Hamster Free Ebook Converter: converts ebooks across a wide range of formats


Ebooks are here to stay. Since I bought my Kindle I have not bought a single, non-electronic book. But there is a dizzying range of ebook formats out there, and a definite need for a simple tool that can convert across these.

Enter Hamster Free Ebook Converter, a small, free tool that can take a wide array of ebook formats as input, and convert them into a similarly wide array of output ebook formats.

Users can select the output ebook format specifically, or they can browse by device make and type, selecting the ebook formats that are compatible with their specific device via a dropdown.


Hamster Free ebook converter screenshot2Hamster Free ebook converter screenshot

Some PROS and CONS:


  • The interface: is easy to use, supports drag and drop.
  • Batch conversions: can convert a huge list of books in one go.
  • Format selection: can be done directly, or it can be done via selecting your device, and then going into a sub-selection of all the formats that your device supports. Note that this is done for format selection only; e.g. selecting iPhone3/PDF, iPad/PDF, Kindle3/PDF, or KindleDX/PDF, with all their different screen sizes, will produce the same PDF as output, not a resizes version for each.


  • Does not handle some formats very well: I tried to convert CBR to PDF, and the program was stuck at 1% for a long time before I cancelled the operation.
  • English language interface: has lots of Russian text strewn about. Weird. But doesn’t affect the overall experience much.

The verdict: In the ebook conversion and management space, there is one free software  titles which (as of this writing) is king, and that software is called Calibre.

But Calibre may bee too ambitious and intrusive  (it tags your ebooks, organizes copies of them into it’s own folder structure, etc.) Which is why many people will find Hamster Free Ebook Converter to be a welcome addition and a must have tool. Note that this software itself is in fact based on the Calibre engine.

This program offers two things; (a) the ability to handle a very wide range of formats as both input and output, and (b) a very nice and straightforward intuitive interface that looks very stylish to boot. Highly recommended.

[Thanks go to reader Panzer for letting me know about this software]

Version Tested:

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7.

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 474K). Note that once run, the installer will download installation data from the internet (approx 45 megs). The installer will ask if you also want to install Hamster Free Zip Archiver, so make sure to UNCHECK that if you do not want it.

  • Ron

    It downloaded a 136MB installation from the net for me. Too much, I think.

    • Samer

      @ Ron: I just checked. It downloads a 45 meg executable into the following directory (C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Temp).

      However, during the installation, it asks if you also want to install another program, Hamster Free Zip Archiver. Unfortunately, you need to uncheck this, rather than the other way around. I am guessing that it downloaded both programs for you.

      I modified the review above slightly to reflect this info.

  • Apparently their using the source code from Calibre while restricting the code which is against GPLv3. Lifehacker also covered this , http://lifehacker.com/5818038/hamster-ebook-converter-is-a-free-and-easy-way-to-move-ebooks-between-devices, and made an update that goes to calibre’s facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/calibre.ebook/posts/104353349661230 .

  • wangxy

    It is exactly the ‘intrusive’ eBook management of Calibre that sold me completely. Its tag system and online info search help me to effectively organize my eBook collection which I would otherwise waste much more time. Since it’s cross-platform, I’m able to manage my collection throughout my Windows and Ubuntu machines and keep my reading progress always up-to-date. All I have to do is sync the Calibre library directory through a service like Dropbox or Wuala.

    It seems what Hamster is doing is really mean by using the source code of Calibre without complying to the license. According to their comments, they are either too ignorant to to understand the license thing or too arrogant to respect others’ work.

  • Samer

    @ Wangxy: I like Calibre too (going to add it to the next update of my top freeware post). But I also like to have a simple straightforward ebook converter.
    I have a feeling they will sort the license issues out eventually.

  • Unknown

    Thumbs way up for this; especially over the pig that is Calibre. This does what it does well, easily, quickly, and freely. Who could want more?

  • Graham

    So far Hamster have not acted on the request to comply with the terms of the GPL v3 licence and so are in violation and using the calibre source code without authorisation. For further details see: