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Kindle Formatting: The Complete Guide To Formatting Books For The Amazon Kindle Paperback – January 24, 2009
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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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.
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 This book is seriously outdated, and not compliant with the current Amazon KDP store.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.
I found the text easy enough for me to follow along with great examples so you can have your own "aha" moments and figure out how to do a particular task. My books were fairly straight-forward and this book released me from the hours of trying to find the right html code. FOr the more detailied books, say if you had tables and other items you are trying to format for the Kindle screen, there are sections for it, too.
Bottom line is this is a tremendous resource and worth every penny - that is, unless you like staying frustrated spending hours on Bing or Google searches in an effort to find out the answer!
If you are a complete beginner with just a plain text novel to format (and no experience with HTML), I really recommend Derek Canyon's Format Your eBook for Kindle in One Hour - A Step-by-Step Guide to start with. For someone with some HTML background and familiarity with web files and things like CSS, Joshua's book/code examples is a good choice.
Joshua's company does kindle formatting and is the choice for more complex ebooks (well worth the cost). If you can DIY your Kindle formatting, though, you'll save the 12-week wait to have it done.
Mr Tallent usefully discusses how to use Microsoft Word to prepare one's e-texts, but alas he fails to consider how its considerable search-and-replace functionality (let alone its powerful VBA program language) can be used to add the necessary HTML tagging directly. Instead, he limits himself to using Word's own bloated HTML output and then clearing the inevitable mess up aftewards with alternative search-and-replace functionality found in programs like Notepad++, a technique which, depending on the complexity of the text, may well prove more demanding in the long run.
So should you buy this book? Perhaps. Certainly an updated version will be worth purchasing if it maintains this quality of insight.