How to Convert AZW3 to EPUB While Retaining Formatting

Tips and Tricks  •   June 22, 2020

AZW3 is the most common format for Kindle eBooks, but it can be frustrating to deal with if you want to read Kindle AZW3 books on Nook, Kobo, iPad, iPhone, etc.

One solution is: convert those AZW3 files into Epub!

In this article, we are going to show you four different methods to convert AZW3 to Epub. Even if your AZW3 files are copy protected with DRM, you can still use some of the methods below to handle the files.

Let’s get started.

How To Convert AZW3

So, What’s the easiest way to convert AZW3 to Epub? Truth is there are a few ways to convert AZW3 to Epub to make it readable on multiple devices. For example, you could convert AZW3 to Epub using Calibre or epubor. You could also use an AZW3 to Epub converter, or use an online site to do the work.

One important thing you need to know is that most of the AZW3 files are protected with Amazon DRM, which means you have to remove the DRM before converting AZW3 files to Epub.

How to convert from AZW3 to Epub using Calibre

To every ebook fan, Calibre is a great, free way to manage ebooks and it can also convert AZW3 to Epub or PDF books. With the right plugin, Calibre can even decrypt ebooks with DRM protection.

In my test, Calibre works very well at converting text-based ebooks, (4 sec for a 250-page novel), the book displays perfectly and the conversion process is so fast.

Now let’s find out how Calibre works as an AZW3 Converter.

First of all, download the Calibre, Calibre supports Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux platform. Select the corresponding version and click on the download button.
(download for Windows) (download for Mac)

Then you need to install the DeDRM Plugin to Calibre. (this step is essential if you want to deal with DRM protected AZW3 books)

To use Calibre for converting AZW3 to Epub:

1. Click on the “Add Books” button at the upper left corner to add kindle AZW3 ebooks and you can add one more ebook file each time.

If your AZW3 book are downloaded with Kindle for PC/Mac, you need to add it manually.
For PC: C:/Users/your computer user name/Documents/My Kindle Content
For Mac: /Users/Mac user name/Library/Containers/ Support/Kindle/My Kindle Content

2. Convert Kindle AZW to PDF, Epub, or Mobi by clicking on the “Convert books” button.

3. After the conversion, there will be two formats for this book. click the ebooks item in the middle list areas of the main window, then click right mouse and “Open Containing Folder”, the ebooks which have been converted will be displayed.

Calibre works best with files that are mostly text If the AZW3 books contain mostly charts or graphics, it seems to struggle, and in my test, it fails completely. The resulting azw3 or epub look horrible, All the words are in gigantic font and take up the whole page, like 10-15 words to a page, not good for reading or anything at all. So, for graphic or format heavy ebooks we have another way, that works really well.

How to get AZW3 to Epub without converting

In fact, the reason why we always turn to convert AZW3 to Epub, instead of converting AZW3 to PDF or Mobi are with follows:

AZW3 (also called KF8) is essentially EPUB with Amazon DRM and a Palm database for the Kindle Fire. that is, AZW3 is epub with an amazon wrapper. so the two formats are extremely similar to each other.

Figuring this out, there comes an easy way to change AZW3 to Epub, using the KindleUnpack plugin.

KindleUnpack doesn’t convert AZW 3 to Epub, it merely “repackage” an azw3 as the equivalent epub (as we see above they are internally similar) without a full conversion, which is a lot less work. though After the format shift from KF8 to ePub, you will need to validate the code because it will contain errors.Not many and it’s easy to fix.

1. Please install the Kindle Unpack plugin fist.
2. Select your AZW3 ebook from the book listing and select KF8 to EPUB.

3. After the PI had finished the separation you will find the EPUB format in your book record.

4. The second step is to correct the EPUB file with calibre. Select the ebook and open the file with calibre editor. The editor will ask you to choose a format to edit. please select EPUB.

Document elements that don’t convert well
Some elements are known to be problematic when converting from AZW 3 to Epub format. This including: HTML code, font size, non-linear items, chapter files, etc. If your file includes these, you might want to use other ways to handle it.

How to convert AZW3 to Epub Faster and Retain Formatting

With the DeDRM and KindleUnpack plugin, we can easily change AZW3 to Epub, but lots of users find that converting with calibre takes a very long time and the result is not so good for graphic-heavy books. in our test, we find that batch conversion is very slow. There’s a lot of disks I/O going on and the system seems to saturate all available memory (8 GBytes). we let Calibre run for over 24 hours and it still said “working”.

So, we test other apps on the market and find one that works really well at keeping the output quality and quick at batch conversion.

Most of our readers prefer to use calibre in the beginning, but 80% of them finally pick epubor ultimate, since it is a dedicated kindle ebooks converter and can bring high conversion quality, your fonts and layout features, such as bullets and tables, will be left intact.

