You recently received a copy of your eBook file from your publishing team to preview. They need you to make sure you are happy before it gets published on the shelves of Amazon.

How the heck do you open and preview your eBook?

Allow me to introduce the free Kindle Previewer software from Amazon.

I can’t really do a better job at describing the software than Amazon does “Kindle Previewer is a free desktop application that enables authors, publishers and eBook service providers to preview how their books will appear when delivered to Kindle customers, and makes it easy to audit books for different screen sizes, display orientations and font sizes.”

Previewing vs Reading

An important distinction to make from the outset. Kindle Previewer is software that helps an author preview their eBook to better understand what the readers will see. Kindle Previewer helps an author spot formatting or layout mistakes within an eBook before the book is published live on or any other major eBook retailers.

So, why preview your eBook at all?

  • Perhaps the eBook designer used an older version of your manuscript?
  • Does a block of text, meant to wrap around an image, now display incorrectly?
  • Do the images in your eBook look right?
  • Did the low-cost freelancer who promised they could correctly convert your cookbook for Amazon end up creating something looking more like a bachelor’s breakfast?

To reiterate, this software was designed to preview eBooks before publishing. It wasn’t intended to be used as general purpose eBook reading app. If you were looking to read your eBook at home whilst relaxing on your favourite chair, rather use something like the Free Kindle Reading App found here.

Accepted eBook File Formats

Here is a supported list of eBook formats from the Kindle Previewer software = .KPF .MOBI .AZW .EPUB .HTML .HTML .XHTML .OPF .PRC .AZW3 .AZW8 .DOC .DOCX

The eBook format you have will likely depend on how you created your eBook edition. As an example, for most of the authors I help through an eBook conversion process, I deliver the .EPUB file format. Notice that there is no PDF format listed, as a PDF is not the right file to be giving Amazon for your eBook.

I advise most authors to ask for the ePUB format from their eBook-team simply because this universal eBook format unlocks the most doors. Most book people know how to open and work with an ePUB file. Giving members of your book club a .HTML version of your eBook to review whilst not incorrect, might confuse them.

Importantly, before installing or opening the Kindle Previewer software make sure to have your eBook file saved in an easy-to-find spot. Your desktop for example.

Have your eBook file ready

The Process

Step 1: Installing the Software

  1. Head across to the Kindle Previewer download page here.
    • Both Windows and Mac versions are available.
  2. Download the software to a location on your PC that will be easy to find.
    • This will be a ~350MB download so make sure you are connected to the Wi-Fi!
  3. Install the software, following the easy-to-read prompts.

Kindle PReviewer Download for Windows and Mac

Step 2: Opening + Previewing your eBook

  1. Once the software has installed – open it up.
    • If you are struggling to find the freshly installed software type “Kindle Previewer” into your start menu to bring up the recently installed software.
  2. Select “Open Book”, either from the empty dashboard area OR from the File menu in the upper left corner of the screen. Navigate to and select your eBook file.
  3. Bam, preview that bad boy by using the directional arrows from your keypad.

Remember, although the software has many different settings – the default view/ settings should work for most of you. Whilst browsing your eBook, anything that might look strange or out of place – take a screen grab on your keyboard, or a picture with your phone, worst case. This can then be shared with your eBook designer to correct.

Kindle Previewer with an open eBook

eBook Layout Differs from Print

Don’t panic if the eBook layout differs from the print version.

Your eBook layout will never look the same as the physical edition. This is just not how eBooks technology works. Print typically allows for precision control over the styling. This precise control is not possible with eBooks.

  • Readers have ultimate control over the font size and style.
  • Readers can choose both margin and line spacing.
  • Your book might be read in portrait or landscape mode – “reflowing” to fit the screen each time.

Don’t think of this difference between the print and the digital editions as a “fault” of the eBook. But rather a benefit. The reader is able to choose how they would prefer to read your eBook.

No More Page Numbers

Your new eBook won’t have page numbers in the conventional sense. Why? An eBook read from a smaller screen (phone) will have many more “pages” than the same eBook read from a larger screen. (A tablet.)

Most eBooks are designed to be “reflowable”. This means the exact page count is dynamic and depends on the reader-preference of font, margin size and ultimately, the screen-size of the reading device.

Struggling to wrap your head around the reflowable nature of eBooks? Think of how modern web pages shape to fit your screen. An eBook and a website use similar code under the hood.

When Referencing Pages in the eBook

Spot something in your eBook that needs to be changed?

How then do you point someone to the exact location when you can no longer reference the page number?

When referencing pages in your eBook, try taking a picture using a print screen from your keyboard or even a pic from your phone. Alternatively, share a few specific words of text for the other person to search for.


Hey Designer Dude, please would you change the text from the first paragraph on the 3rd page. This instruction is vague, as the designer would have no idea what the 3rd page would be when the eBook is viewed on his device.

Here is a better way to guide someone to the right location in your eBook 👇

Hey Designer Dude, would you please change the text from the paragraph in this picture OR

Would you please change the paragraph of text from the 1st Paragraph at the start of the 3rd Chapter starting with “And then he pushed…” These two examples are clearer and easier for your eBook-team to find.

Known Bugs

I remember trying to preview an author’s fixed layout children’s book within Kindle Previewer where the fonts were not displaying correctly across the colourful pages.

I later discovered that the eBook file itself was perfectly coded and that it was a known bug in the Kindle Previewer software. Frustrating as hell. However after testing other software it became obvious that all of the them had similar bugs. No eBook reading software that I know of is completely bug free. However, Amazon’s software is the generally accepted industry norm.

It also appears to issue bug fixes often. This means almost every few weeks will see a new version of the software being released. We are currently on version 3.65.0 and I would expect this to already be replaced with a newer version by the time you find and read my article.

Before you Go

Although far from perfect, Amazon’s Kindle Previewer software is the best way I know of for an author to find piece of mind. Every new eBook should first be previewed before being released to readers. This helps an author avoid negative reviews as result of a badly-formatted eBook.

Wait! Did this article help you? Let me know below  🙏👇

//Dedicated to Piet