Kindle ebook publishing

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Kindle format is based on XHTML.

Amazon has introduced a new web based format for eBooks on its Kindle e-reader device - Kindle Format 8 in late 2011(Amazon Announces New Kindle Format). It replaced the Mobi 7 format used on Kindle devices.

Kindle Format 8 is that it supports XHTML and CSS

The recently announced Kindle Fire tablet is the first in Amazon's product line to support the new format, and the company said it will roll out support in new devices and updates to the free Kindle reading apps for non-Amazon devices. The Kindle Fire went on sale Nov. 15 2011.

It appears that Amazon's strategy is not  a head-to-head confrontation with Apple's iPad, but more of a sideways move that builds on its content strengths, a view which is supported by Amazon's releasing the new KF8 to advance e-publishing. In an interview with Bloomberg News Service, Amazon founder and head Jeff Bezos said his company doesn't "think of the Kindle Fire as a tablet. We think of it as a service."

Kindle Publisher Tools - KindleGen and Kindle Previewer with Kindle Format 8 (KF8) support are now available for download. Kindle Format 8 is Amazonís next generation file format offering a wide range of new features and enhancements Ė including HTML5 and CSS3 support that publishers can use to create all types of books. KF8 adds over 150 new formatting capabilities, including drop caps, numbered lists, fixed layouts, nested tables, callouts, sidebars and Scalable Vector Graphics. Kindle Fire was the first Kindle device to support KF8 - but later KF8 was be rolled out to  latest generation Kindle e-ink devices as well as  free Kindle reading apps.

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[Jul 21, 2013] Ebook Formatting KF8, Mobi & EPUB eBook by Matt Harrison

Matt Harrison has over 10 years Python experience across the domains of search, build management and testing, business intelligence and storage.

He has presented and taught tutorials at conferences such as SCALE, PyCON and OSCON as well as local user groups. In addition he has been a private tutor teaching programming to teenagers as well as retired folk. The structure of his books are based off of his first hand experience teaching Python to many individuals.

Daniel A. Greenfeld

Excellent resource for creating better ebooks April 14, 2013

When we began to work on the Kindle and ePub versions of our book, Two Scoops of Django: Best Practices for Django 1.5, we read all the Amazon documentation and followed that with googling for more information. Unfortunately, finding up-to-date, accurate information about compatibility of layout elements across all devices is pretty much impossible. This explains why so many technical ebooks have such poor formatting of code examples.

Fortunately for us, Matt Harrison wrote this book.

This isn't yet-another-how-to book on generating an ebook. Instead it's many chapters provide HTML samples of how to do tables, code samples, tables of content, fonts, and much more in a way that works across ebook readers. Each chapter starts with the mentioned HTML samples, then follows them with a discussion of quirks and various points of interest. This focus on working material was perfect for our needs.

The author has a nice, clear writing style. Since he produced the book himself there is no padding of chapters to meet publisher requirements, making each chapter just as long as it needs to be. This makes the book feel light and airy, but it's actually dense and full of real, very useful content.

This book is good for anyone with a background in HTML who wants to create well-formatted ebooks

Paul A. Salvette

A Handy Resource July 12, 2013

As Mr. Harrison advertises, this book is not some slipshod guide to push a word .docx file or InDesign file through some magical conversion program.

This is a no-frills technical reference for folks who are serious about learning the nuts and bolts of eBook development: HTML, CSS, and XML that conforms to the EPUB2 spec.

Mr. Harrison has serious geek creds, and it is reassuring to know that someone like him is interested in making eBooks more functional for all devices on the market in a sea of ugly, broken eBooks. If only the major eBook vendors would actually provide this type of technical details about their platforms. 5 stars!

John Lynn

Just what I needed to know June 23, 2013

I was struggling with formatting of my first Kindle book, a book about programming with lots of examples, similar to Matt's Python books. I was actually admiring the way his books come out, when I came across this gem. My book is published, and looking good - even the code examples, which is no small feat. Thank you Matt for the info in this book.

Building Your Book for Kindle eBook Kindle Direct Publishing Books

Barry Krusch

A very good intro to Kindle publishing, but . . . April 26, 2012

If you are looking for a short, quick guide to how to publish on the Kindle, this tiny booklet will readily fill the bill. And, if your book is less than a megabyte in size, and is essentially straight text, and you do not care too much about the formatting details, this should be the only book you need. I am guessing that the previous description would apply to 70-85% of those publishing on Kindle.

But, what if you find yourself in a different group? What if your book is larger than a megabyte? What if your book is not just straight text, but uses graphics and tables intensively? What if you want to give your book a little spice by having certain footnotes point directly to text, and others pointing to a webpage?

Well, I guess if you are in this last group, this is not going to be the book for you! That is why my review is 4 stars, not 5. So, if you find yourself in the first group, no need to read any more, but if you find yourself in the second group, read on.

