its conversion did not recognize the line spaces. When I view the "built" file in Mobipocket Reader or in my "Kindle for PC" reader, the result is the same. The empty line spacings are ignored and thrown out. (As I mentioned before, I'm using Word 2003.)

    Any ideas?


  26. Michael,

    I just noticed something I hadn't seen before...

    Are you trying to put in "empty line spacings" by adding blank paragraphs?

    If so that is the problem...
    as they will get ignored.

    Add extra space between paragraphs by modifying your MS Word styles to have xx number of pixels (as much space as you want) before or after the paragraph.

    There are two recent articles that describe the whole process... one about how to modify the Normal Style and one about how to modify the Body Style.

    Hoping this solves the problem!

  27. Hi CJ,

    Thanks for responding. Yes, I noticed what you mentioned while I was pouring over everything again late last night (about the lines having no 0 pt before and after – though this is the way all files are created in Word), and so I set the blank lines with a 6 pt before and after in the Spacing section of the paragraph window. That seemed to work. Then, I was able to use the “Guide” section in Mobipocket Creator to point Kindle, etc., to the toc and start bookmarks I had inserted. So I think everything is ok, although in the Preview Book window at Amazon, the bookmarks to the TOC and the Start page still didn't work. But I'm guessing (hoping) that's just a failure in their system, yes? Either way, boy do I thank you so much for your help and for this web site. I could never have navigated all this without you. As Wayne of Wayne's World used to say when bowing down before such an august presence as yourself, "I'm not worthy!" :-)

  28. haha... at your Wayne's World comment.

    Yes, you are correct, that's the default setting in Word... no space between paragraphs... but we are supposed to change it to suit whatever job we are doing at the moment.

    In the Olden Days... when we would get a beautiful big manual with MS Word, it told us that in the manual.

    As to your Guide Items not working in "preview"... Some previews work and others don't, so I'd be cautious.

    They should work in Kindle For PC.

    If your's don't work, just go through the steps again... it sounds like you went through all the steps, but it's hard to get them right... you may have made a typo or something that simple.

  29. Wanted to post here about using your guide. I'm about as computer dumb as one can get, but this went through for me without a hitch. I followed other directions for formatting my ms, then did exactly as you said in your guide. No problem at all. I may do some things differently in formatting on the next book, but I'm so happy this one went through. Thanks so much. Can't wait for it to show up on my page at Amazon. Any idea how long that takes?
    Oh, I linked this page to my blog because I've been writing about my quest to get my backlist of books epubbed.

  30. Thanks so much, Velda!

    The time it takes for a book to show up in Amazon's catalog really does seem to be directly related to how busy they are at Amazon... but usually it will appear in two or three days.

    A strange thing is, often a book will appear in Amazon's catalog before it becomes "Live" on the author's Bookshelf... so you might want to search for it there.

    I've read comments that it will not be available for sale until it actually goes Live on your Bookshelf, but I am not certain that is true.

    Another thing to watch for... as soon as a book is published, the author may see an error that makes them panic...

    If that should happen to you, (it happens to most at one time or another) don't panic... just fix your book and upload it again... you don't have to do anything special.

    Thanks again, and please post a link to that blog of yours!


  31. I'm in the process of working on my first eBook and your guide here should prove more helpful than the guidance given on the Kindle Direct Publishing website. It will be awhile yet before I am ready to format my book, but I'm glad I found your site.

  32. You also need to check the Book Settings and Metadata.

    If you want people using Palm OS to be able to read your book, click Advanced Settings under Book Settings. That's for the Palm OS name, which in this field has the limitations of Palm OS 4 and earlier. 32 characters max and no spaces. Use underscores for spaces and in Mobipocket for Palm the titles will have spaces.

    Palm OS 5 supports longer file names and spaces in file names. I've no idea why that Palm name field limited to the older limitations. Mobipocket reader isn't available in a version for Palm OS 4 or earlier!

  33. a scemo! e la table of contents?

  34. CJ,
    I followed all the instructions. I upload everything and I see my book. What I don't see is the title of the book, etc. superimposed over my photo when I go to Mobi reader. Should I? In Mobi Reader, the first page is just the photo, no text. Then it goes to the title page and the rest of the book. Am I doing something wrong?

  35. Joe,

    I don't know how you prepared your cover... but what you need to do is "paste" the text onto the photo... so it just becomes part of the photo... it couldn't be uploaded without the text.

    MS Paint, the "free" program that comes with Windows does a pretty good job.

  36. Hi CJ! Your tutorial has been extremely helpful! Thank you! I am having trouble with a photo, however. I know the html code to insert a photo, but when Mobi converts to a Kindle file, will the photo stay? So far, my photo isn't showing up. Thank you for your patience and help! :)

  37. Thanks for taking the time to help all these people. Wish I could get mine working: seems totally messed up with page breaks and indents. I can make a perfect looking pdf but once I open the converted file in Kindle it's a disaster. I did one right last year and I've two I want to do now but I can't figure it out. Wish I could remember what I did! :-)

  38. Hi Typer,

    I'd suggest you just copy your file to a new test file, so you aren't afraid you'll mess it up...

    Then, without trying to remember what you did right before, just start by clicking on the photo of the "Birds on a Tight-Rope", and go through all the steps to clean up your file.

    That's probably what's needed.. just clean out the extra page breaks and paragraph breaks... following the steps right there in the tutorials.

    Just be patient and go through step by step... it's easy as pie, I promise.


  39. Ha! I wish that were the case, but not so for me, for some reason. I tried all that and was still getting messed up indents and line breaks. I even went right back to a brand spanking new blank MS Word document, wrote three lines, "built it" using Mobipocket, and it still looked gash. Hair-tearing out time. But then...

    I figured it out. I found the solution. It WAS all to do with paragraph breaks - but not extra ones: I needed to replace a lot of them with soft returns (SHIFT+ENTER). For this, your tutorial was very helpful. I learned to use CTRL+SHIFT+8 to see the formatting. I used ^p and ^l to search and replace paragraphs with soft returns. And within a pretty quick period of time I got it all looking hunky-dory and working fine on Kindle.

    Also, I found that Amazon's own online conversion tool - direct from the doc file - was more accurate than Mobipocket.

    In a nutshell: soft returns save the day! :-)

  40. Thanks, Typer.

    I agree... Amazon's online tool is now the way to go.

    I'm re-writing many of my tutorials to reflect Amazon's new software... and will no longer recommend Mobipocket Creator as I did in this article.

    I'm at this moment writing an article about the history of Mobipocket and what it meant to Amazon... and while it is now outdated, it still has some virtues that may be useful on occasion.

    It will take me a few days to get everything straightened out... until then, you might notice some unfinished articles and titles... but I will get it all smoothed out as soon as I can.

    Thanks again!

  41. Thanks for the info exactly what I needed to help mobipocket make sense. A nice simple tutorial that brought me a lot closer to finally getting my e book complete and published. My one remaining question is does the mobipocket work with .pdf files? They always seem to change the format somehow when I download it on .pdf? Any info helps
    The Healthy Arizonan

    1. The short answer is that Mobipocket Creator will convert a PDF file better than anything else I’ve ever tried.

      But that still might not be good enough.

      Mobipocket is now “old “ as Amazon has improved the Kindle software so much.

      I’m starting a series right now to show how easy it is to create a Kindle file directly from MS Word.

      Check back tomorrow… it might be all you need.