Let me tell you ... at first I was scared and I didn't think Amazon was going to publish it ... the rules for adding audio and video aren't the most frequently detailed things on the Google-sphere ... but I was determined and I did it. So I'm writing here because i scoured this forum for help and all I got were the same mentions that Amazon was not publishing Audio Video from Indies ... meanwhile all us indies were getting the guidelines saying that you could!
First... the shameless plug: Scratch, a horror story, is what I call an audio companion ebook because it's not quite an audio book nor is it full audio theater. It has snippets of theater at the end of sections for the listener to hear what they just read with full sound effects to enhance the scary mood. Also a section or two that can be played during the read to enhance the experience. You can check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Scratch-ebook/dp/B0077YUVAQ
There...that done ... here's the break down of what I did:
1) Ignore the nay-sayers. They all got me sick and I refused to believe with HTML 5 and the updates that Amazon didn't want us all to make our stuff compete against IBooks exclusive crap. I want to publish to IBooks too but I dont want to have to own an expensive Mac to do it. Whatever...not here to fight with Mac users. Just giving us PC people a chance to shine.
2) The Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines will be your friend, lover and cut-buddy. You will respect it or die miserably. LOL... fact is,, requirements change so rapidly, the blog you read one truth from is updated faster in the guidelines. Use everything and finalize the truth through the guidelines.
3) If the KDP Guidelines is your main squeeze, Microsoft Word is your 'hoe. Your down girl. Your beeatch! You need them both to get straight! Don't fool yourself into thinking 'Wordperfect' or some other corny direction like, say ... INDESIGN. Amazon apparently built the latest Kindle 8-thingy around MS Word from TOC on down so get yer 'self your brothers cousins sisters copy of a copy of MS Office and love that too. I'm promising you... it all makes it easier for you. And I denounce Indesign as of this day forward. No i don't care about the Kindle Plugin ... I'll tell you why.
4) Because it's CORNY! I used the kindle plugin for indesign 5.5. Thought I was going to jazz up my layout by importing word and adding stuff on the fly. Used it ... ported over to the KindleGen and got errors up the butt hole! Can't find this. can't find that. It was a mess. So i chucked it day one.
Until all of this stuff gets streamlined, yes, you will have to do a great deal of manual labor. Process went like this:
a) Original novel in MSWord to basic EBook approved format (Hate to say it but SMASHWORDS has the most awesome manual for laying out an ebook at the initial stage. Get on it before Smashwords goes away. You and I both know it won't be long. I'll miss them though.)
b) Double back and ensure you covered the essentials: cover, start tags are super important as just minor examples. TOC and audio/video TOC (two separate TOC's) are made available. That's mentioned in the guidelines. Don't forget it!
c) Made sure all the bookmarks made in Word connect to where they gotta go.
d) Saved MSWord as a FILTERED HTML. Not just regular HTML. Must be FILTERED. So far I'm not telling you anything NOT written in the guide.
e) Used Dreamweaver to create and edit these files: scratch.htm (the filtered html work I just saved), toc.ncx file (a power list of ordered Navpoints of the table of contents that reflect EXACTLY whats written in the MSword TOC and the scratch.opf file which is a little bit muore complex with whats required.
In regards to the scratch.opf, I had to visit a few sites on proper format but they didn't cover what was necessary for adding audio and video ... so that brings you back to the Guidelines which will cover exact code that needs to be included.
f) Same for the scratch.htm file as well. proper <audio> <video> coding is crucial and it's in the guide as well. You must do it the way they shown it because as of this date, not everyone has devices with audio/video capabilities. So if the device doesnt have it, it gives a notice.
I took the extra step of having links to external YouTube files of the same audio and video. so if you can't see the embedded stuff, the link right below it allows you to click out and listen on YouTube. Not my own servers or website because i wanted something stable that won't go anywhere. I made the links in the book exclusive to only people who read the book as opposed to allowing the links to be found publicly. I only made two links available for previewing audio and the one video.
For every audio and video link I had to make sure they linked properly to YouTube and/or the specifications listed int he guide with the separate A/V ToC BEFORE the regular TOC.
I also took the added step of making sure I had <!DOCTYPE html> <html> at the top of my scratch.htm ... which is not noted in the guide ... because I read somewhere that this was the proper encoding for HTML 5 use. Didn't want to take chances so i put it there. Worked fine and I would have thought that would be an essential mention since there are necessary differences between html 4 and 5.
When you save a MSWord filtered html it packages all your images and stuff for you. After making sure my files were in order and everything was good ... I put it through KindleGen and ...
FAIL! it didn't work. KindleGen kept saying it couldn't find the work. In the same damn folder, it couldn't find scratch.htm or scratch.opf. My goal was to try to get as much 'whatever' Amazon needed to get some sort of passing grade for this effort.
So i went to Mobicreator because the guide will tell you you need to submit either a prc or a EPub of the work if you have audio video. Mobi will create your prc file for you as well as the .mobi. Ran through it all .. MobiCreator didn't read my TOC in the htm file. Totally different direction if you want to do a TOC that you needed to know about BEFORE using MSWORD ... but since I just found out about MobiCreator, I said forget it ... skip the TOC and just give me my damn Prc. LOL.