Yes, if, like me, you publish nonfiction books that are loaded with tables and pictures and graphs and footnotes, a book that could easily exceed a megabyte in size, you're going to have to pursue a different route. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, take a look at my most recent book, Impossible: The Case Against Lee Harvey Oswald (Volume Three). Go ahead and download the sample, and better yet, download this volume, which will be free on the 22nd of every month.

I've tried to make that book as professionally formatted as a Kindle book can be, with extensive control over all the parameters, including the amount of points a paragraph is indented, what quotes should look like, optimized graphs and images, and so forth.

If you want to pursue the route I have taken, you're going to be starting with Microsoft Word, as this book suggests, but you are only going to use Word as a starting point. Once your basic book has been written in Word, you're then going to have to copy and paste your HTML into a program like Dreamweaver. Once you get into Dreamweaver, you're going to have to modify the HTML "class" tags, and ultimately move the entire thing kit and kaboodle into a program called Mobipocket Creator. Fun, fun, fun!! If you want to optimize your images, which is what you are going to want to do to reduce your file size (remember, as an author you have to pay .15 per megabyte, so if your book is 10 megabytes, and you want the 70% royalty, you're going to have to pay $1.50 every time someone downloads your book! How is that for motivation to optimize your images?). To optimize your images, you will be using a program like Photoshop.

And, of course, if you want to do some fancy tricks like turning footnotes into hyperlinks that take your reader to source material that you have quoted, you're obviously going to be in the HTML world.

I hope I haven't scared you as to what the realities of the situation are, and if you fall in the first class, you don't have to worry about any of this. But if you're doing a complex, large book, with heavy formatting, you need to understand why the method described in this book is probably not going to work for you, and you should understand that there are other ways to do the book, which will give you the results you desire.

N. Schwab

Not all inclusive June 11, 2012

Building Your Kindle Book is only part of the story and doesn't explain the entire process adequately.

After uploading more than 7 books to KDP, I had to do a lot more research about formatting, tips on how to avoid problems with creating a TOC and pricing.

Building does a poor job of explaining the TOC conversion and also fails to mention one persistent problem.

Once you've checked your book format in the Kindle Previewer and it meets all the requirements, that is no guarantee that KDP will convert your book in that same format.

In my experience, each book had to be uploaded, edited, uploaded again at least 4 times (for each of the 7 books) until KDP did the conversion I saw on the Previewer. It wasn't me making the mistakes, it was the KDP software.

This book for obvious reasons does not include the issues around pricing books in the context of this format - knowledge about this important issue can only be gained by conducting extensive research including tracking down the experiences of other digital book authors.

Even with research, it often takes 6 months of actual sales to start to understand the pricing issues and other topics around pricing and competition with other digital ebook formats.

It will help if you read this book at the start of your research and several times again before you begin to understand what's good about it and what's missing and a lot of info is missing!

You Too Can Moonlight As An Amazon Bestseller (Beginner's Guide to Publishing on Amazon) eBook Steve May, pro_eboo


Worth the cover price in frustrations prevented. January 27, 2013

You Too Can Moonlight as an Amazon Bestseller is a useful book for anyone who wishes to publish a book on Amazon. Yes, there are a zillion how-to's on this topic. I've read tons of them, first to do my own publishing, then specifically to review the books because I do have that experience. This one is concise and easy to follow. The things that ought to be spelled out are spelled out. Step by step. Things you only need to be aware of, or need to make own your decisions on are pointed out. Some guides are confusing, this one is clear and useful. Worth your time and the asking price.

A few notes of my own that were not covered or not made clear:

KDP select note: To use KDP Select, you must agree to place your book exclusively on Amazon for that 90 day period. You get 5 "free" days per 90 days of exclusive Amazon listing. If you sell your book (or give it away) anywhere else - ANYWHERE, even on your own website - you cannot participate in KDP select. Don't try it. Violating your agreement with Amazon can get you permanently banned.

Borrowing must be enabled in order to participate in the library payments program.

My personal opinion on negative reviews:

Negative reviews can be extremely beneficial to the author. If the review cites poor formatting, bad editing, or disjointed sentences and ideas, fixing these things will improve your book. There is always going to be someone who dislikes your tone, thinks you used too many (or too few) big words, or someone who didn't read the description and is angry because they expected X instead of Y. Ignore those reviews. Reviews that offer real input, respond to (wait until you get over the initial shock and horror, so you can respond graciously!) First make corrections to your book, then respond with a sincere thank you.

If you honestly believe that a few one star reviews will hurt you when you have as many or more higher reviews, go look up Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea. 25% of those reviews are 3 stars or less.

The Da Vinci Code has 1199 1&2 star reviews compared to 1716 5 star reviews, out of 4190 reviews as of 01/27/13. (I hated that book but my review isn't one of the 1199.)

Reviews do matter, but not as much as we think they do. A bad review isn't the end of the world.

Pictures on Kindle Self Publishing Your Kindle Book with Photos, Drawings, and Other Graphics, or Tips for Formatt

Aisling D'Art

Must-read for anyone publishing Kindle books May 28, 2013

Aaron Shepard does it again! He's always on the cutting edge with information for independent publishers, and this book is among his most technical.

