Compile for Kindle? Help!

I’m confused as to how to compile my MS for Kindle. Sorry, I read the instructions in the manual, but you lost me! :cry:

First off, can I make a copy of my MS to put in my Kindle for just me to read, not to “publish”? I have finished my first draft revisions, and although I have the file on my Kindle as a PDF, the font is very small and it would be nice if I could make notes on things as I go along, which I could do if it was in the proper format.

Assuming I can do the above…I’m just not sure of how to do this. I have downloaded KindleGen and KindlePreview, have put the KindleGen in my Applications folder as suggested in the manual, but next it says “click the button to select the “kindlegen” executable from within that folder.”

Huh? I see the “kindlegen” item in the KindleGen folder, which brings up a “terminal” style window with a bunch of info on it (which I don’t understand).

Then the next step on the Scrivener manual says to “save the KindleGen log file with the Kindle file”. What’s the KindleGen log file?

At this point I’m hopelessly muddled. Obviously I’m missing some basic understanding of how this is supposed to work, sorry if these are stupid questions but I’m out of my depth here.

Also, when I go to compile my MS in Scrivener and select Compile for Kindle eBook, the window indicates that KindleGen is not installed, in which case, what is it that I put in my Applications folder?

Help needed in plain English for a non-geek type person…please!!!

Absolutely, the Kindle is just an electronic device that reads book files off of its internal storage. Thus, all you have to do is get your book into its storage. This is really easy to do once you know the trick: plug the Kindle into your computer using the provided USB cable, and after a few moments it will pop up as a disk on your computer. Now compile the .mobi into the appropriate folder (depends on the Kindle, the only confusing one is the Fire series which distinguishes between “documents” and “books”. Use the former for your personal library) on that disk, eject it, unplug it, and it should pop up in the library once you unplug. You can also compile elsewhere and then drag and drop the .mobi file into the Kindle disk.

If all of that is too much messing about with the OS, you could try Calibre. It will let you manage your Kindle a bit without having to know which folders go where.

As noted, you only need to bother with that if you get errors while compiling. This section of the manual documents all of the compile panes item by item. Not everything this chapter discusses may be necessary, useful or applicable to your situation.

Did you click the button in the middle of the KindleGen pane to point Scrivener at your installed ‘kindlegen’ utility? It can’t know where it is without your help. :slight_smile:

Heh heh… :blush:

Okay, got it. Thanks so much for dumbing the process down…appreciate your assistance!! :smiley:

We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible. Unfortunately Amazon doesn’t let us bundle that little KindleGen utility directly in the software. The best we can do is have people download and install it themselves, and unfortunately Amazon have decided that all authors everywhere should be messing with “Terminal” utilities. :slight_smile: Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

I spent a lot of time earlier trying to figure this out. The message Scriverner provides is as actively unhelpful as it is possible to get, mentioning “installing” KindleGen (which is placed on the machine, not installed! - there is a significant difference.)

And all these referenced to choosing the KindleGen path… it would be significantly more achievable if the export options were actually displayed, instead of being hidden behind an innocuous expand button. Especially given that everything in that list is important to configure when publishing.

Rick, Amazon themselves refers to the process of “placing” KindleGen on your computer as installation. They have a detailed list of what should be done in their text file. It’s not our business to be instructing people on the precise steps required to install (or whatever) KindleGen. :slight_smile: That’s Amazon’s job.

Secondly, you’re in a Mac thread, where installation literally is just dropping an application onto your computer, and uninstalling is literally just deleting it—so your distinction is unfamiliar here. I do realise you are talking about the label in the Windows version, but like I say, we’re just using Amazon’s terminology, and if someone wants help installing from their page, they are going to need to search for the word ‘install’, not ‘place’.

What export buttons are you referring to? If you just mean the general compile option panes: yes we do have plans for making this more accessible. The simplified view will also become more useful, sporting common options that are relevant to the currently selected output format.

There is a much easier way to get your .mobi file to your Kindle… without digging out cables. :unamused:

go to and get to Manage Your Kindle. Look on the Devices tab/section. Find your Kindle (I have one plus multiple phones/tablets with the Kindle app) and click it.

you will see an email address there, like

Remember that email address, maybe put it in your contacts. If you have more than one Kindle or Kindle app, each has its own unique email address for receiving .mobi files.

Then each time you need a .mobi file from Scrivener on your Kinde…

Just email your .mobi file to the address as an attachment. Subject and body of the email make no difference.

In a few minutes, hit “sync” on your Kindle and your .mobi file/ebook will appear.


I agree, this works well. One note though: each kindle device has only so many authorized email addresses from which it will accept mailed files. This will usually be your amazon contact email. Sending from this address will work.

You can authorize other addresses when you manage the devices. So if you have more than one email address this helps out. I have a personal email for buying at amazon, and another email just as author, for instance. My kindle came pre-registered to my buying email, and I had to add my author email where I manage all my writing stuff.

  • asotir