Mark, much as I hate to admit it, I never did get Kindle format/downlaod to work right on my last ebook. And kindlegen made a brain hurt. I think it's an Apple OS issue with file compression. Last time I suggested this here I was generally dismissed as an idiot, but file compression for Mac OS doesn't work the same way as Windows and Kindle download (for me) was always screwey. Watch out for cover jpeg integration in particular.
I finally just threw up my hands, begged for help, and one of the KDP techs fixed and downloaded the ebook for me, and even then some of the formatting did odd little things with indents, paragraphs, and in particular, page breaks.
I agree epub with Pages files is a easy and transparent; and others seemed to handle the Pages>export to Word>kindle download without problems. Take a look at smashwords.com. I've got an ebook there and they distribute in all formats, including kindle, epub and epub for Mac. If nothing else, reading their exhaustive Style Guide formatting directions can be very informative even if you don't place a book with them.
Brian here is an update to my workings on the conversion. I was able to complete my first conversion from Mac Office 2011 tonight. It went well considering I had to make some formatting changes after my designer did his work. My TOC didn't work, the cover wasn't selectable but did show up. Captions were not as formatted.
I used the save as HTM function and then copied the files for the HTM into the kindlegen folder on my user home directory. This was the only way for kindlegen to access convert the HTM file. I will be researching the issues tomorrow morrning and fixing them.
I write books in Pages and publish them on Kindle. This is how I do it.
All the creating and editing is done in Pages, my favourite word processor. This 'Master' copy is in 12-point double-spaced Courier, with margins set to deliver a consistent 250 words to the page and a single line header, containing the title, my surname and the current page number. That is a typical layout for a submission to a publisher - but it is also an ideal layout for heavy editing, which is why I use it.
Having done all that work, I make a 'Kindle Trim' copy. This is in 12-point single-spaced Times New Roman, with the margins set to Word's defaults and the header removed. The title page is replaced by the final book's 'Front Matter' pages (title, copyright notices, dedications etc. The 'Kindle Trim' copy is then saved as a Word document (.doc, NOT .docx - Kindle won't thank you for a .docx document).
I then save the Word copy as a web page. Depending on the version of Word you have, this means selecting 'Web Page (filtered) or ensuring that the encoding is set to Western European (Windows). This is the Html file.
I convert the Html file to Kindle's MOBI format with Calibre, a free download available in Mac, Windows and Linux versions. It does the same job as Mobipocket Creator in Windows, but is, in my opinion, a much better program, and easy to use — unlike Kindlegen. Like Mobipocket, it allows you to include a cover. This produces the MOBI file, which you upload to Kindle Direct Publishing for publication.
All being well, the process should be seamless. If it isn't, the chances are that your file became corrupted somewhere along the line. If this happens, you need to go back to the 'Master' document and resave it as plain text — then repeat the process thereafter.
Although it sounds complex, it isn't really. I have only had to go back and save one of my five books as plain text and that was because I had been chopping and changing it for years and even using several different word processors. No wonder the file became corrupted.
Hope this helps.
Thank you for giving us the information that you have posted. I have been working on an eBook for awhile but am having great difficulty in getting it to output properly in MobiPocket Creator. I have both a MAC and a PC. I would prefer to use the MAC and Pages.
The only difficulty I am having with the PC and Mobi - is establishing the "start" and the Table of Contents. How do you do this in Pages. I presently have a Word 2010 .doc and a hand made Table of Contents, but when I try and use the "guide" settings in Mobi - it comes up with an error.
If I can do this in Pages it would be wonderful. How do you do the start and Table of Contents so that it works when they press "Table of Contents" in the tab on the Kindle?
What templae do you use for Pages to do your eBooks?
Any help you could provide would be great.
I actually use two templates, both of which I created myself in Pages. The first is the 'Master' template in which the book is created and edited. With A4 paper size selected, the margins are 2.54cm (top and bottom) and 2.85cm (left and right). Working in double-spaced 12-point Courier (the traditional typewriter font) this delivers a consistent average of 250 words per page. Courier is the ugliest font in the world, but it has a very significant saving grace. It is not proportionally spaced. This means that the letters sit slightly further apart than they do with the likes of Times New Roman, which makes errors much easier to spot on screen. The word count is done the traditional way because word processors' word counts are hopelessly unreliable (textually identical Word and Pages documents, I have discovered, have word counts miles apart). With 250 to the page, four pages is a thousand words. Simple.
Apart from the title page, which has its own layout within the same margins, the layout is a single paragraph indentation of 1.27cm (half an inch) and a single header, containing the title / my surname / and the current page number. I use sections to ensure that Chapter One starts on Page 1. Although there is a footer, I leave it blank. Chapter headings are centred and emboldened and each chapter ends with a hard page break. Widow and orphan prevention is disabled because that interferes with the word count. Do not justify. Left align everything except headings. I also find it very useful to bookmark each chapter.
