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Kindle Formatting: The Complete Guide To Formatting Books For The Amazon Kindle Paperback – January 24, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 158 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (January 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440488886
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440488887
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,005,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I was pretty disappointed by Joshua Tallent's "Kindle Formatting." It's an occasionally helpful intro for the true Kindle formatting novice (as I was when I picked up the book), but it falls seriously short as a detailed or ostensibly "complete" guide.

My main complaint is that it simply feels lazy. His treatment of images is a good example of this. In the one brief paragraph dedicated to discussing image types (.jpg, .gif, etc.), he says a few uninformative words about each of the file formats Kindle supports ("PNGs are very good for charts") and then concludes with, "I don't suggest using BMPs since the other formats are usually better." Oh, really? I'm glad to hear it's not because they're usually worse. When I'm wrestling with how to put an image with too much information on too small a screen, I want something a little more substantial than "I don't recommend it because it's not good." How about saying a little something about why?

Another explanation for cases like this might be that Tallent does not want to give away too many trade secrets. He obliquely mentions but never really describes all kinds of tricks that he uses in his own Kindle formatting services. I can understand his not wanting to write a treatise on the subject, and I can even understand wanting to preserve few painstakingly discovered tricks for himself, but I think readers of this small book (rather expensive at $20 for the print version and $10 for the Kindle version) deserve more than this extremely cursory treatment.

Again and again I have turned to this book with relatively simple questions only to come away frustrated. Google searches and some experimentation have served me much better.

A decent enough intro (although, again, much of this information can be found online and discovered for oneself through a little experimentation), but complete it certainly is not.
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Format: Paperback
For the prospective Kindle author who is somewhat more advanced in the field of computers in general and HTML coding in particular, this is an excellent guide for you. Joshua Tallent is obviously far more the mathematician and programming nerd than is the average POD author who just wants to cash in from Kindle sales. If you just want to convert the Word document version of your Mr. Average Novel into DTP, then you have several options that may be more efficient for you than following the instructions contained in this book. These options include, in no particular order of significance: uploading your book directly from Word into the Amazon DTP system; running your document through the Smashwords Meatgrinder; downloading and utilizing Mobipocket Creator; or paying Joshua Tallent directly to format your book perfectly for you, a service he offers from his website. If you have a very complex book containing varied text layout or a lot of photos or other graphics, and you want it all to look as perfect as possible in the Kindle version, then hiring Mr. Tallent's services is probably your best bet. If you and/or your book fall between the cracks of some of these scenarios, then Kindle Formatting: The Complete Guide by Michael R. Hicks may be the best solution. If you are at least somewhat proficient in HTML and you want to do it all yourself, then Joshua Tallent's Kindle Formatting is an excellent, detailed guide.

Is Joshua's thin book worth $20 to you, or $10 if you have a Kindle? If you barely understood how to send your simple Word document to iUniverse, letting them design your cover while you contributed very little to your book's design, then Kindle Formatting probably offers a lot more than you care to know.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It has a lot of good and helpful information, but most of it I had already discovered for myself before buying the book.

A book about formatting a book should be a well-edited book. This one is not. In addition to writing style and typographical issues, there are production issues, too. A figure (5.4) os the wrong figure, for example.

The book is supposed to explain all the "secrets." Not. For example, Kindle authors are told time and again that we have a default font and a mono-spaced code font and that's it. This book is published in a non-default sans serif font, and the author does not explain how he did it.

Are you interested in publishing formulae and equations? You get no help in this book.

I'd say buy another book, but I don't think there is another book on this suject. Perhaps that's why it's so pricey compared to other Kindle books.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The sole reason I bought this book was to find the code for inserting a "Buy Now" link into a Kindle book that would connect directly with the native Kindle Store rather than connect to the experimental web browser (which doesn't allow users to buy, only to add to their wishlist after a cumbersome log-in page).

I did an extensive Google search for the answer to this problem, and the only thing that kept coming up was Tallent's book. His website's product description says, "What information does Kindle Formatting have that you can't find anywhere else?" and then a list of features including, "How to create links to the built-in Kindle Store." Exactly what I needed.

So I paid the ten dollars, searched the book, found the section—and guess what? His link code was exactly what I'd already been trying with no success. It is a function that has apparently been disabled by Amazon. (And no, I'm not just doing it wrong. I work with the web for a living, and have a firm grasp of HTML and CSS. I double and triple checked, and even asked a friend who is a senior web developer to try again for me, because I was so desperate to get this to work.)

This is my first review in almost fifteen years of using Amazon, and my first return of a book ever. But I felt it necessary in case anyone else was thinking of buying this. Seriously: save yourself the ten or twenty dollars, and do a Google search instead. This book is seriously outdated, and not compliant with the current Amazon KDP store. Even if you're confused, you're better off without it.
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