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Putting Images on Kindle

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Initial post: May 11, 2011 8:56:36 AM PDT
bill yancey says:
DIY: IMAGES on Kindle!!

Learn from others' mistakes - you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

Okay, I figured it out, at least to my satisfaction. It isn't easy and it takes a lot of time.

I have a book I just published on Kindle (Download sample: What Your Doctor Won't Tell You About Your Lower Back, if you are interested, or if you are having back pain as well as image problems).

It has 203 line drawings, mostly anatomy and cartoons, in black and white.

These are images that I drew and vary in size from 2" x 3" to 8" x 10".

I had great difficulty getting the pictures to stay where I placed them when changing the document from *.doc to *.html (Web page, filtered) using Microsoft Word 2003.

I read in these forums somewhere where things would work better if the images were in a 540 pixels by 622 pixels (2.7" x 3.11", if 200 pixels per inch; or 1.8" x 2.1", if 300 pixels per inch, DPI) format or some ratio in those proportions. That makes sense since those sizes mirrors the Kindle screen proportions. I also read here that they should be 300 DPI (dots or pixels per inch, I think).

Someone suggested that I should rotate the image 90 degrees to the right if the ratio was much wider than tall. This would make it easier for the viewer to view the image using the Kindle rotated to the right.

So, I started to re-size and rotate the images using Adobe Photoshop Elements. Four hours later, after having done the resizing of 1/4th of my images and not having re-inserted them into the text, I gave up. Well, I took a break and said there had to be a better way. There is.

I did not want to learn HTML coding, or all the finer points of any new software. I wanted to publish a book. Also, I didn't want to spend a lifetime redoing it. I read in these forums about two pieces of software that might help: SIGIL ( and CALIBRE ( Both are donate-ware, or as I say: free until they prove their worth. Both have.

SIGIL will take your document in *.html and change it to *.epub, where it can be published in a number of different e-readers. Unfortunately, it won't convert your document to *.prc, just *.epub. Calibre will convert documents of all different types to other types; it will change that *.epub to *.mobi, which will upload to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) just like *.prc. You could upload your manuscript to Amazon as *.epub, but with it in *.mobi you can look at it first by using the virtual Kindle on your computer. Also Amazon suggests that *.mobi handles images better than other formats. Having no experience with most formats, I'll have to defer to them.

A caveat: at times SIGIL doesn't work well with large documents. You can make your images and captions show up EXACTLTY as you want by putting in chapter breaks before and after images and captions, but after you reach 100 breaks SIGIL stops working. I spent an hour thinking I had found the solution to my problem before I found that out.

Also, my manuscript is about 50MB in length in *.doc form. If I tried to highlight a word to make a change at the beginning of the document in SIGIL, the program scanned the entire document for some reason. I thought the computer had locked up. The program adds and subtracts spaces quickly enough, but don't try to copy and paste in a big document. It makes more sense to insert section breaks first. After dividing my document into 18 chapters, the copy and paste happened a lot faster within each section.

Also, you can't move images in SIGIL. You can delete them, and you can add them from an outside file, but you cannot <CTRL>-X, then <CTRL>-V, paste them. I had to get pretty inventive with text cutting, pasting, and section breaks when some images showed up in the wrong chapters. Best thing to do is make certain the images are in the right place in your *.html version before opening it in SIGIL. In fact, the *.doc and *.html version should be as nearly perfect as possible, before you open the document in SIGIL.

All the editing you do in SIGIL is for naught if you find a large area that has to be corrected in *.doc or *.html. When you have to make the changes in the *.doc or *.html document and reopen it in SIGIL, none of the changes you made to the SIGIL document will be there because SIGIL can only save to *.epub format.

After playing with images and the virtual Kindle, it was obvious that Kindle will force any size picture onto its screen. They do not need to be 300 dpi; most of mine were scanned in at 200 DPI. I have drawings that are 2" x 4" and drawings that are 8" x 10" and everything in between. They all show up completely on the Kindle screen - at least on the virtual Kindles on my computer and Ipod. They are all B&W, but I don't see why this would not hold for color images, too.

However, if the images are not close to the 540 pixel x 622 pixel size, which matches the Kindle screen ratio of width to height, blank space will be introduced below the picture.

I think this makes sense. If my initial image is 7.6" wide x 4.5" high, that is a ratio of about 1.9, width to height. The 540 pixel wide x 622 pixel high ratio of the Kindle comes out to 0.87, width to height. When the Kindle puts my image on its screen, it shows the entire width of the picture as drawn, but in resizing the image (stretching it side-to-side to fit the screen) it has to add some blank space to the bottom in order to maintain the original proportions for the height of the image. In this particular case it has added almost as much white space to the bottom of the image as the image is tall. Otherwise the image would be a very skinny version of my drawing. This added blank space shows up under the image, within the text at the top of the next page. Some of my captions appear directly under the image, some on the top of the next page, some halfway down the next page, even though in my original document they are all directly below the image. But, they all appear in the correct order now. If I had made the caption part of the image, this would not be a problem, but then I would not have been able to change the captions as easily.

If I take the time to re-size every picture, I may improve the format of the virtual images. When I have a lot more time, I may play with that. It may be that I will have to use a square format 540 pixel x 540 pixel, leaving the last 82 pixels on the page for the caption. I intend to play with that later, too. It is time consuming to work with all three programs to see what works.

To insure that my images are started on a new page, I initially used SIGIL to put section breaks before and after the images. Works great. They don't move around within the text. But SIGIL doesn't tolerate more than 99 section breaks. And the blank space was still introduced when my image ratio was wider than long. Now, I put four line returns <ENTER> before each image, put the caption directly under the image, and then four line returns after the caption to isolate the image and its caption. The caption is not part of the image, it is within the text. *.mobi fomat for Kindle removes any excess white space.

