KDP authors can now download mobi files to test before publishing

Amazon has made yet another unannounced change to the Kindle Direct Publishing author interface, this time to preview files. Previously, when an author uploaded a file to their dashboard they had the option to download an HTML version to test and, if necessary, edit. This option to download an HTML file is gone, replaced with the option to download a mobi file.

Authors now have two options to preview: the Simple Previewer, which is the same e-ink previewer as before; and the Enhanced Previewer, which is actually just the same latest-version Kindle Previewer available from the KDP Tools and Resources page, and which allows you to see what your file will look like on different devices (well, sort of: in some cases the size of the Previewer window is significantly larger than the actual device).

To access the mobi file, in the Enhanced Previewer box click on the hyperlink “Download Book Preview File.” This will open up a download window with a converted mobi version of your ebook. You can save to disk and test the file on any Kindle app or device. There is also a link to download the Kindle Previewer.

What is most awesome about this development is that the file you download is a fully functional mobi file. This means two things:

1. Authors who don’t have the means or inclination to build and test their files in advance can upload a Word doc or HTML file to KDP, save to Draft only, and download the converted mobi file to test before publishing. If your file is not behaving as desired, you can fix your Word doc or HTML file and try again;

2. Authors can use the mobi file to distribute to reviewers. Authors thus avoid having to learn a program such as Calibre, or buy an expensive program like InDesign, to create a mobi file for private distribution.

Authors who are already published on KDP can only access this option if you upload your file again. Note also that you will need to upload your cover (or embed it in your Word or HTML doc) if you want it included in the converted mobi file.

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