What is an AZW File?

How to Open, Edit, & Convert AZW Files

Picture of the AZW file icon

A file with the AZW file extension is a Kindle eBook Format file, which is really just a MobiPocket eBook file that has (usually) been DRM protected and renamed from MOBI or PRC.

AZW files are used on Amazon's Kindle eBook reader devices, so you'll likely see this type of file when you're downloading eBooks from the Internet or transferring Kindle books to your computer.

These types of eBook files can store things like bookmarks, annotations, last read position, page numbers that correlate to the physical version of the book, and more.

Newer Kindle devices use the KF8 format for eBooks.

How To Open an AZW File

An AZW file you've downloaded can be opened with the free Calibre program for Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as Amazon's free Kindle Previewer.

Amazon's Send to Kindle by E-mail service lets you open AZW files (and other eBook formats) on your Kindle devices and reading apps by first attaching it to an email and then sending it to your Amazon account. This is an easy method for reading AZW books on your Kindle device and reading app after you've downloaded them.

Once an AZW file is in your Amazon account, it can of course be opened with Amazon's Kindle eBook reader device. Opening an AZW file without a Kindle is possible through Amazon's free Kindle Cloud Reader, which works from any web browser on any platform.

Additionally, Amazon offers free Kindle reading apps for Windows and Mac PCs, as well as most popular tablets and smartphones.

The Windows program, for example, can open AZW files that are on your computer even if they aren't in your Amazon account.

Note: The Amazon Kindle also natively supports various image and eBook file formats. Which non-AZW formats yours supports depends on which Kindle you have (Kindle, Kindle Fire, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard, etc.).

You can find out more on the appropriate help page for your Kindle at Amazon's Kindle Support or in your device's manual.

How To Convert an AZW File

The easiest way to convert an AZW file to another eBook format (or convert another format to AZW) is to install Calibre. It supports not only popular formats like EPUB, MOBI, PDF, AZW3, and DOCX, but also PDB, RTF, SNB, LIT, and others.

Please know, however, that most AZW files are copy protected by Amazon's DRM, meaning that Calibre won't be able to open or convert them. There are ways to remove the DRM protection from AZW files but considering the legal (depending on where you live) and ethical concerns surrounding DRM removal, I'm not comfortable linking you directly to any of these methods.

There are also some Free File Conversion Software Programs and Online Services that you can use to convert the AZW file to another format. Zamzar is my favorite free AZW converter because it works in a web browser, is very simple to use and understand, and supports converting to lots of different eBook formats.

Important: You cannot usually change a file extension (like the AZW file extension) to one that your computer recognizes and expect the newly renamed file to be usable.

An actual file format conversion using one of the methods described above must take place in most cases. AZW files that are not DRM protected, however, may be renamed to .mobi or .prc and used wherever MOBI and PRC files are supported.