Create an experimental electronic artist book for Kindle. Using the Manga/Comic/Graphic Novel example provided as part of Kindle Format 8 Publishing Tools to create the electronic version of Gone Awry.
Use KindleGen and Kindle Previewer to create the electronic edition and check quality. The linux version of calibre is used to check the generated .mobi file, and to tag and edit metadata. Then, upload the generated .mobi file to the Kindle Direct Publishing web-app, and fill in all rest of the metadata in a browser.
From the web app, publishing it on Amazon is easy.
Amazon’s current proprietary format is: Kindle Format 8, or KF8. The file extension is .mobi. The Amazon specifications are in: Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines.
Parts of this also use OPF, the packaging for epub.
Target Display Hardware
Some key data points about display resolution of select current-model e-readers. Plan is to only support color, high-resolution devices.
- Kindle Fire HD 7″ resolution is 1280 x 800 x 216 ppi8.9″ resolution is 1920 x 1200 x 254 ppi
- Nexus Tablets 7″ resolution is 1920 x 1200 x 323 ppi (WUXGA, 1.6), 10″ resolution is 2560 x 1600 x 300 ppi (WQXGA, 1.6)
- iPad 7″ resolution is 1024 x 768 x 163 ppi (XGA, 1.3), 9.7″ resolution is 2048 x 1536 x 264 ppi (QXGA, 1.3)
Versus layout for Gone Awry.
- Print (19 x 13, 1.46)
- ebook 1 (19.2 x 12, 1.6)
- kindle publishing guidelines for fixed layout (1024 x 600 or 1536 x 900 zoom, 1.7)
Image Sizing and Aspect Ratio
First, resize existing .svg base documents in inkscape to the correct aspect ratio. For this project, the aspect ratio is 1.6. Thus, inkscape page sizes are changed from 19 x 13 inches to 19.2 x 12 inches.
This file is then exported as a transparent bitmap, at 2560 x 1600 @ 300dpi.
Next step is to process it in CS6 Photoshop on Mac OS X. The following transforms:
- Image->Image Size to 2560 x 1600
- File->Save As jpeg, 9, 10, 11 qualities, but adjust to hit below 800k
Re-write example to suit Gone Awry, based on prototyping with a DocBook 5.0 XML form to generate the beginning HTML. Take this, edit the .opf and .ncx files to create a manifest and a table of contents/touch list, and bundle it up with the toplevel “images” directory such that the resulting filenames in the generated “gone-awry.opf” file are correct.
Kindle (KF8) doc
Unpack kindle binaries on linux, and run on the master list of files (the .opf file) as:
kindlegen gone-awry-v2.html -c0 -verbose gone-awry.opf
That should chug along, spewing a bunch of information. Pay attention, and fix any issues. The last bit of information before a successful creation of the .mobi file is related to the file size, and download time. Something like:
Info(prcgen):I1041: The file format version is V8 Info(prcgen):I1032: PRC built successfully Info(prcgen):I15000: Approximate Standard Mobi Deliverable file size : 0019466KB Info(prcgen):I15001: Approximate KF8 Deliverable file size : 0019526KB
From this, one can make back-of-the-envelope calculations about the royalty rates. For 70% royalties, the publisher must pay Amazon $0.15 per 1MB of .mobi file delivered. Thus, for a 40MB file, the delivery charge would be $6. So, the price would have to be more than this to break even. For 30% royalties, there is no delivery fee so pricing could feasibly drop below $6.
The final book looks like “Gone Awry Kindle Edition” on Amazon’s marketplace.
Future work would be to shift to SVG containers, improving text legibility by un-rasterizing the text or presenting a vector text layer, and look at ways to add “scroll anchors” such that a “page flick” motion would speed through the next couple of pages before alighting on the specified anchor.
Some notes from 2011 on self-publishing.
A Digital Shift: Libraries, Ebooks and Beyond. Corey Doctorow, Library of Congress, 2013