Using epubor ultimate is the best way to make sure your conversion’s formatting is as accurate as possible. However, you’ll need the paid version of epubor ultimate to use this method.

Key Features of Epubor Ultimate:

1. Convert Kindle AZW/AZW3/KFX to EPUB/MOBI/PDF without installing any DRM Removal Plugin.
2. Remove DRM from Kindle, Adobe, Kobo & Nook, Google Play Books.
3. Automatically detect device and load books.
4. Batch conversion allows you to convert entire eBook collection.
5. Edit metadata, including title, author, publisher, introduction and the book cover.
Download Epubor Ultimate for A Free Trial

To convert from AZW3 to Epub using Epubor Ultimate:

1. Download Epubor Ultimate, and launch it. Then connect your Kindle to the computer, the program will automatically recognize your existent books and show it in the list at the left column. Of course, you can click on “Add” to import your books.

3. Just drag and drop the Kindle AZW books from the left to the right main window, this will make AZW3 books DRM free.
4. Then Click “Convert to EPUB” button to Start Conversion. Once the conversion is done, the program will show you a successful status.

Honestly speaking, Epubor Ultimate is much easier to use than Calibre to convert Kindle AZW to PDF/Epub/Mobi. Of course, if you prefer a freeware, then Calibre plus the DeDRM Plugin can be a good choice for you. But if you are seeking the most convenient way to deal with the Kindle AZW books, Epubor Ultimate should be the best option.

How to change AZW3 to Epub with Online Sites (without Email)

There are quite a lot online sites that you can use to convert AZW3 to Epub. If you don’t have immediate access to Calibre and don’t want to try Epubor Ultimate. After repeated testing, we have picked out the best 2 online free AZW3 to Epub converter without submitting email address.

Just note that all the online sites only work with DRM free AZW3 files and if your ebook includes lots of images, online sites might remove them in the final document.

Most of the online site works in the same way, Here is how to convert AZW3 to Epub with ZamZar:
1. Drag & drop to add your AZW3 files, or you can click “Add Files” to add files from Computer, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.

3. Choose epub or any other format you need from the list.
4. Zamzar will start process and converting the file, wait for sometime and then download your epub file right afterwards

FAQs on Using Online Sites for the conversion

How long does it take for converting AZW3 to EPUB?
Most online site has an size limit on the uploaded file, so you can only add small or medium sized AZW3 files, and it usually takes 4 to 90 minutes.

Is it safe to use online?
The two online sites we recommend are very popular on the market and it is safe to use, but for other online sites, especially those with multiple ads, it may not safe to use.

Online site is very convenient and works really well if you have DRM free and simple text-based file. However, if your file protected with DRM, or is image-heavy, you’re going to need more powerful tools like Calibre and Epubor Ultimate.

What is the difference between EPUB, AZW3, and Mobi?

File Extension: .azw3
AZW3 is an eBook format developed by Amazon. it also called Kindle Format 8, or KF8. Amazon uses this format to replace the older AZW version of their Kindle eBook files. Contrary to AZW, AZW3 supports advanced features like HTML5 and CSS3. Additionally, it has more formatting options than the old AZW. It is proprietary and can only be used in Amazon eBook previewer or Amazon kindles.

File Extension: . epub
The ePUB file is an open-source e-book format developed in 2007 by IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum). it based on XHTML, XML and CSS. As it is open-source, it is one of the most widely-accepted ebook formats on the market.

Several eBook readers support EPUB files. Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and Google e-readers. Kindle eBook readers do not support EPUB files.

The ePUB format allows reflowable content. This means it can easily fit different dimensions of devices for display, (much like the way HTML text on the web browser).

File Extension: .mobi, .prc
.mobi is an eBook format developed by Mobipocket. and was bought by Amazon in 2005. This format is mostly used in Mobipocket software packages and in the early versions of Amazon’s Kindle device. Also, most other eBook readers also support this file format.

Mobi format is based on the Open eBook standard using XHTML and can include JavaScript and frames. The format supports DRM protection, images, and tables.

The support of and further development of .mobi was officially discontinued in 2011 with the AZW format superseding it.

Essentially, AZW3 files and Epub files are mostly the same, AZW3 are files that compiled EPUB files and utilized a Palm database together with Amazon’s DRM protection scheme.

So, The major difference between Epub files and AZW3 is that AZW3 is protected by Kindle DRM. which ‘locks’ the book so it can only be read on Amazon devices.

AZW3 has better performance than MOBI, is much smaller, and shows up on your Kindle as a book and not a personal document.

The differences between Mobi and ePub are definitely larger.