I had to add a couple images in the SIGIL version because WORD changed them so badly when saving my document as an HTML file. This is relatively easy to do, using smaller versions of my images. I use Photoshop Elements to re-size images. Very easy to do. It would make sense to check all your images in *.html before starting to insert the line returns. I didn't check and was ¾ the way through the document before I found the corrupt images. Fortunately, it was much easier to insert new images than to start over after 150 images corrected.

After saving my SIGIL document as *.epub, I opened it in Calibre. In Calibre, I loaded the new book and converted it to *.mobi format. Using the virtual Kindle on my computer I checked everything. When it looked good, it was uploaded to Amazon as *.mobi.

Obviously, I have only a superficial knowledge of both SIGIL and Calibre. I only use them as I have described, which suits my purposes. I didn't want to learn any more than necessary in order to accomplish my goal - getting a book full of images onto Kindle.

There are experts out there who known a lot more about Kindle, SIGIL, and Calibre than I do. If you are an expert, I would welcome your critique of this "DIY" instruction, and any improvements you can suggest.

Also, there may be easier ways of accomplishing the task of putting images on Kindle. I would certainly like to hear about them if there are.

If you happen to look at my book sample (What Your Doctor Won't Tell You About Your Lower Back) to see how the images turned out, you will see the captions on the next page after the image almost every time. Also, for some reason, the page justification varies from left justified to full justification erratically, almost imperceptibly. I can't figure out why. If someone knows, please tell me. As far as I can tell, the *.doc, the *.html, and the *.epub were all left justified. Calibre may have changed that somehow.

To summarize:

Write in Word, save as *.doc.

Take the best edited *.doc version and save in Word as *.html (web page, filtered).

Fix anything that went wrong in the conversion from *.doc to *.html (rearrange images, etc.). Save again as *.html (web page filtered). Recheck and repeat as needed.

Download SIGIL. Upload *.html document into SIGIL. Make corrections. Save as *.epub.

Download Calibre. Upload *.epub document into Calibre. Convert to *mobi. Repeat as often as necessary by going back to SIGIL and *.epub version. Save final *.mobi version.

Upload *.mobi version to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

Feedback gratefully accepted. Thanks

Bill Yancey

BTW, I found it was easier to scan a table as a *.jpg image, than to let the editors mess up the formatting.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2012 4:24:26 AM PST
Rangitira says:
Thanks Bill - just the practical info I need to get started on converting an A5 book I have already in PDF form.
I print these off on my colour laser and use a perfect binding method I've adapted from a helpful online description.
It has a lot of images so it'l be a while before I get the job done.
At least, with your very welcome document's advice, I now know how to tackle the job.
Many thanks,
Don Perham

Posted on Feb 18, 2012 4:42:13 AM PST
Wow, this was very informative. Like you, I've spent hours trying to force images into the text so I could offer illustrated versions of my fantasy series but inevitably (using only html) the images got misaligned, etc. I had just about given up on the concept until I read your post. Now I'll go back and see if I can make it work. Thanks! Good luck with your book.

Posted on Feb 18, 2012 6:27:21 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 18, 2012 6:28:20 AM PST
K. Rowley says:
There are a number of books out there that detail how to format material for ebooks, some touch on both text and graphics and a few just on graphics.. Here's one that I found doing a quick seach..

Graphics on the Kindle (both Kindle 1 and Kindle 2)

I was interested in such things when I first got my Kindle (I do illustrations) and wanted to experiment and see what I needed to do to create images for the e-ink displays - but then I found out that Amazon doesn't allow you to put your own screensaver images on the Kindles - so that pretty much killed the desire to experiment. Never did buy or download any of the books I saw on the subject, so I can't recommend any good ones.

Posted on Jun 6, 2012 5:45:03 AM PDT
I'm missing something. How do you put drawings on a doc. to begin with. I'd like to add illustrations to my ebook but I'm stuck. Thanks, Dorothea

Posted on Jun 6, 2012 3:03:45 PM PDT
bill yancey says:

The illustrations have to be in the Word document, before you try to convert it to a Kindle document. See your Word instructions on how to import images.


Posted on Jun 11, 2012 12:06:53 AM PDT
Nikki Angel says:
I was able to get the images in my file just fine, but I had issues adding space to the top of the page above the image (space below was too small as well)...can anyone think of a trick to fix that?

Note: I wrote the file in Word, place in an InDesign file, then converted to a *.mobi file for kindle

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 4:19:51 AM PDT
Rangitira says:
If you have either CorelDraw ot Illustrator, you could import the image and place it over a suitably sized white rectangle.
Then export the image as JPEG and then crop the result in Corel Photopaint or PhotoShop to give the white space top & bottom that you want.
And while you have the image in CorelDraw or Illustrator you could add a text caption to the white space below the image.

Posted on Jun 11, 2012 4:48:32 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2012 5:14:38 AM PDT
bill yancey says:
Probably the best way to get answers to formatting, images, and other questions about Kindle publishing would be to look in the Kindle Publishing Forum or Kindle Help Forum. This discussion (which I started) is in the wrong forum. Go to Kindle Publishing or Kindle Help Forum and use the SEARCH box. These questions have all been asked before -- and answered. They have also been answered here: Amazon KDP » Support Home » Forums Home » Ask the Community » Formatting

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 2:51:12 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2012 2:51:45 AM PDT
Arsene Lupin says:
Why should it be so difficult to rotate a picture? Apple would have figured out away to simply grab a corner and rotate it 90 degrees.
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Discussion in:  Kindle Book forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  10
Initial post:  May 11, 2011
Latest post:  Jun 15, 2012

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