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Using Amazon Kindle (MOBI or AZW3) Files (for Members of the MPHS)

The Military Postal History Society (MPHS) offers a number of documents in electronic formats. This web page describes how to view the Amazon Kindle (MOBI or AZW3) files published by the Society.

By the time you get to this page, you should have one or more ".mobi" or ".azw3" files on your computer, phone, or tablet, as a result of downloading the file, and (possibly) unpacking from the ZIP file wrapper. Note that the "AZW3" format is a newer type designed by Amazon for Kindle readers. For your needs, it can be treated in the same manner as the "MOBI" format. The names will be used interchangeably in this writeup.

The MOBI and AZW3 formats were designed by Amazon, in order to distribute electronic books. Books published in this format contain a continuous flow of text and images. Both the electronic reading devices, and software-based viewers of this format provide a wide variety of features to you, the reader.

First of all, MOBI and AZW3 files are designed to be read using the Kindle (tm) reading devices sold by Amazon. If you have such a device, there are specific instructions following that help you to load the document from the MPHS. If you do not have one of the Kindle reading devices, this is NO PROBLEM, because Amazon has provided free reading software and apps that work on a wide variety of computer, phones, and tablets. Check the headings below for instructions specific to the software readers.

Copy MOBI or AZW3 File to Kindle Device

Connect your Kindle device to your computer with the USB cable that came with the device. You computer should show the Kindle as an external disk drive. You will use your File Explorer (Windows) to copy files. On other computer systems, use the tool that copies files.

In the file explorer, you will see a directory on the Kindle device called "documents". Simply copy the MOBI or AZW3 file to that directory. When the copy is done, disconnect the Kindle device from your computer. The next time you start up your Kindle, you will see the MPHS document in your bookshelf.

Copy MOBI or AZW3 File to Computer, Tablet, or Phone with Kindle Reader Software

Amazon provides free software-based programs (apps) that let you read Kindle books. These programs and apps are available on a wide variety of computers, tablets, and phones. To use the MOBI or AZW3 file you downloaded from the MPHS website, you will need to copy that file into the working area set aside for the Kindle Reader on your machine. Each is a little different, unfortunately. We will try to describe all that we know about, and we solicit users with other system configurations to help provide more information for this webpage.

Copy MOBI or AZW3 File to Android Phone with Kindle Reader Software

Be sure you have installed the Kindle Reader App on your Android phone. You are going to find the Kindle directory using a file manager. Most Android phones come with an App for copying and moving files, we have had good experience with the free App called "ES File Explorer".

In your file manager, look for the file directory called:


You will copy the MOBI or AZW3 file into this directory. Next time you bring up the Kindle Reader App on your phone or tablet, the MPHS document should appear in the Bookshelf.

Note that you can read MOBI and AZW3 files using other Apps on Android phones and tablets, including : "Moon+ Reader", "FBReader", "Cool Reader", "Aldiko", "Mantano Free Reader", and others.

Copy MOBI or AZW3 File to Windows Computer

NOTE: this method will NOT work with the Windows 8 (and later) Kindle App! You must download and run the "Kindle for PC" Installer program on your Windows computer, in order to read 3rd-party books, such as the documents from MPHS. I repeat, the Kindle App in the "Windows Store" on Windows 8 and later, will not work with MPHS documents.

Once installed, the Kindle For PC Program will set up an area for book content. This area is unique to your username. For instance, assume that your username is "MYUSER" on your Windows machine. The MPHS MOBI or AZW3 files should be copied to

Users\MYUSER\My Documents\My Kindle Content

When the Kindle Reader Program is started up the next time, it should show the MPHS content on the Bookshelf.

Note that you can install a free product called "Kindle Previewer" on your Windows machine. This product is designed to allow authors to preview their books on a program that appears the same as an actual Kindle device. On the other hand, it works as a very acceptable Kindle book reader on Windows systems.

Another Kindle viewer available on Windows and other systems is embedded in a free document creator called Calibre. This document convert/creator comes installed with viewers for all popular electronic publication types, including a Kindle and EPUB viewer.

Copy MOBI or AZW3 File to Other Computer Systems

Note that a working area is set up by the Kindle Reader on Apple MAC machines, similar to the working area provided on Windows. On the MAC, look in the "Documents" folder.

Another Kindle viewer available on non-Windows systems is a document creator called Calibre. This free document convert/creator comes installed with viewers for all popular electronic publication types, including a Kindle and EPUB viewer.

We are not as familiar with the Apple iPhones and iPads as we are with Windows and Android. Check this article on using MOBI and EPUB files on the iPhone and Ipad for more information.

There are several MOBI and AZW3 readers available on Linux systems, including FBReader (also available for Windows and MACOS), as well as Calibre (mentioned above).

Viewing Images with the Kindle Reader Program or App

One of the features of postal history documents should be illustrations of covers and postcards. When using most Kindle readers, it is possible to view and "zoom in" on an image. Check the "help" for your reader program or app.

More Links

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Updated 7 September, 2020