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Amazon Releases Kindle for InDesign Plug-in

Amazon has released a free plug-in that allows InDesign users to export documents and books to Kindle format. The Kindle for Adobe InDesign (Beta) works with InDesign CS4 and CS5 in Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS 10.5 (“experimental” i.e. YMMV) and 10.6. Mac users are advised to run Security Update 2010-005 before installing the plug-in.

You can download the PDF Help and Release Notes here.

Installing the plug-in adds an Export for Kindle item in the File and Book panel menus.

In the Kindle Export Options dialog box, you can specify TOC, cover, and title options, and choose to view the export. Click Help to download the Help and Release Notes PDF.

The file is saved in .mobi format.

With the Kindle Previewer application you can view the results of your export.

Mike Rankin

Mike Rankin

Editor in Chief of, InDesign Magazine, and Author of courses on InDesign and Illustrator. Husband. Dad. Dog walker.
Mike Rankin

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  • - November 30, -0001
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38 Comments on “Amazon Releases Kindle for InDesign Plug-in

  1. Kindle export failed on 700 + page book :(

    I am missing lots of links though as I pulled the files from a server so I didn’t overwrite anything. It took about 30 minutes – but I was sooo :( when it failed.

    Can’t seem to Export a selection of documents from the Book Panel, only the whole book…

  2. “The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It has a diameter of about 1,392,000 kilometers (865,000 mi), about 109 times that of Earth, and its mass (about 2 × 1030 kilograms, 330,000 times that of Earth) accounts for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System.[10] About three quarters of the Sun’s mass consists of hydrogen, while the rest is mostly helium. Less than 2% consists of heavier elements, including oxygen, carbon, neon, iron, and others.[11]”

    According to Wikipedia

    -sorry, couldn’t resist

  3. @Terry: Awesome! Thanks. Sometimes I get a little daffy without enough sleep.

    In truth, the first InDesignSecrets ebook to hit the Kindle will be AnneMarie’s cookbook, 101 Ways to Prepare Medianoche. ;)

  4. Isn’t The Sun a really racy tabloid from the UK? Can you read that on a Kindle?

    (I s’pose if they are creating it using InDesign, it’ll be possible from now on.
    … How’s a Page Three Girl going to be referred to in the e-book future? Scroll Down Girl?)

  5. Eugene: What was the error you got when it failed? I was able to export a document from CS5 with missing art (didn’t even get a warning), but it failed when I specified a piece of cover art that was missing.

  6. Yeh that was the error I got – I must have missed the error that popped up.

    I’ll check again on Monday.

  7. Just tried this new plug-in and the export keeps failing. Help? The message I get is this:

    “Export for Kindle failed because of the following error –

    Kindlegen could not be invoked on the source files.

    Please make sure Kindlegen is available and you have permissions to write to the destination.”

    Is there additional software I need to install in order to run this plug-in? Anyone else getting this error? I have never tried to create a Kindle file before (strictly EPUB thus far).


  8. Erin-

    I got that same error when I tried to export from CS4 on a G5 Mac running OS 10.5. I don’t think Kindlegen works in that configuration. Is that similar to your setup?

  9. Thanks for the quick response. Yes, that is exactly my set up. Is it worth updating to 10.6, or should I breakdown and upgrade to an Intel Mac?

  10. Erin-

    You’d have to get an Intel machine to install OS 10.6, as it doesn’t work on 10.5. But I’m not 100% certain you can’t get the export to work in your scenario. I gave up after getting an error trying to run Kindlegen that was something like “badCPUtype” which made me think it wasn’t ever going to work on that machine.

    I wish Amazon’s documentation could be a little more helpful. The download page says specifically it’s for Intel Mac, but there’s no mention of that in the release notes/help of either the plugin or Kindlegen.

  11. Thanks for your help. I got the same “BadCPUtype” error and that’s when I came to you! Guess I’ll take my bad CPU and go back to creating EPUBs with no trouble.

  12. All I can say is Amazon needs a few lessons from Adobe on how to optimize script performance. I thought the Export to epub was slow… export for Kindle takes about 10x as long.

  13. Forget about it, it’s impossible, a simple book and it’s taking over 15 minutes. Performance is so important because you often have to re-export many times for each book. I would rather export to epub and then adjust it from there for Kindle.

  14. Well, it *is* tagged “beta”, “experimental”, and “free”. IOW, you get what you payed for ;-)

    Doesn’t the ReadMe mention where to report bugs?

  15. Wow – Fred that’s a long time.

    I was able to export a 700 page book in a few minutes.

    It’s all text though. Maybe images take a bit longer?

  16. Eugene,

    Was it a single file? I was exporting from a book file. It doesn’t have any images. The only thing I can think of is maybe because it has missing fonts. It has about 30 hyperlinks, too.

