Using Amazon Kindle (MOBI) Files

Bob Swanson offers a number of his books in electronic formats. This web page describes how to view the Amazon Kindle (MOBI) files published by him. Examples of such book offerings include:

Bluejacket Mail, A Postal History of the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in the First World War

Domestic U. S. Military Facilities of the First World War, 2nd Edition

If you order such a book in the MOBI format, you will receive a file containing the book, or a link from which you can download the book contents. Store this file on your computer or phone/tablet.

At this point, you should have one or more ".mobi" files on your computer, phone, or tablet. The MOBI format was designed by Amazon, in order to distribute electronic books. Books published in this format contain a continuous flow of text and images. The physical, and software-based viewers of this format provide a wide variety of features.

First of all, MOBI files are designed to be read using the Kindle (tm) reading devices sold by Amazon. If you have such a device, use the following instructions to read the document from the MCS. If you do not have one of the reading devices, this is NO PROBLEM, because Amazon has provided reading software for a wide variety of computer, phones, and tablets. Check each heading below for specific instructions for your computer or phone/tablet.

Copy MOBI 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 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 book in your bookshelf.

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

Amazon provides free readers of Kindle books that work on a wide variety of non-Kindle devices. To use the MOBI file you received from your purchase, 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 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 "Cabinet".

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


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

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

Copy MOBI 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 these books from Bob Swanson. Again, the Kindle App in the "Windows Store" will not work with these books.

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 purchased MOBI 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 book 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. In fact, this program works very well as a stand-alone 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 File to Other Computer Systems

Note that a storage area is set up on Apple MAC machines for the Kindle reader program, similar to that used on the Windows system. Look under the "Documents" folder.

Another Kindle viewer available on the Apple MAC, and Linux 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 readers available on Linux systems, including FBReader, which is also available for Windows and MAC. Note also that you can run Calibre on non-Windows machines (mentioned above).

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Updated February 15, 2016