Fail! Mobi crashed but spat out a prc that I didn't trust.
So moved over to Calbre ... I was determined to get at least an EPub.
FAIL! Calibre almost smacked me with what I was trying to do but it did give me an Epub and a more stuff to add to my scratch.opf file as it generates a nice one with details that I missed in all of my 'how to searching'.
So...frustrated... i said I'm going to give KindleGen another try and used the previewer instead which acts as a GUI version of the command line version. I hate command line ANYTHING....
I worked the previewer before and saw lines of code errors and got the same results that didnt make sense to me because it was saying things were missing that I know was there.
So in the very end:
Taking my core files and the mobi file that KindleGen spat out, and all of my images and required video and audio ... I zipped it all together and uploaded it to Amazon last night.
When it said in review, i went to bed thinking they were going to send the cops over for my stupidity ... but I woke up to: Publishing....
I was like 'Holy Shiggity!' ... so okay...maybe they'll publish it but how willl it look. I don't even have a good emulator to show me good video and audio. the only thing that allowed me to see the audio and video in action was Adobe DreamScape! They have a LIVE CODE feature that made the work I did look fantastic.
But I also knew not everyone had a kindle or an emulator to see it that good...which is why I included the links to YouTube ... for the rest of us.
I thought I would get dinged on that as well.
As i was talking to a friend about waiting for it to go Live, there it was live and on the site.
Another thing is the guidelines say you need to provide a sample of the ebook (a separate prc file sample) with a link BUY NOW at the bottom. I was like ... how do I add a link to BUY NOW before the link is made for the book to be sold. That was another one of those "I'm just going for broke moments" and let it ride.
And ride it did. Amazon made the prc for me like normally. didn't have to upload anything else.
I changed the title to compete with other ebooks with audio by the big guys (Scratch with Audio, etc etc) and so far so good.
I have a friend who I called who has Kindle on her phone and she said all the links work perfectly, the audio is embedded in the page so she didnt have to use the youtube at all. And the video showed GREAT.
I felt like I won the lottery, This whole process of properly coding and staying within the lines of the guidelines took a week and I highly encourage anyone wishing to do the same to take the time. I'll answer anything I can remember but it was worth it and it came out nice.
The next horror story I want to do will be longer and it will have more audio and video attached. Hopefully the process will be cleaner with KindleGen being a whole lot friendlier cause as of this moment, it is not friendly at all. I'm sure the processing thing they have at the many company is KindleGen Times 100000000 and found things it needed to find with easy.
all in all ... go for it. Let your EBook get some flavor to people's ears.
Man, I hate to rain on your parade--but it does not work on the Fire, not at all. It might work on a Kindle emulator, like a Kindle For PC, or Kindle for iPad...but it does not work on the Fire, I can't get ANYTHING past the first page with the blue "Audio and video Table of Contents" link on it.
The link does not work--it goes nowhere, and I can't page past it to see the book. Nada, zip, zein, zilch.
All I can see is the cover and that one page--that's it, I'm sorry to say.
I would highly recommend you take it down until you can get it working. Can someone else with a Fire check this, make sure it's not just my device?
That's fine. I need to see the vastness of where it works and where it doesn't and we're going to find out soon enough. One person it doesn't work for ... one it partially works for ... then I get a more that say its just fine.
Now interestingly enough ... I saw what you did on my corny little kindle previewer ... didnt go past the Kindle Fire emulator or any other kindle emulator for that matter ... but there it is ... showing up just fine on the preview on the site.
So what does that say to me? Not sure. I can take it down and get what answers? From whom? I scoured all I could to get it this far and Amazon posted it like it was all gravy.
So I'm letting it ride to get feedback that will be useful for us all. I want clarity on what works and what doesn't so I can fix it on the next go.
As for why its iffy with Kindle Fire... based on their own coding instructions ... you got me. but if I take it down, I won't get the information I need to see whats wrong, with what systems and what can or cannot be seen.
That is... unless...anyone wants to donate one of EVERY Kindle hardware version and eReader for my personal tests? Any takers?
It's not "iffy." The whole book is not readable. I can't SEE any of it, not the text, not the story, NOTHING.
What do you think leaving it up is going to accomplish, other than reader complaints? Amazon's already told numerous people that audio and video isn't supported yet, and now your book [u]is not only lendable, but unreadable[/u].
FWIW, Amazon doesn't actually think it's okay to use their readers as a testing platform--but it's up to you. [u]The Book DOES NOT WORK at all[/u], if you didn't understand me previously. It cannot be read. You can't page past the "audio video table of contents LINK," the TOC link does not work.
You [i]knew [/i]it didn't work, and you published it anyway? I don't know why on earth you allowed it to be part of the Prime Lending Library when you knew it couldn't be read.
