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Formatting of Kindle Books: a Brief Tutorial [Kindle Edition]

Charles Spender
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99
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  • Length: 248 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

*** Updated in May 2015 ***

Please read the free sample before downloading this ebook. You can download this book from the KDP forum (copy and paste the link into your browser):

This document was written for the lay audience and outlines the steps necessary for creation of a full-featured, professionally formatted electronic book for the Kindle platform. Never mind the size of this tutorial: most of it is pictures and side notes (which you can ignore). The book consists of three parts--you need to choose only one of them--

{a} for people who don't want to learn HTML
{b} for those willing to learn HTML
{c} for professional web designers

It is possible to do some changes to your Word manuscript and upload it to Kindle Direct Publishing within half an hour, but you are likely to discover later that your ebook has many annoying little problems that need fixing in HTML code. If you don't want to learn HTML, the book contains a chapter on how to format a Kindle ebook properly using a free 30-day trial of Microsoft Word. The text also describes conversion of PDF, InDesign, EPUB, Apple Pages, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, WordPerfect, Final Draft, and QuarkXPress files.

Good formatting will take several hours to several days. Please keep in mind that the vast majority of self-published ebooks do not sell and the formatting efforts and expenses may never pay off. Readers will learn how to:
  • create a fully functional "Go to" menu (table of contents, cover, and beginning)
  • embed a high-quality image to create a full-screen, native cover of a Kindle book
  • use Word's paragraph styles to achieve consistent formatting across different Kindle devices
  • format pictures, lists, formulas, tables, or poetry using Microsoft Word (or HTML)
  • troubleshoot fonts and font sizes in your Kindle book
  • create a logical table of contents (NCX) that will enable the use of the 5-way button on a Kindle device (to skip through sections in your ebook)
  • convert your Kindle ebook to the NookBook format and put it up for sale on the Barnes & Noble website
  • and more...
In addition, the document contains an HTML template for a Kindle book.

Devices discussed: 1st generation Kindle (Kindle 1), Kindle 2, Kindle 3 (Kindle Keyboard), Kindle 4, Kindle 5, Kindle 7, Kindle DX (old and new one), Kindle Touch, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage, Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Fire HDX, and Fire HDX 8.9"

Software discussed: MobiPocket Creator, MobiPocket Reader, Kindle Previewer 2.5, Kindle Previewer 2.7, Kindle Previewer 2.94, Kindle Previewer for Mac, KindleGen 1.2, KindleGen 2.3, KindleGen 2.9, W3C Validator, GIMP, IrfanView, KDP Cover Creator beta, KDP converter, Calibre, Calibre e-book viewer, Sigil, InDesign Plug-in, Notepad++, Notepad, TextCrawler, Fraise, TextWrangler, TextEdit, Clean HTML Word Macro from Toxaris,, KindleUnpack, KindleStrip, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Word 2007, Microsoft Word 2008, Microsoft Word 2010, Microsoft Word 2011, Microsoft Word 2013, Kindle for PC, Kindle for Windows 8, Kindle for Mac, Kindle for iPad, Kindle for iPhone, Kindle for Android, and Kindle Cloud Reader

Formats discussed: Kindle Format 8 (KF8, AZW3), Kindle Format 6 (KF6 or Mobi7, MOBI, PRC, AZW), MobiPocket (PRC), Smashwords MOBI, Calibre MOBI, Calibre AZW3, EPUB, fixed layout (KF8, AZW3), and Kindle for iOS (AZK)

Product Details

  • File Size: 3008 KB
  • Print Length: 248 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: KDP; updated edition (May 10, 2015); original edition (December 15, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GHN7WQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #369,746 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a simple how to for kindle publishing June 9, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I can't believe that no one has done anything as simple and straightforward as this before - but after digging through heaps of reviews of books priced up to $9.99 this little 99c job seems to be what I was looking for all along! Thank you!
Publishing on the Kindle is not that simple - and I am very conversant with html and CSS (I develop websites). Amazon's own software is difficult to use. The approach detailed here is simple enough for anyone who can read and follow instructions to understand
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Half rant, half outdated and convoluted instructions March 17, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Like another reviewer said, the first half of the book is a long and winding rant about why self-publishing is stupid. The second half? Poorly written, outdated, and unecessarily long instructions that won't do the job.

You can get much better, shorter, and. more up to date instructions on Amazon's own website. Save the 99 cents--the book's a waste of time.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the Money January 2, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is short and sweet and the intro alone is well worth the cost of admission. The author presents some interesting statistics on ePublishing that you can view in the sample "Look Inside" above. But in spite of that dose of reality, the author is generous with illustrated info needed to get you going. I took him up on his offer in the "Look Inside" to try the book for free, and after just skimming through it, I went back immediately and bought it. I was not set up to read Kindle format, and he even walks you through how to download the Kindle App for PCs. Throughout the book he also tells you where to get the free tools or additional info you will need for the step he is showing.

