New bugs in Kindle for PC app

Amazon recently updated the Kindle for PC app and alas two bugs have appeared. The first is that the app no longer defaults to justifying body text as it did before, regardless of how you code your book. Previously, if one left the text-align value out of the relevant CSS or if you coded in “text-align:justify;” the app would justify the text; now everything displays aligned left and you get the jagged right margin. I have informed Amazon of the bug, and they have responded that the technicians are now Read More …

Are we approaching the release of HR ebooks?

With the release of high-resolution devices from all the major manufacturers, I have been musing on the possible development of high-resolution ebooks developed specifically for this market. These devices demand not only larger images but also a rethink of how image-heavy content must be delivered: just as we now see movies delivered in both HD (Blu-Ray) for one market and in standard DVD format for those without an HD system, I expect that we will start seeing HR ebook files developed for the high-resolution device market and differentiated from standard Read More …

Kindle bug breaks NCX TOC

[UPDATE: January 2016: Amazon now allow for publishers to embed their book covers inside the file before upload to KDP; if you are using a jpeg title page, I would advise that you embed your cover. This way Amazon’s system will not mistake your title page for the cover. Note also that embedding your cover requires specific code. See the KDP guide for more information.] A client recently uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing a new book that I designed for him that had a jpeg image for its title page—a Read More …

The conumdrum that is Kindle font handling

UPDATED 11 June 2014 (NOTE: where I include code, the quotation marks should be straight quotes, not curly quotes. When I updated my WordPress site it began automatically using curly quotes, and I cannot find a way to stop it.) If you are designing a book for Kindle where the book uses only a single font, you do NOT include font definitions anymore. Amazon, in fact, now strip out such font definitions. This is because font definitions can prevent the user from selecting their preferred font. This article is for Read More …

Significant changes to Kindle image requirements

Updated 31 May 2014: Amazon have upped the maximum pixel limit again for ebook covers and are now asking for cover images to be “2820 pixels on the shortest side and 4500 pixels on the longest side” for best quality. Maximum file size is still 5MB. Minimum pixel dimensions for covers are 625 x 1000 pixels. This new size strikes me as overkill. The highest resolution device that Kindle produces is 2560 pixels; why would Amazon want 4500 pixels? Your guess is as good as mine. For internal images, the Read More …

Sony closing its eReader Store

Sony announced today that it is closing its eReader Store on 20 March 2014, removing yet another player from this highly lucrative environment. This is sad news for authors, who have lost another retail outlet, and sad for the industry, which has suffered from an unhealthy lack of competition from the beginning that can only worsen with the demise of yet another competitor. For Sony consumers there is some good news: Sony has made a deal with Kobo to continue serving Sony customers, who will be able to transfer their Read More …

Grammarly.com, or Why you shouldn’t rely on digital proofreaders

A few weeks ago I received an email advertisement from Grammarly.com, the new digital proofreading software that claims to “spare you the cost of hiring a proofreader.” Ironically, the email contained several errors (in bold for emphasis) that a skilled human copyeditor would have found. The email is as follows: You know better than most that putting your writing “out there” takes a tremendous amount of courage; readers will find and comment on even the simplest mistakes. At Grammarly we know the feeling – and we’ve made it our mission Read More …

CreateSpace relaxes rules about barcode placement

While working on a new book cover for a client, I discovered that CreateSpace has finally relaxed the rules about the placement of the barcode on the back cover of their print books. Previously, a blank space had to be left in the lower right-hand corner (as evidenced on their templates) into which CreateSpace added the barcode during pre-production. Designers were not left with the option to place the barcode anywhere else. Now, CreateSpace allows the placement of the ISBN/price barcode to be anywhere on the back cover, so long Read More …

B&N’s new Nook Press: a disappointing new platform

Barnes and Noble’s Nook platform has been struggling since its inception, and the company has revamped PubIt! into a new publishing platform, Nook Press, in the hope of bringing more indie authors on board. The new platform allows authors to write online, share their developing content with a select group of peers, and then publish their book as an allegedly viable ePub. The platform is akin to that of FastPencil’s, which, if I understand correctly, partnered with B&N to develop Nook Press. The new platform even allows authors to download Read More …