That's the good news... and the bad news. "Most technical" means it'll make your brain hurt if you're new to computer graphics. Don't let that scare you. It also means that Aaron answers pretty much every question you'll have -- now or in the future -- as a book illustrator or cover designer.

I've been a graphic professional for decades, and became an independent publisher (of my own books and others') about three years ago. My husband is a pre-press professional. And, I've been using Adobe Photoshop since the mid-1990s. So, I'm pretty fluent in graphic terminology. Despite that, some of what Aaron talks about... I'm still not at that level of expertise.

It doesn't matter. I picked up enough "ah-HA!" tips to make this book worth the cover price, many times over. Plus that, I hope he'll publish this book in print. I'll buy it in a blink. I want to follow along... and write (by hand) notes in the margins as I work. I have a LOT to learn.

Meanwhile, I'm grateful to have Aaron's book it in Kindle format, right now. I needed this information for all of my books.

For me, there were at least a dozen surprises in this book. The biggest was his advice about Kindle cover dimensions. I can't believe that didn't occur to me. Really. Even in the KDP previewer, some key issues completely escaped my attention.

He also confirmed something I'd suspected about Kindle illustrations, in general. So, that's peace of mind. I'm doing this right. Whew!

However, he shared tips that had never crossed my mind, and I know they'll radically improve the quality of my Kindle books.


- Nobody else shares publishing insights and advice as generously as Aaron does.
- If you have a question about illustrating Kindle books or creating a Kindle book cover with the best possible images, you'll probably find the answer in this book.
- Aaron is forthright about what works, what doesn't work, and what works only part of the time... depending on the formatting and the reader.
- Great links to plugins and software I've never even heard of, and all of it sounds incredibly useful for top-quality illustrations.
- Down-to-earth advice if you're illustrating with your own photos.
- Great tips if you can't figure out why Word keeps modifying your illustrated pages so they look weird.
- Lots of clear screenshots -- often based on Photoshop, though the same concepts work with other graphics software, including GIMP -- make it easy to put all the numbers and formats into perspective. (No pun intended.)


- More technical details than most authors and illustrators need to know. Don't try to read every word in every sentence. Just skip through Aaron's book, picking out issues you've wondered about, like image resolution and illustration placement (alignment).
- Kindle formatting is changing so rapidly, a lot of this is "what we're using, for now... but it'll probably change in six months." (Since I've bought Aaron's books before, I know he'll update this regularly, as new standards and techniques emerge.)

Aaron Shepard gained my unwavering loyalty with his "Aiming at Amazon" book, years ago. More recently, he helped resolve a major formatting headache by recommending Kindle Comic Creator for children's picture books.

While this book isn't exactly recreational reading, it's the kind of technical advice you need but probably won't find anywhere else.

If you're illustrating your own Kindle books or others', you need this book. The Kindle Formatting Bible How To Format Your Ebook For Kindle Using Microsoft Word (Publishing And Marketing Tip

Nancy Hendrickson

If You Write for Kindle You Need to Know How to Format December 7, 2012

I've been writing for Kindle since 2008. In the beginning, formatting was difficult, time-consuming and fraught with issues. Over the years it's gotten a little easier but it's still not a push-button solution. This book will help make formatting for Kindle as easy as it's going to get.

First, you'll learn how to use Microsoft Word's built-in functionality for heads and sub-heads, how to insert images, hyperlinks, bullet point substitutes, and much more. You'll then learn how to convert to the Mobi format that is used by Amazon.

Next, once your book is on Kindle, the author covers important points like choosing categories and the all-important KDP Select program.

If you're new to Kindle and tearing your hair out over formatting, grab this book. It will literally save your hours of frustration (I've been there) and a ton of sanity!

Rozanne Paxman

Very helpful book (Review updated) January 4, 2013

Overall a helpful book, although I believe there are some missing items.

1. Make sure you are using the default (Word 2007 and above) formatting template. If you are copying your text in from another document, you can accidentally bring the wrong formatting over and it will cause issues. I know. It just happened to me and it took three tries (and a lot of researching) to finally make Amazon happy with with that particular book.

2. The easiest way to convert your Word document into a Kindle book (and then test it) is using Amazon's Kindle Previewer v2.75. It's a free tool that can be downloaded from Amazon. The way to do it is save your Word document as a filtered web page. Then open the Previewer and then, open your filtered web page. The previewer converts it into the mobi file and then it allows you to preview it in every possible Kindle viewer imaginable.'s tool isn't necessary. When you are ready to publish the book, just upload the mobi file that the previewer created.

(Author: You might want to consider adding these things to your manuscript. If you do, I'll come back and upgrade my review.)

If you are just getting started with Kindle publishing, this is a pretty good resource.

EDITED 3/4/13. As you can see from the comment below, the has just notified me that he has updated his book with the missing information. I appreciate that he took time to listen to this reader and add these topics. It has served to make the book even stronger than it was. As promised, I have upgraded my review. :-)

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