How to Format a Kindle for Linux

Written by ashley poland Google
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How to Format a Kindle for Linux
The Kindle works automatically with your Linux computer. (John Sommers II/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

The Kindle file system uses FAT32, which is one of the formats that works as-is with Linux, Mac and Windows computers. When using your Linux computer with your Kindle, you will only need to plug it in via USB cable to add, modify and remove data from the system using the file manager, the same as you would for any USB device. Certain Linux programs can even interact with the Kindle. The largest challenge you'll face with Linux is charging it via USB; it will not charge while in USB mode, or even while simply unmounted.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Kindle USB cord

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  1. 1

    Plug your Kindle into your computer using the provided USB cord. Once connected to your computer, the Kindle display will switch to the UBS drive mode screen.

  2. 2

    Open your file manager and select the Kindle. Depending on your distribution of Linux, you may see an icon to allow you to access the Kindle on your desktop. You'll see a couple of folders on the Kindle drive, including "Documents," "Music" and "System."

  3. 3

    Copy e-books onto your Kindle device by selecting the relevant file and pressing "Ctrl + C." Access the Kindle drive and open the "Documents" folder. Paste the document into the folder using "Ctrl + V." The Kindle supports several different document formats, including AZW, MOBI, PDF, DOC, RTF and TXT.

  4. 4

    Copy music to your Kindle by pasting MP3 files into the "Music" folder. As of this writing in July 2011, the music feature on the Kindle is experimental and only supports MP3 files.

  5. 5

    Eject your Kindle when you're done to allow it to charge; simply unmounting it will not be enough to intiate the charging process. To eject it completely you'll need to know the label assigned to the Kindle. Open a new terminal Window, and enter "sudo fdisk -l" to see a list of hard disks on your computer. Kindle can be identified under the "System" heading by its file system, which will be listed as "W95 FAT32," and the amount of space, listed under "Blocks" as "3205336." Find the device label at the beginning of that row, often "/dev/sdb1" if the Kindle is the only connected USB device. To eject it, enter "sudo eject /dev/sdb1".

Tips and warnings

  • Calibre is one of the most popular e-book management programs available, giving you the ability to download, manage and add books to your device via USB or even e-mail. Calibre is compatible with both the Kindle and Linux, and is available at
  • The Kindle will not charge while mounted. If you're using a laptop, plug it in so that your USB ports get full power.
  • If you delete a file using the file manager, make sure that it's not being stored in an internal trash folder. Ubuntu often creates a hidden folder called ".Trash-1000" in the root directory of USB devices when you delete files. Delete this file by enabling hidden folders (Ctrl + H in Ubuntu), right-clicking the folder and selecting "Move to Trash." You will be prompted to delete the folder permanently.

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