  17. what jongware said.

    it’s beta.

    expect problems. expect unhelpful error messages. expect things to take longer than they would in final release. expect poor (or no) documentation. this is the way beta testing happens.

    the important thing to do is to report the issues to amazon. that’s why they put the files out there for you to test and use, so you’ll let them know what works right and what doesn’t.

  18. A few more sentences from Amazon about what kind of performance to expect from this version of the plug-in would set everyone’s expectations at the right level.

    The product announcement states, “The conversion process takes only a few minutes, and provides high quality results.” That’s quite different from saying “expect problems, expect unhelpful error messages, etc,” which might be more accurate.

    Also, the help and release notes doesn’t actually say where to send your feedback. It points you to the main page on Kindle Publishing. From there you can find
    the address. I’ll save you the trip:

  19. To those of you getting the “CPU” error, did you read the very, very short system requirements on the download page? It says, very specifically, Intel Macs.

    So your G5 won’t work. No PPC. Sorry.

  20. The plugin works great–when exporting from a single InDesign file.

    When exporting from an InDesign book it loses some formatting, like paragraph indent of first line and space above/below on headers.

  21. Found the solution to INDB not correctly formatting to Kindle.

    Foolishly, I thought a ‘Table of Contents’ files was needed. Not so. In fact it messes with the formatting. Simply ticking the options box on export will do the trick–and format the Kindle ebook correctly.

    This is a great plugin.

  22. I used the plug-in to format a very short sample book that was made up of several files using InDesign’s Book feature.

    If I exported one chapter, the formatting was great–paragraph indents, spaces before subheads, etc. If I exported the whole book I lost formatting–no paragraph indents or spaces before subheads, though italic and bold were maintained.

    Wasn’t even attempting a TOC at this point, but I lost formatting whether or not I checked the TOC button and whether or not the Style Source was assigned to the first file. Any others with this experience? I’ll report it to Adobe.

  23. Sue-

    Yes, same exact issue here. Exporting indd retains most of the paragraph styles’ settings. Exporting indb loses at least: space before/after paragraphs, paragraph indents. It seems to make no difference whether TOC checkbox is checked or not, or if it is checked, whether a TOC style is chosen.

    I will report as well.

  24. When I try to Export to Kindle in CS5, I get the following error message:

    Error: Cannot Export name of file Export Failed.

    File: path to directory/Scripts/Export%20For%20Kindle/KindleExport.jsxbin Line: 189

    Any ideas?

  25. I am exporting a 226 page book. I’m on windows xp. It is processing really fast, but at the end I am getting the error “Export for Kindle failed becuase of the following error – Could not access file.” Any thoughts as to what file it was trying to access?

  26. I just solved a problem with the Kindle plugin, in case anybody having the same problem googles their way to this page:

    Exporting .mobi from an .indb in CS4, I got this error referring to a mysterious .epub file:

    * kindlegen(MAC OSX) V1.1 build 99 *
    * A command line e-book compiler *
    * Copyright 2010 *

    opt -o: output file name
    opt version: try to minimize (default)
    Error: Could not find file “/Users/keithsnyder/Desktop/working/? Current/Books/Keith Snyder/Novels/The Night Men/The Night Men for Kindle/The Night Men v.1.1/full raw epub/export-for-kindle from INDD/1302182981919.epub”

    _ _ _

    Saving to the desktop in a folder called “testing” instead fixed it. There’s something about the original pathname that the plugin doesn’t like. I’m guessing it’s the bullet character.

    Hope this helps somebody.

  27. Keith, thanks for the heads up. Punctuation and special characters in filenames and folders cause all different kinds of havoc in lots of workflows. It’s important to remember that EPUB and MOBI (Amazon) files are essentially mini-websites using XHTML files, and so if you wouldn’t name a web site file or folder with a bullet or accent or whatever, you shouldn’t with a file name or any folder in the path of an eBook file.

  28. Error message when exporting using Kindle Plugin v.92

    I am on Intel Mac OS 10.6.8 trying to export using Kindle plugin for InDesign CS5. I get the following error message:

    “Object does not support the property or Method ‘strokeWeight’ ”

    I have tried everything. I selected every frame in the document and changed the object style to “none” — I got rid of all strokes around frames.

    Still will not export. Can anyone help with this? How do I fix this error?

  29. I recently installed the kindle plug-in to my pc and used it fine a week ago. Just today i removed an old version of indesign cs5.1 from my pc b/c i dont use it and i don’t know if it had anything to do with it but now when i run kindle export from the version i’ve been using the entire time cs 5.5 i get and error “null is not an object” .
    cnd anybody offer any insight. i’ve rebooted ..i’ve reinstalled the plugin manually b/c no it doesn’t see indesign installed like it did last week or b4 i guess i removed the old version of indesign.

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