Thursday, July 09, 2009

Kindle Formatting

Kindle Formatting:
The Complete Guide
by Joshua Tallent

(CreateSpace / 1-440-48888-6 / 978-1-440-48888-7 / January 2009 / 158 pages / $19.95 / Kindle $9.99)

Let’s just jump right into the deep end of the pool and mention that Joshua Tallent’s Kindle Formatting: The Complete Guide has a couple of very small negatives. There are about ten common proofreading errors in the relatively small amount of text. I did not actually verify this number with a running count, and that should tell you how insignificant this issue is in this particular book. All of these are contained in the simple text portions of the book. None affect the technically significant portions, which brings us to the second weakness of Kindle Formatting. This is not a very helpful book for those novice authors who freak out at the sight of HTML, however, I did not expect it to be. That is precisely why I reviewed Michael Hicks’ how-to-Kindle book first in The Kindle Report. For the prospective Kindle author who is somewhat more advanced in the field of computers in general and HTML coding in particular, this is an excellent guide for you.

Joshua Tallent is obviously far more the mathematician and programming nerd than is the average POD author who just wants to cash in from Kindle sales. If you just want to convert the Word document version of your Mr. Average Novel into DTP, then you have several options that may be more efficient for you than following the instructions contained in this book. These options include, in no particular order of significance: uploading your book directly from Word into the Amazon DTP system; running your document through the Smashwords Meatgrinder; downloading and utilizing Mobipocket Creator; or paying Joshua Tallent directly to format your book perfectly for you, a service he offers from his website. If you have a very complex book containing varied text layout or a lot of photos or other graphics, and you want it all to look as perfect as possible in the Kindle version, then hiring Mr. Tallent’s services is probably your best bet. If you and/or your book fall between the cracks of some of these scenarios, then Kindle Formatting: The Complete Guide may be the best solution.

Kindle formatting is an exact science with a lot of human loopholes. Most of us write our books in Microsoft Word, but there are many other options that may be applicable. The Kindle DTP system chokes up like Powder Puff with a furball when it is fed a PDF document. The translation of a PDF to DTP should only be handled by a pro like Joshua or an experienced HTML wrangler with Joshua’s book next to his keyboard. There are so many delicate little decisions that go into the design of Dead Tree Books, as the Kindle fans like to call them, that we all take for granted. Most of these commonly printed elements of a book must be dealt with in a manner specific to themselves when converting the paper to DTP. There are countless things that might never enter your mind until you actually saw your book on a Kindle, and these are the same things that all PDF documents of printed books contain. If you are only a pseudo-nerd like me, you read blissfully through book after book without ever giving all those hidden little HTML codes a second thought. If you are a genuine nerd like Joshua, you may be fully aware of their existence, but you could certainly use a book like Kindle Formatting to speed up the complex process of making the Kindle version of your book look as perfectly professional as the paperback, or in Kindlese, DTB = DTP.

Is Joshua’s thin book worth $20 to you, or $10 if you have a Kindle? If you barely understood how to send your simple Word document to iUniverse, letting them design your cover while you contributed very little to your book’s design, then Kindle Formatting probably offers a lot more than you care to know. If you are somewhat more experienced, particularly with HTML programming, and you do not want to pay Joshua directly to do the job for you, but you want to produce a DTP version of your work that is somewhat more perfect than the result offered by the simpler methods, this will be money extremely well spent. Joshua will show you all the little so that’s how you do it! HTML coding tricks to make your Kindle book look like an escapee from your local Barnes & Noble. If you own a Kindle, you can get even more benefit from Joshua’s book because you can see the details of your efforts in perfect translation. One of my favorite issues covered in Kindle Formatting is that Joshua explains in text and screenshots actual differences between the Kindle and the Kindle 2. The book was released prior to the DX: maybe Joshua will update the material at some time in the future? Representing the most advanced installment of The Kindle Report, Joshua Tallent’s Kindle Formatting will take the experienced author exactly where he wants to go.

See Also: The BNN Review
Joshua Tallent's Website

No comments: