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My two best-selling books released in Kindle’s new fixed layout format — 7 Comments

  1. Amazing! Why didn’t Amazon tell us that’s its strange but clever little scheme for creating fixed layout ebooks. That means I can create reflowable and fixed-layout editions for Kindles with InDesign.

    * Reflowable. Send Amazon the epub 3 that ID creates and let them do a conversion.

    * Fixed-layout. Send the PDF that ID creates through KTC and the result to Amazon.

    It might be interesting to see a print book format significantly smaller than the usual 6×9 might be readable as a KF8 on smartphones.

  2. Just tried the app with a couple of previously published titles.

    PROS:
    1. Since it works with PDFs, I may be able to create ebooks for large screen Kindle devices and apps from legacy PDFs, meaning the ones I created years ago with Framemaker before ID matured enough.

    2. You can preview (sorta) with the app, although that’s not the same thing as viewing on the device itself. the .kpf file the app creates doesn’t open on anything. I tried email it to the Kindle app on my iPad and got this message instead:

    —-
    The following document, sent at 10:40 PM on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 GMT could not be delivered to the Kindle you specified:
    * My Nights Kindle 3.kpf

    The Kindle Personal Document Service can convert and deliver the following types of documents:
    Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx)
    Rich Text Format (.rtf)
    HTML (.htm, .html)
    Text (.txt) documents
    Archived documents (zip , x-zip) and compressed archived documents
    Mobi book
    —-

    Maybe they’f fix that. I’m not happy previewing on anything but the actual device or app itself.

    CONS:
    1. It keeps the PDF’s margins literally. For my older books, that means that a 6X9-inch book is centered on an 8.5×11-inch pages because that’s what Lightning Source once insisted on. That looks bad. I can probably use Acrobat to fix that. What I cannot fix as easily is the fact that my more recent books have different L&R margins depending on which is toward the spine. That lowers the quality of the result. The reading area keeps jumping. Epub doesn’t have that problem.

    2. The beta designation is apt. It’s buggy and clumsy. It doesn’t remember file save folders and saves sometimes fail.

    3. On the Amazon page, it claims that it displays on iPhones among others. Like you, I not only doubt that will be readable, I’ve tried a 6×9 book with iBooks fixed layout on my iPhone 5. The book does display, but the type is so small as to be illegible. That means ticked off buyers.

    CONCLUSION:
    Still a work in progress.

    QUESTIONS FOR DAVID:
    Judging by your two books, Amazon seems to make the web connection to the print version very poorly. There’s just a Print Replica remark without any actual link to the print edition.

    Q-1: Is Amazon promising to tie the print and “replica” editions together more closely in the future? Otherwise, these separately displayed editions are going to confuse readers. Books with print, regular Kindle and this ‘replica’ edition are going to be even more confusing. People will buy one thinking they are getting another. I also would rather Amazon sold the mobi and “replica’ versions as the same item. A digital book should be a digital book.

    I also dislike Amazon’s use of “Print Replica” for this format. That’s a poor choice of wording. Replicas are typically scanned editions of old books that look absolutely awful. Since this coming from a PDF file, that shouldn’t be true of these books. Why can’t they just say “fixed format.”

    I noticed the file sizes of your two books are huge: Almost 23 MB and over 13 MB. If Amazon charges their usual outrageous 15 cents per MB download fee, that would take a huge bite out of your income from the book. Selling it for $10 means you get $7, but Amazon standard download fee for it will be $3.45, almost half your income.

    Q-2: Is Amazon going to access that download fee on these Replica texts. If so, your real royalties will be only about 35%

    ON A SOAPBOX:
    This and the other app-created formats (comics and childrens) give me the impression that Amazon has been blindsided by the rise of epub and the more graphic-rich ebooks on other platforms. They threw together this PDF fix to cover that mistake and still haven’t added the format to their web-page linking between editions. All it all, it seems patched together and that leaves me wondering how long Amazon will support this format.

    I ask because about 13 years ago Amazon was selling Adobe PDFs as digital editions. I know because I created several PDF books for it. Then when the Kindle came along, Amazon quit selling PDFs. No apologies. No nothing. Now that have what is, in effect, a new PDF format. Will they drop it too?

  3. It seems like they take the .KDF file and convert that to their proprietary format. it’s the longest conversion to Kindle book times I have ever experienced. I have not heard what they actually use in the Kindle and Kindle apps.

  4. Q-1: I dont’know. Made mine a separate title, unlinked to the others so i could offer it under KDP Select. The Kindle reflow and the print book are tied together.

    Q-2: Yes, the download fee is substantial, but then the .KDP file is 27MB, so I’m not surprised. It’ll still probably beat the payment for KU or Prime readers.

  5. Pingback:How to send books to your Kindle | jean's writing

  6. Hello, I would suggest checking kitpdf.com online converter when in need to make pdf files to epub or mobi formats. More options available, upload files to see the results. Maybe it’s a good solution. Thanks!

  7. Hi Kate,

    The one problem is that it is never a good idea to convert a PDF to ePUB or MOBI. The fact that Kindle’s Textbook Creator does this is not a good thing. It’s a bad fixed layout Kindle book with no interactivity, no links, or nothing. Plus, it takes very good design work to produce a PDF which will be readable dropped into the low resolution world of Kindle. For Fixed Layout ePUB3s (FXL), the only solution on the market (unless you want to get into intensive coding) is InDesign CC 2014 or better [we’re now at 2014.2]. Even here, fixed layout ebooks need very careful work to produce the type large enough to actually read — even on an iPad or it’s equivalent. For smart phones, the small screen is going to make reading difficult no matter what you do, although laying it out landscape will help some.

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