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Archive (general & ongoing) > How to Get Kindle Books from Smashwords (instructions)

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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Yoffa (webbiegrrlwriter) | 11 comments (((previously posted in "Introductions" - moved at the request of Jane PS)))

♥ Katie~J (Mama~Owl) wrote: "Hi Everyone.
I'm Katie, and today is Christmas Day. My Wonderful Husband and Daughters have given me a much longed for gift. I am now the proud new owner of a Paper White Kindle, with an Amazon Gift Card to buy some New Ebooks.
I have been browsing the group for a week or two now and thought I would stop being rude, take the plunge and join in. I like to read a bit of a mix (depending on my Mood), with Romance being my first love, although I do have a serious weakness for an Alpha Male. I hope to gain some recommendations and new friendships (I don't know anyone that uses Goodreads!!)

Welcome to the world of Digital Publishing Katie~J. Even though you have a Kindle (congratulations!) there's a place you should know about where you can download a whole bunch of books for your new eReader. It's called Smashwords and they're a distributor not an eTailer like Amazon but like many distributors, they do sell direct to readers, too.

Using your new Kindle with Smashwords is easy and gives you access to a whole lot of books that are NOT on the Kindle store. About 100,000 of them, I think. Because you are but one of many readers who don't realize or know how to get Smashwords books (legally) onto their Kindle accounts, I thought I'd outline it for you here. I'm asked about this a lot and romance eBooks are still the #1 most popular eBooks around so....

1) Do this on a web browser, not on your Kindle - it'll be a lot easier, trust me! Go to You'll be asked to log into your Amazon account. Let's say you created a new account for your new Kindle and used Gmail to do it. Say "" is your new Amazon email address (for the sake of this discussion - you can use any email address to create an Amazon account).

2) Because you are an Amazon customer, you have now been given a "Send to Kindle" address. They don't tell you about this but Amazon made it for you. They formed it from your account name followed by the "" domain name.

So in our example, "" would be your "Send to Kindle" address. If yours doesn't work, check your login address (or these instructions from Amazon on how to find it but they make this more complicated sounding than it needs to be IMO)

3) Once logged into your Amazon account, use the menu links on the left side of the web page to go to "Personal Document Settings." In the middle of the page at the bottom is a section titled "Add a new approved email address" and you should add yourself (or any of your favorite authors or friends) to this list. CAUTION anyone who is on this list is being authorized to send books to your Kindle account. Don't add anyone you don't want to have sending you files directly onto your device. Some authors, sadly, do spam users who add them once. You can also DELETE names from this list once you've received the one file you wanted to get and then that person can no longer send documents to your account :)

For purposes of this example, let's say you usually use the email address "" :) so you would add that to this list. Now you can mail yourself files. The Amazon instructions really do make it complicated and Amazon has changed which file formats are authorized (more than once and without any notice) but MOBI is the original file format and Amazon still allows MOBI files to be mailed to your Kindle. Most stores, not Amazon, will sell MOBI files.

4) At, you'll need to create an account to download books (even the free ones) so let's say you create a Smashwords account using "" and login. You can view the entire Smashwords catalog on the web site and new books show up every day. You can filter out all of the erotica if you'd like but be careful. MANY of the romance novels are filtered out also because they contain "adult content" not for 13 and under. The filter is not very discriminating. You can view the catalog by category if you'd like, forex, clicking "Romance" on the left side list to see all the romance books. You can also filter using the links at the top of the page to see (forex) all the "free" books or "short" books or if you prefer "long" books :) I write long books :)

Once you find a great free eBook you want to read, just click "buy" or "download" and save the (MOBI) file to your local hard drive. Then using you can attach the MOBI file to a message (can be a blank message, won't matter, because Amazon will strip away all info but the MOBI file) and send it to ""

5) Start your new Kindle device (turn it off and then on again if it was already on because the booting up process matters) and click to "Synch now" then it will download your new file. The book should show up on your Home Screen. If it doesn't it might just be it hasn't arrived yet. Be patient.

