Kindle file formats

This page has two sections. One is about the formats of files you can put on your Kindle. The second is about the “side files” that Amazon may put on your Kindle when you order an e-book.

E-book (e-doc) formats:

Files your Kindle should be able to read (you just put them in the documents folder):


Files your Kindle can read if they were downloaded for this specific Kindle (such as those you get from the Kindle store)


Files your Kindle can read if they do not have code (Digital Rights Management, other security) that prevents it:

.pdf (not the Kindle 1)

Files that can be converted by Amazon (with varying degrees of success) for free for your Kindle

.htm, .html

In addition, you can use “third party software” (not from Amazon…Calibre is a popular one) to convert other formats.

Last I checked, Calibre converted the following to mobi (which the Kindle can read):


Audio formats:

MP3, AAX, Audible format 4

Picture formats:



Amazon Side Files

When you get a Kindle e-book from Amazon, that file has been prepared largely by the publisher (although it may have been formatted as a Kindle book by Amazon for the publisher).

Any additional information lives in “side files” which interact with the e-book files. For example, when you add a bookmark, that information isn’t integrated into the publisher’s e-book file, but is stored in another, related file. This is a partial list of those files and their purposes:

AZW = The most common of the two formats from the Kindle store…that’s the book (I think it’s probably short for Amazon Whispernet)

AZW1 or TPZ = A Topaz format book (that’s the other book file type used…it will say AZW1 when delivered wirelessly, TPZ if you downloaded it with your computer first

MBP = The “associated information” file for anything except a Topaz book (notes, highlights, and so on). MBP is MobiPocket, which Amazon now owns

TAN = The associated information file for a Topaz book (presumably, “Topaz Annotation”)

PHL = Popular Highlights

APNX = The page numbers (presumably, Amazon Page Numbers X)

EA = That’s the “Before you go” part at the end of the book (maybe End Addition or End Addendum…I’ve heard people suggest “End Advertisement”, but I’d doubt that 🙂 )

AZW2 = Active content (games and apps)

This page by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog, with the side file listing originally appearing in the Amazon Kindle community.


One Response to “Kindle file formats”

  1. Decade 1: the first ten years of the Kindle | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Topaz explanatory post […]

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