What are the known issues with converting various document types to ebooks with Kindle's online or offline converters? I am not asking for a technical run-down of all of the things that could go wrong with a file; I'm asking for a list of the top errors that authors new to e-publishing are most likely to make.

I know, for example, that Amazon publishes a guide called Building Your Book for Kindle, which covers much of this material. Topics from that would make good answers, particularly if you can shed additional light on potential problems with conversion.

Summary examples of helpful potential answers:

  • Stick to Word 2010 or text, not PDFs - PDFs lose lots of content and formatting, like spacing, tables.
  • Use indents to start paragraphs, not spaces.
  • If you need to create a table, do ....
  • Lists convert poorly. To get good formatting of lists, do ...

2 Answers 2


Kindle uses ISO-8859-1 format, not UTF-8. So there are a lot of characters not natively included in Amazon's format. I am Spanish and I find issues with characters like — (em dash) or € (euro currency). Fortunately, you can use their html entity code instead. For instance, the html entity code for em dash is & mdash ; and the html entity code for € is & euro ; (without spaces).

Here you are:

Amazon published a list of ISO-8859-1 characters in a gif image. This is my first post on stackexchange, so I cannot publish more than two links. This is the image distributed by Amazon (you can google it if you want to access the info by yourself):

List of characters supported by Kindle


I don't know if it's a regular problem but sometimes if I sent a HTML file which has not been encoded with UTF-8 I had mixed up characters (I'm a Hungarian, so this is a problem for me), like:

  • ő was replaced with õ
  • ű was replaced with û

(And this happened with their uppercase pairs as well.)

  • I wonder if adding a UTF-8 BOM at the beginning of the file would make a difference. Commented Jan 17, 2014 at 21:36
  • @NathanOsman I don't see how would that help if the file “has not been encoded with UTF-8”.
    – svick
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 19:50
  • Switching ő to õ and ű to û looks to me more like a substitution at the font-mapping level, rather than a misinterpretation of the UTF-8 character or the character entity. Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 8:21

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