Because the file has to go through the Amazon servers and they search/screen/examine and record every file that passes in or out of your account (they track and record statistics on what kinds of files you're using and they screen/prohibit the mailing of many "unauthorized" file types like AZW which is their own proprietary file format), it might take a few hours or a day to get through the Amazon servers and onto your Kindle. It definitely will take more than seconds, probably more than minutes and typically takes 1-3 hours but I've seen some take as much as a day and a half so be patient. It's Amazon holding things up in order to invade your privacy :-( but at least you can still get books outside the Kindle Store!

6) Once the book has been downloaded to your Kindle's Home Screen it will actually appear in your Kindle library and account. Even though it was free, Smashwords considers you a customer if you download a book so you bought it and you own it. Legally. You could read it on your Kindle or you could read it on a laptop with a Kindle app or even on your phone if you have a Kindle app on your phone. You can even (I think) send the file to your Cloud Reader and read it via the web browser Cloud system at Amazon.

If you check back on the web site at Amazon, your "Manage my Kindle" area will show the book in your "Personal Documents" You do NOT have to get involved in using the USB cable the way the Amazon instructions claim. I cannot even tell you how many people have issues with the stupid USB cable instructions. Don't bother. Just email the file to yourself and be done. It will be legally added to your account that way, too.

I have a holiday offer for you (and everyone else on this thread) that will also give you an actual file to use to test out getting a Smashwords book onto your new Kindle device. I just ran a giveaway and have a coupon code generated for my Romantic Comedy / Inspirational Dicky's Story (coupon expires January 2, 2013 so do this soon!)

After you log into your Smashwords account, go to the Dicky's Story book page and click to "buy" the book (you can use any of the "buy" links because buying once at Smashwords, gets you access to ALL formats, forever and ever, on any or all of your devices at any time). At checkout, enter the coupon code "RL82G" into the little box and click "Update" to change the price from $5.99 to $0.00 (free) like magic :) You'll then be directed to a link where you can download the file and proceed as noted above to email it to yourself. Remember the coupon expires at midnight (Pacific Time) on New Year's Day when the date clicks over to January 2, 2013.

I should note you do not "have to" use the coupon code and if you pay for the book, I'll donate 10% of the proceeds to a group called Covenant House which works across the USA to get trafficked children (stolen into sexual slavery right here in the US!) off the streets where they are starving, freezing and dying while suffering the loneliness of a homeless child. I do this as my commitment to the RABMAD (Read a Book, Make a Difference) program started by a fellow Indie Author and because human trafficking is a topic near and dear to my heart. It appears in all of my books across all of my genres.

If you get the book for free and then decide later, after you read it, that you'd like to buy it to support my cause to ACT (Abolish Child Trafficking), you can GIFT a copy to a friend. Just click the link in the right side column on the book page next to the little gift icon and enter the email address of the person to whom you'd like to give the book. Smashwords will send an email message to the address you provided and tell them they got a gift, providing the link and everything. I earn a lot more of the cover price from Smashwords than I do from Amazon (about a 20% difference) but Amazon also has a gifting process and Dicky's Story is also sold at the Kindle Store but Amazon won't allow me to give it away free :-(


message 2: by puppitypup (new)

puppitypup Thanks Sarah, that was really helpful. I just downloaded your book, thank you! This is most likely a dumb question - after the book shows up on my kindle app, can I delete it from my harddrive? I'm just about out of space. Thanks :) Julie

message 3: by Jolene (new)

Jolene | 1 comments This was so helpful. I downloaded my fist book from Smashwords today (Fallen too Far, because I just can't wait until tomorrow for Amazon) and I had no idea how to get this onto my readers. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I could actually read these instructions and understand what I was doing!

message 4: by Gianna (new)

Gianna | 289 comments Yes, Amazon likes to make things very difficult. Another way to do it, without the lagging from Amazon, is save the book to your hard drive. Then connect your kindle to your computer and transfer directly without having anything to do with Amazon. Another fast way is if you have the Kindle for PC app on your computer. It takes only minutes (the longest I experienced was 10 but that was for about 10+ books being sent at once).

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