Kindle for Mac to Scrivener

This is probably something I should know is either impossible or obvious but what the heck…

  1. I’m doing a big project that’s involved buying/downloading a bunch of ebooks (Kindle) for research.

  2. Would love to get those books onto desktop to get into Scrivener file. So when I do a search I can do everything at once instead of going back to Kindle to search each book that I’ve downloaded.

  3. I know Amazon does everything they can to prevent illegal copying. And they give instructions for using Kindle for Mac to get the book onto your Kindle (which I don’t have and don’t want…this is for research not reading). But is there no way to get it on a PDF so I can put it into my Scrivener file? I mean I paid for the thing…what am I missing here?


Ah, the joys of DRM. You paid Amazon for a license to read the book, not for the right to copy it.

What can be done really depends on the book. With technical books, at least, you can often get a PDF version through the publisher’s web site, though it may or may not be cost-competitive with the Kindle version. The Kindle software might allow you to copy excerpts as text, which you can then paste wherever you want. There is also software that claims to be able to break Kindle’s DRM, although of course such tools carry risks of their own.

But no, you aren’t missing anything. There is no obvious way to extract a PDF from a Kindle ebook.


There is a slight hope in that not all books sold through Amazon are what we may better think of as licence to read material on a Kindle. Many publishers and authors opt to sell their books without restrictions, and I think these can be converted in a tool like Calibre to many different formats, like RTF for Scrivener, or PDF if you want a read-only copy.

Great. Thanks. Just downloaded Calibre and gave it a quick try…it did it…to PDF…if I read the manual I could probably get it to look better, but I really want it just so when I search in Scrivener I can see whether the search word is in a book(s). Gonna save me a lot of time.