If you plan to ePublish, you owe it to yourself to add this to your arsenal.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By Far The Best! A Must Have For Kindle Authors. January 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've purchased many "self-help" books, visited dozens of websites and haunted blogs on this topic, not to mention the KDP Forum - and Nikolai Shevchuk's tutorial is the most current, straightforward source of information. The writing style is simple and direct. The organization is great, placing ideas in the order you need them. So far, all his suggestions have been correct and workable on my PC with Win 7 and IE9. His help with Mobi Pocket Creator has been invaluable. I've been stymied for over a year, but now I'm looking forward to self-publishing some technical monographs on Kindle, especially now that Kindle Fire allows color pictures - as do the Kindle Apps for PC, etc.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Negative and hopelessly convoluted May 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
After reading the introduction, I almost trashed this little pamphlet! Why should I read about publishing Kindle books from someone who has just told me how stupid I am for even thinking about doing it? I'm sure I don't think publishing Kindle books is a get rich scheme, but neither do I think it is a waste of time. I just want some guidance on the complexities of formatting them correctly. My goals may be entirely different from what the author is trying to destroy. I'm still mystified by this approach to introducing a book. It's like saying, "You're a fool for believing in God, but let me show you how to construct good prayers!"

Okay, once the author actually gets to his subject, more doubts arise. I'm reading this on my Kindle Touch, which I dearly love, but the formatting of this book is impossible to use on this format. Screen shots are unreadable. Side notes in different and smaller fonts are difficult to read. So, I'm getting advice on formatting my book for a Kindle from a book that isn't formatted so that I can read it easily on my Kindle? Something is seriously wrong here.

Since I am still looking for guidance on Kindle formatting, I can't say how accurate the content is. But, the presentation is overwhelming with technical details of delving into HTML formatting, with advice to ignore Amazon's guidelines, and numerous "side notes which you can ignore." There is nothing simple about this approach. I dabble in HTML coding for specific uses, but if I have to go into the detail suggested by this book, then I may never publish! And, I can't remember the last time I had to go into my computer's command line to run programs, as the author recommends here. All I can say is that this seems like an extremely daunting approach to formatting ebooks.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful February 16, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a useful ebook to be sure. That said, my preference would have been even more practical content and less condescending to the reader. The material starts with an unnecessarily long diatribe about how one will not make any money in epublishing. Fine. My guess is that most, like me, are not expecting to get rich producing our little ebooks; we simply want the freedom to have complete creative control. Once in the material there are several places where the author suggests that the reader is not smart enough to use a particular piece of software (e.g., Notepad++) or read and understand the documentation provided by Amazon.

Again, the core technical material is very useful, however, this would have been a far more enjoyable product had the author just stuck to practical application and left the editorializing about Amazon and assuming the worst of the reader's intellectual abilities for conversations with drinking buddies.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not worth the .99 May 7, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As others have noted, this book begins by trying to discourage you from writing an ebook at all. It goes on and on about how nobody makes it as an ebook author. After reading this, who would want to write anything? The second part of the book goes on to show you how difficult it is to format your book for Kindle. Long instructions on HTML. This book is not worth the .99 cents. A far better book is "How to Format: The Perfect Kindle Book in One Hour" by Emmanuel Aroms. It shows just how easy it can be to get things done right, using free open source software.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
As Advertised
Published 3 months ago by Demetrius Nobel
5.0 out of 5 stars Formatting of Kindle Books: a Brief Tutorial
When I was first trying to figure out how to format a Word 2007 doc for conversion to a Kindle ebook I went to the Kindle forums, then searched the web for tips. Read more
Published 5 months ago by amzfan
3.0 out of 5 stars Some decent instruction, but WAY too much repetition
I loved the first section of this book, which goes on at some length about how low the odds are of making any significant money through self-publishing. Read more
Published 11 months ago by K. Bunker
1.0 out of 5 stars outdated and wrong
Save yourself the time and ramblings of someone that can't write. Do a fast Google search for better information. Horrible...
Published 12 months ago by Bon Kline
4.0 out of 5 stars very helpful
Very helpful, especially for those new to self publishing. Instructions were clear and concise. Yet another resource for authors. Thanks!
Published 13 months ago by Ava/SP
5.0 out of 5 stars Not brief but brilliant!
So we decided to publish a Kindle book and knew that there would be a learning curve. Having heard that it could take days or even weeks to figure it out, I went to the KDP forums... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Tara L. Jacobsen
5.0 out of 5 stars The Introduction Alone is Worth It.
The introduction of this book had me rolling in the floor laughing. Okay, maybe not literally rolling in the floor, but it had me laughing out loud. Literally. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Bo Crawford
4.0 out of 5 stars formatting of kindle books
Very good it covered things the other how to e books didn't. Excellent good information on details of formatting. keep up the good work.
Published 21 months ago by john wendland
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked the content hated the discouraging introduction
Nice book but starts by bursting the readers faith in the e-book market
reading the book I thought why this introduction to a book that teaches
you to format an... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Paul Morrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful rant
Liked the rant in the introduction. It was a rare contrary opinion to the normal hype and arm waving. Read more
Published 22 months ago by D. Fuller
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Topic From this Discussion
transfer kindle books
If the book has the "lending" feature enabled, then you can use that feature to lend the book to your wife. If not, there is not a legal way to do this, but if you switch Kindles for a week or two, nobody is going to file charges against you two.
Apr 5, 2013 by Charles G. Spender |  See all 2 posts
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