Friday, December 9, 2011

Kindle Formatting

Kindle Formatting

When I purchased Joshua Tallent’s book Kindle Formatting The Complete Guide I assumed I was buying instruction along the same line as Elizabeth Castro’s EPUB Straight to the Point (Creating ebooks for the Apple iPad and other ereaders).

Well, duh, Joshua Tallent never promised to show me how to create a mobipocket book (specifically, unencrypted AZW for Amazon’s Kindle). He promised to teach me how to format a mobipocket book; then in the last two chapters, he did explain how to create a mobipocket book using Mobipocket Creator software. Nevertheless, what I was looking for was not the focus of his book, nor did he say it was; however, without realizing it, I had already completed the lion’s share of Kindle formatting for my book before I read Joshua Tallent’s book.

Last summer (2011) I began uploading my (now) four published books on the Smashwords website. For those of you who are interested, I posted a newsletter article on my website detailing how I turned the Quark typeset copies of my books into a Word.doc suitable for uploading to Smashwords. Here’s the link if you’re interested. The point of this article is to show the reader how, after using The Smashwords Style Guide, I had already accomplished the bulk of producing an .html version of River’s Bend suitable for uploading to the Mobipocket Creator. I merely modified my Smashwords version (the .doc file I uploaded to Smashwords), then saved it as a filtered web page. [Saving it as a filtered webpage put it in .html format.] There is no reason to reinvent the horse.

Of course, this only works if you have created a file for uploading to Smashwords. Some of you could also point out that the Smashwords’ meat grinder creates a mobipocket version of the book. True, but the problem is Smashwords and Amazon have not reached an agreement by which Smashwords distributes its mobipocket version of books to Amazon. That means if a reader wishes to download my book to his Kindle, he has to go to the Smashwords store. Many Kindle book buyers don’t want the hassle. They want to go to the Kindle store at Amazon. Their data is there, their payment history is there, they are sure what they are getting there, etc. Simply put, they are comfortable with Amazon and unfamiliar with Smashwords. Therefore, they won’t get involved with Smashwords even though the Smashwords store offers a plethora of reads they might be interested in perusing. So, until Smashwords and Amazon reach an agreement, I need to upload my books to Amazon's Kindle store.

Now, for those of you who don’t have a Smashwords file of your book, my first, albeit unsolicited, advice is to make one and upload it (no upfront costs, folks; Smashwords gets a small percentage of the sales). But even if you don’t want to get your books on Smashwords, don’t hesitate to use the Smashwords Style Guide to (properly) format your book into a Word.doc or, taking it one additional step, as I did, an .html document, before uploading to the Amazon DTP or to your downloaded Mobipocket Creator software. The Guide is free at the Smashwords website (You can download it in every format the Smashwords meat grinder can create your book in.), and you can certainly use it in conjunction with the Joshua Tallent book, which provides additional guidance unique to Kindle.

Now, speaking of “unique to Kindle,” I’m not quite done with Christmas decorating--much less shopping--but I’ve done a little poking around trying to uncover what files comprise the AZW-mobipocket book folder. I hope to have devoted lots of time to that effort by my next blog. Thanks for reading


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