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Solve PDF review copy problems by converting to MOBI

PDF files don't always work on a Kindle.
PDF files don't always work on a Kindle.
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Authors need reviews of their books if they want them to sell. It takes ten reviews to qualify for some blogs, and twenty reviews to get into a search engine. The only option is to send out review copies of the book. Sending a hard copy of the book can average $10 to $40 a copy, depending on where it is mailed to, which adds up to a hefty sum over time, especially when you consider that only one percent of customers actually post a review. A cheaper alternative is to save the document as a PDF file, and email the book as an attachment.

PDF files work on most of the devices used to read ebooks. However, the last three PDF files I received did not work on my Kindle as well as they should have. The type appeared in two fonts; one very thin and hard to read, and one very bold and large. This made the manuscript difficult to read, and in some cases, just plain impossible to see.

One author tried to work with me on this problem, and reformatted and resaved the document three times. She assured me that the ebook worked well on her Kindle device. Yet, it just wasn’t readable on mine.

Then, when trying to promote my own book using a web page called Story Cartel, I asked why I had to be able to submit a MOBI file. The respondent explained that PDF “works” on Kindles, but not all of the time. There are technical issues about Kindles and PDF. It’s better for everyone if the author submits the file in MOBI.

So, the next question is how do you convert a file to MOBI? Amazon doesn’t send you a review copy in MOBI when you publish your book as a Kindle. Another service on Linked In wanted $50 to provide that conversion. I kept looking, and asking, and was finally advised about another service that is free.

Online will let you upload a file and convert it to MOBI for free. I tried it, and it worked quite easily. I added the address to my list of favorites, not only to convert my own review copies, but to convert files that authors send to me. If you are on either end of the review process, you’ll want to check this service out and bookmark the page, too.

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