Once the book is written and thoroughly edited (which involves printing it out and going through it multiple times with highlighters, both forwards and backwards), it is ready for the 'Trim' version.
The 'Trim' template is also A4, but changes the margins to 2.54cm (top and bottom) and 3.17cm (Left and Right), which is Word's default layout, even though I am still working in Pages. The header is no longer needed, so I leave it blank. The font is changed to single-spaced 12-point Times New Roman and the paragraph indent is reduced to 0.3cm. As before, Widows and Orphans are disabled and text is not justified. Each chapter still ends with a hard page break. The 'Trim' copy also includes 'Front Matter' pages (title page, copyright notices, dedications etc.) each separated by a hard page break. The same applies if you include 'End Matter' pages (bibliography, glossary etc.) Although the 'Master' copy has chapters beginning part way down the page, the Kindle's small screen looks better if they start right at the top.
I don't do a table of contents because Kindle does not do pages (small 'p' - not Pages). Instead, it is the electronic equivalent of a scroll and it indicates how far through you are as a percentage, and the 'go to' feature works in 'locations'. TOCs, therefore, tend to end up just as a list of chapters. There is an endless debate in the Kindle forums on the best way to do a table of contents. My own opinion is the best way is to avoid it if you can. As I only number my chapters, I don't see the need. I write novels, of course. If I were doing reference works, it would be a different matter. The 'Trim' version is, essentially, a reformat of the completed 'Master' copy.
I now save the 'Trim' version as a Word document (.doc, not .docx - Kindle doesn't like the latter). Because it is already laid out to Word's default setting, it is seamless. Kindle is set up to expect a Word document and will set its own margins and justification, so use the defaults, lest you confuse it. Resave the Word version as Html. I use Word 2008, which involves clicking 'Save as Web Page' in the file menu and ensuring that the encoding is set to Western European (Windows). I believe in Word 2010 you select 'Save as Web Page (filtered)'. When the Html version appears (it looks like a long scroll with very wide lines, feed it through Calibre (a much nicer program than Mobipocket - and it comes in a Mac version) to produce the MOBI file that you will upload to Kindle Direct Publishing. Like Mobipocket, Calibre allows you to include a cover. It is also a free dowload (just Google Calibre and you will find it).
That is complicated, I know, but it is easier to do than to read.
All the very best with your efforts. Let me know when you are published and I will buy a copy. Kindle pays the best royalties in the industry - up to 70%.
There are different forms of .zip files but I believe that OSX uses a bog standard version. I've never encountered any PC users who could not open them. The other way round yes. Windows is full of weird and wonderful compression variations, mostly pointless and which only exist to scam some money out of you.
It occurs to me that maybe the problem Kindle is reporting is that Pages files are actually a zipped package.
They maybe getting these from Pages users who naïvely believe they can just give their .pages files to others to read despite most people not having Pages. Definitely not PC users as there is no Windows version of Pages.
It would be good to get better details from the Kindle support. Too often they really have little idea and assume Macs are some alien species with 2 heads.
Sorry, it's just a normal page break. I was probably subconsciously going back to our earlier conversation where the Html version in Text Edit ignored the page breaks. The crucial point was that all the 'Front Matter' and 'End Matter' pages, and all the chapters must be separated by page breaks, otherwise Kindle will run them all together, and that looks bad..
I mean double-spaced lines, so that there is a gap between them. This is particularly useful during the editing process, when working with a printout on paper, because it leaves room for annotations and alterations between the lines as well as in the margins.
Since submitting my original post, I have discovered that KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) has begun to reject submissions converted via Calibre. They will, however, convert a Word Html file or even an ordinary Word (.doc) file for you and save you the trouble. I still use Calibre for myself when making a Kindle copy as part of the editing process, but the actual upload is Word.
Nook. If you are a US citizen, you can sign up directly with Barnes and Noble to produce ebooks for Nook. If you are not, you have to go via a US-based agency, such as Smashwords or Lulu. If directly signed-up, Nook uses ePub files. Pages will export an ePub file directly, so there is no problem there. To check it for yourself prior to upload, you need an ePub reader, such as Adobe Digital Editions (a free download from the Adobe website). If going via Smashwords or Lulu, submit a Word file (.doc for Smashwords, .docx for Lulu) and take particular heed of their formatting instructions, which are precise and comprehensive.
Thank you for your help. I have a book already published at Apple Store. I created it with iBook Author. It is in color, full of picutres and sketches. Do you think I should cut and past in pages, transform into ePub and it would work? I'm afraid the pictures will ruined.
I'm trying to publish on all e Reader myself, Is it worthwhile using smash words? Have you used Adobe CS6, web page format? If I buy CS6, would I be able to create a documents compatible to all e Readers?