Amazon has very quietly announced that Kindle devices will finally support the EPUB
format starting in late 2022 and expanding where owners can grab ebooks.
However, there is a catch. Kindles won’t have native EPUB support. You will still need to send the file through your Send to Kindle email address to convert the ebook from EPUB to a format that the device can read. Although, Amazon didn’t say what this format will be called.
On top of that, Amazon is removing support for .MOBI and .AZW formats from Send to Kindle.
The reason is that these are old formats that can’t support the latest Kindle features or any future ones. But if you already have MOBI files on your Kindle, don’t worry about a thing as they will still work. You just can’t get any new ones once the update rolls out.
Playing catch up
This format shuffle will put Kindle on the same level as other e-readers. The EPUB format launched back in 2007 and was quickly picked up by e-reader companies like Kobo, Sony, and Barnes & Noble.
Prior to this, it was certainly possible to read EPUB files on the Kindle, but the process was a little convoluted. What you had to do was to download a third-party ebook converter like Calibre or Convertio. From there, you upload the ebook and convert it into a MOBI file. From there, you send it to your Send to Kindle email address and upload it to the Kindle device. It wasn’t the most arduous task, but now that process will be less cumbersome.
While a step in the right direction for readers, it’s unknown just how far Amazon is willing to go to support EPUB files. You can only buy Kindle formatted ebooks on Amazon’s store whereas the competitors offer a greater deal of flexibility.
An EPUB file worked just as well on a Sony reader or a Barnes & Noble reader. You weren’t beholden to a single store or resource. Kindle owners, on the other hand, were essentially locked out from grabbing a free book from Google or directly from a public library. Kind owners can, of course, check out books from a library that works with a third-party app like Libby, which connected them to, naturally, the Amazon store where they gain temporary access to the Kindle-format ebook,
Don’t get too excited about the simple EPUB format access, since the rollout doesn’t arrive until later this year. If you’re interested in an e-reader that supports EPUB files, there are several options like the Kobo Libra 2.