More often than not, I find myself wanting to add my own content to things instead of going directly through digital stores like Amazon and iTunes.

The Kindle Fire HD is lacking in the instruction manual department (and no doubt geared towards people just purchasing books using the Kindle store), but adding “books” to your Kindle is easy. I say books in quotes because the Amazon Kindle Fire separates “books” from “documents” for whatever reason, even though they may be one or the other, semantically. Even though you may have multiple books in varying file formats, Kindle Fire will only place .AZW files under the actual books section of your Kindle.

All of your PDF, RTF, ePub, Mobi, etc will be under the “Docs” section instead of “Books.” While minor, I found this annoying. Apple iBooks will place them all on my bookshelf together – with cover art no less.

The good news is that once you open a book on your device, it usually treats them the same. You have full control over visuals, bookmarks, navigation, and notes. PDF documents are an exception to this, as is the nature of a PDF. PDFs do not have these features (I miss black with white text), but Amazon does include a way to convert PDF to AZW format, which is a roll of the dice in my experience.

How to add books to Kindle Fire HD

There are five ways of transferring books to your device. They can be hit or miss, depending on format. The popular ePub format and the obscure LIT format are out of luck via a direct transfer. However, ePub can be easily converted (see down below).

Disclaimer- I use PC for these tests and cannot confirm how Mac treats it. I imagine it is similar.

Method 1: Drag and Drop AZW Books

Drag and Drop Kindle Fire HD Books

The most direct way to transfer a book. Simply plug your Kindle Fire into your computer and drag your files into your books section. Of course, this method (for whatever reason) only works with Amazon format files. I had some of these on my PC and I simply dropped them into Computer\Kindle\Internal storage\Books (in Windows).

If you try to drop the other file formats into Documents or Books, nothing happens.

Method 2: Send to Kindle with Email

Send to Kindle Fire HD email

Solid Tip: You can send up to 25 files at a time to your device!

This is what most people will end up doing with their current books. You can send the below formats to your kindle device at your custom Kindle email address:

This cool feature is known as the
Kindle Personal Document Service.”

  • Amazon (.azw)
  • Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf) *
  • Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx)
  • Rich Text Format (.rtf)
  • HTML (.htm, .html)
  • Text (.txt) documents
  • Archives(zip , x-zip) and compressed archive
  • Mobi book
  • 1. Add your email address as an approved sender on your Amazon account.
    • Your Account > Manage your Kindle > Personal Document Settings > Approved Personal Document Email List
  • 2. Send an email with the document attachment to your email address
  • 3. If document is PDF, put “convert” as subject line and Amazon will attempt to make it an AZW doc (experimental).

* Solid Tip: PDF documents don’t have the features of other document types on Kindle (font, color, navigation, bookmarks, notes). Try to the use the “convert” option above to get those features when you mail the document. It is “experimental” and might show the document as garbage text, but worked for most of my PDF tests.

Amazon help for sending to Kindle via email.

Method 3. Send to Kindle Desktop Program

Send to Kindle Fire HD desktop app

This little jewel, an official desktop app for BOTH PC and Mac, will automatically convert files to the right format and send them to your device using either your local Wi-Fi connection or Whispernet. It supports the following formats:

  • Amazon (.azw)
  • Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf) *
  • Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx)
  • Rich Text Format (.rtf)
  • HTML (.htm, .html)
  • Text (.txt) documents
  • Mobi book

Simply right-click (open a context menu) the file and you will see your “Send to Kindle” menu option.

Amazon help for the Send to Kindle desktop application.

Method 4. Send to Kindle with Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome

Send to Kindle Fire HD via browser

We are talking about books here, but sometimes you want to send web documents (news articles, blog posts, etc) to your device for reading later. Amazon has also provided a couple of helpful browser extensions to send to Kindle. It works similar to the desktop app, but lets you send web documents right to your device.

It provides a nifty preview of your selected content before you send.

Amazon help for the Send to Kindle – Google Chrome extension.

Amazon help for the Send to Kindle – Mozilla Firefox extension.

Method 5. Send to Kindle with Android devices

Send to Kindle Fire HD with Android device

Other Android devices – tablets and smartphones – can send to your Kindle device with their built-in share features.

Using the “Kindle for Android” app, send documents to your Kindle device using the share button found in many popular Android apps on your smartphone or tablet. You’ll be able to read them anytime, everywhere on Kindle devices and Kindle free reading apps.

Popular Android apps that support sharing with Send to Kindle for Android include:

  • Adobe Reader – Send PDF documents to your Kindle from this PDF viewing app.
  • Documents To Go – Send Microsoft Word documents from this document editing app.
  • ES File Explorer – Send images and documents to Kindle from this file manager app.

Supported File Types:

  • Microsoft Word (.DOC, .DOCX)
  • PDF (.PDF)
  • Images (.JPG, .JPEG, .GIF, .PNG, .BMP)
  • Kindle Format (.MOBI, .AZW)

Amazon help for the Send to Kindle – Android.

What about my ePub books?!

Don’t worry! There are multiple options for reading your ePub books (or other less, popular formats).

Amazon’s app store has a few ePub reading apps, but Amazon hides most of them from showing up on Kindle Fire, saying they aren’t compatible. However, they work fine when “sideloaded.” Sideloading means downloading and adding an app on your own, outside of the app store, which is beyond the scope of this article. For the technically-minded user, that is a fourth option for ePub and probably recommended.

ePub option #1 Download Calibre. Calibre is a free tool that lets you manage and convert all types of Ebooks. Lots of bells and whistles. You can make your ePub files into Kindle versions.

ePub option A quick, free, online converter. No bells or whistles, but fast and simple. You can make your ePub files into Kindle versions here also.

ePub option #3 – Amazon now *officially* supports the Overdrive Media Console app, for free, in it’s app store. This app will allow you to download ePub books using an Adobe ID from libraries everywhere.

I won’t touch on DRM (digital rights management) in this article, but if you have specific questions about trying to get your DRM-controlled content onto your device, feel free to ask in the comments.