Sending a compiled book to a Kindle to edit

In the past I’ve been able to send a compiled book to my Kindle so that I can review and annotate it, and then download all of my notes so I can then go back and edit my manuscript. Amazon seems to have made some changes that make this workflow impossible. I’m wondering if anyone else does this and has figured this out.

Problem 1: KindleGen seems to have been replaced by Kindle Previewer, which I think means I can only create EPUB files, not MOBI files. The EPUB files seem to convert all quotes to a weird string.

Problem 2: I used to use SendToKindle to get the file onto my Kindle, but it doesn’t seem to accept EPUB files now (nor MOBI files either, I don’t think.)

Problem 3: It seems that I can no longer export my notes to a file, so instead of having a split screen of my notes and my manuscript on my computer, I have to page through the book on my kindle and look for highlights while I edit.

This was always a complicated process and maybe I’m misremembering the steps or doing something wrong. It sure was nice to be able to read a manuscript on my Kindle and edit in bed without a giant stack of pages and a red pen, though. Has anyone else figured out this process or have any workarounds to suggest?

Re problem #1, you are correct. Amazon no longer supports Kindlegen. Kindle Previewer is now their supported tool.

Here is their announcement:

Re a workaround for editing in bed: I don’t know if this will help you, but on my Mac I compile to ePub, then airdrop the ePub into Apple Books on my iPad.

This allows me to review the ePub for formatting and content within Apple Books, taking screen shots of the necessary pages as I go for later editing within Scrivener on my Mac. Or, with Scrivener for iOS on my iPad, I can jump from Apple Books straight to Scrivener and make the changes right away.

Once complete, I load my ePub into Kindle Previewer on my Mac for a final check. I like Kindle Previewer because I can emulate different Kindle devices without having to own the devices.

Last time I did this, iirc, I created the EPUB file, then change the file ending to PNG, then sent that using the SendToKindle desktop app and it opened up in Kindle as an ebook.

You can always use the option to set up an email account for your Kindle – you can then send .mobi files to it by sending them to that email. You get a confirmation email in your main Amazon account, you click the confirmation link, and then the .mobi (or .pdf or other file) is seamlessly sent to your Kindle.

I do this all the time with third-party .mobi files I download from Patreon creators.

Go to your Amazon account, Manage Content and Devices, Devices. It should then show you the device name and email address (if associated) and allow you to edit them.

Thank you all very much for your feedback. I finally had time to sit down and play with this for a while. I’m updating what I ended up doing in case anyone has this question in the future. (And quite possibly for myself as well, since I’m sure to forget this by the next time I want to do it. :smiley: )

I was unable to compile a MOBI file without KindleGen. KindlePreviewer can only accommodate EPUB files, but the EPUB files it was creating turned all ’ and " characters to strange strings, possibly Unicode. Also, Kindle Previewer doesn’t seem to replace KindleGen in the Scrivener compilation process. I just get a “file does not exist” error.

I don’t have an iPad; just a regular black and white Kindle (whatever they’re called.) So I had to figure out a solution that gave me a text file.

I ended up compiling to Rich Text (.rtf) from within Scrivener and then emailing the resulting file to my Kindle using the device’s email address, as folks here suggested. That resulted in clean, readable, highlightable text on my Kindle.

And now I am off to bed to edit on my Kindle! Thanks again to those who helped me get there.

Okay, that’s odd. I hadn’t yet installed Kindle Previewer on my Mac, so I took the opportunity to make sure I could do so.

First, I opened Scrivener, opened a test project, opened the Compiler, and selected the .mobi compile target, which gave me the following screen:


As you can see, it told me I needed KindleGen on my Mac and would need to tell Scrivener where it was at. I clicked the helpful link, which opened my browser to Amazon, who told me that KindleGen is dead and long live Kindle Previewer. It gave me a helpful link to the Previewer page, so I followed that, scrolled down, and found the download options in a somewhat weird spot (seriously, Amazon, bad page design):


Once the .pkg file was downloaded, I opened it and walked through the normal installation process. I then closed my browser and went back to Scrivener. Now I clicked on the “Choose” button and it opened a windows to the Applications directory…and there’s no KindleGen, I couldn’t select Kindle Previewer, and the couple of sub-folders had nothing helpful. Now what?

I remembered a forum discussion with KB where he mentioned that a few updates back when KindleGen was pulled as a separate download (it’s still part of the Kindle Previewer bundle, and is updated to be 64-bit compatible and is currently maintained) he modified the Scrivener code to automatically detect that Previewer was installed and if so, use the bundled version of KindleGen. So, I quit Scrivener, gave it a few seconds, then re-opened it. Once my project was back open, I opened the Compiler…and now saw this:


This is roughly similar to the process on the Windows side, but there Scrivener isn’t quite nice enough to auto-detect Previewer – so this was a nice touch. At any rate, I can now proceed with compiling directly to a MOBI target from Scrivener.

Hope this helps you and others!

On this:

Since Scrivener 3.1.5 was released, Amazon has completely done away with KindleGen as a separate install - instead, KindleGen is built into Kindle Previewer. 3.1.5 recognises that, though - as long as you have Kindle Previewer installed in the Applications folder, Scrivener will be able to create .mobi files (you may need to exit Compile and open it again, or even close and reopen the project, for it to be recognised after it’s installed).

As of Scrivener 3.2, Scrivener will point you to Kindle Previewer instead.

That said, you should no longer create .mobi files for distribution - these days, Amazon wants .epub files submitted when you come to publish your ebook. And about time that Amazon adopted the industry standard, too.

Unfortunately, you still need to use create a dedicated Kindle file if you want to open the ebook on your Kindle for proof-reading. Hopefully Amazon will at some point switch over to using the epub file format directly on Kindles too. In the meantime, you have two ways of doing this:

  1. As above, install Kindle Previewer and export a .mobi file from Scrivener.

  2. Export an .epub file from Scrivener and open it in Kindle Previewer. Then, in Kindle Previewer, go to File > Export and export as a .mobi file.

(Given the way .mobi and KindleGen are being deprecated in favour of .epub, we will no doubt drop .mobi support at some point in the future.)

All the best,

DevinGanger, thank you for writing that process up so clearly. Those were the steps I had already taken. I hadn’t restarted Scrivener, so I tried that. Natch, it’s still not working.

However, then I read Keith’s announcement and realized I was still running Scrivener 3.0. I upgraded to 3.2 and voila, problem solved. Flawless .mobi file sideloaded to my Kindle.

Thank you Scrivener for creating an update to resolve this situation, and thank you Keith for telling me about it.


Not sure what the issue is for some. I have always been able to compile to .mobi from Scrivener with KP installed. It does give a warning that books should now be submitted in ePub though for the time being at least you can ignore that.

Aha, yes, that would do it. Scrivener didn’t know how to look for Previewer until 3.1.3, according to the release notes.