Sorry to blow your steam, buddy...but apparently it does work. Maybe not your kindle and that, in itself, is a problem I can only hope time will fix.
But the good news is... I did the job right and out of the 100+ downloaders: nothing returned and no issues.
But believe me: I'm not going to fool myself and think its a flawless execution... but right out on the first try ... it's 96% effective with people with your issued version of Kindle the few that don't. I really think it depends on the software version or something on the Kindle Fires because I just got word today that someone with a Kindle Fire is able to click the embedded links.
So I'm good ... and looking for greater feedback so its going free 2/15 to 2/17 to get more data.
Thank you so much for helping me figure out two things: 1... that your version didnt work and 2 ... that your some sort of content converter type guy that does this for business. I suppose my success wouldn't be too cool right about now. You cant have the laymans doing the job you charge for...so I was wondering where the angst was coming from.
Ive been reading around the forum at some of your other 'verbal' dancing with others....this forum is rough.
I have trouble getting ANYTHING to download to my Fire.
Even when I download the same thing to my Kindle 2 and Fire at the same time... both using very fast Cable One wi-fi, the K2 will get the download very soon... but it may not appear on the Fire for many hours... sometimes as long as the next day.
Maybe Corey doesn't have it quite working yet.... but this does sound very promising, do you agree?
This is the first I've heard from anyone being able to get Kindle Format 8 to work...
@cjeasyaspie: I've noticed the same thing with my Kindles Fire and Keyboard. The eInk device pulls down content almost immediately, but the Fire can take forever unless I'm actually purchasing the content on the device. I also find it odd that there doesn't appear to be a mechanism by which a new content check can be initiated on Kindle Fire, which is easily done on the eInk devices.
@caburkes: Your book doesn't work on Kindle Fire, which should probably be expected. It's possible that it works on iPhone, the only platform prior to Kindle Fire to support embedded video and audio in any form. I can't speak to practical support of either on Kindle Fire, since I haven't looked into it beyond reading the Guidelines and don't see the point in including them in ebooks in the first place.
However, you should know that for most, if not all, users your book contains no content beyond the front image, the heading below it, your disclaimer, and then the link, which just jumps you back to the heading. Best case scenario people won't find your book much or care to leave a review; worst case Amazon receives complaints from customers and the title will get pulled.
I was going to recommend that you take a look at "The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen: Inspired New Cooking," since it's the only proper example of an audio/video Kindle book of which I'm aware. However, seeing as how it's no longer available for purchase, I'm going to just suggest that you take down this book. When/if you are able to produce it properly you might consider making it available again, but you're not going to find good results with the book in its current form.
@caburkes I've tried it on both Kindle Fire and an IPhone 4S. The KF only sees the Table of Contents as Mrlasers stated but no further. The iPhone sees the text but all of the links go to YouTube. Any embedded video/audio doesn't seem to be present. I see one audio icon with a warning symbol next to it.
I welcome the fact that you are experimenting with the medium! Let's see more of this.
I can definitely see scenarios in non-fiction where A/V is desirable. Anything, where a demo of doing something improves understanding would benefit from video/audio. I hadn't thought of doing this in fiction but it's an interesting idea.
Any chance you can post the specific section of code? I'm a techie by profession so it would be interesting to see the specifics of how you did it.
Well, it finally appeared on my Kindle Fire... and works exactly as it does on yours.
I'm sorry I was so easily taken in...
I have been so anxiously watching and waiting for someone to prove that Format 8 is actually here... that I didn't actually read your post carefully, and jumped at that glimmer of hope... only to come crashing to earth.
The former Kindle version wasn't Kindle Format 8. It was just mobi with video, but like all of mobi video stuff it only worked on the iPhone Kindle app, and even then I'm not sure if it worked on all versions of the iPhone. I did see it running on one once and the videos did work.
However, I don't believe that sort of content was every possible to publish through KDP.
This has been the greatest amount of feedback that an experiment could possibly receive. Even from Hitch (which came across a little gruff but let's move on)
Okay ... confirmed: Not working for the Kindle Fire.
Confirmed: Works (embedded links and all) on Android Phones with Kindle App.
Partially Confirmed: Works on Kindle viewer on the Amazon Website.
Before I go further, this is why this experiment exists in the first place:
From the Kindle Format Guidelines:
"Currently, only Kindle for IOS supports audio and/or video content. Kindle e Ink devices and Kindle Fire do not support Kindle Editions with Audio/Video. To add audio and/or video content to your Kindle book, follow the guidelines and examples below...."
Then they proceed to show you how to add video and audio to the Kindle regardless.
KF8 supposedly flows with the new HTML 5 encoding and that explains why the (video><audio) tags were included in the formatting pdf as written in the guidelines:
(video id="video_1" src=" audiovideo//movie.mp4" controls poster="start.jpg" title="This is my video (5:01)"... etc etc etc
Cool. So my thinking is ... why is this here if not everyone has a Kindle IOS? They must be doing something to get HTML compliant or its five-six pages of Mac-centric advice.
So I did it anyway. As a safety, I included direct links to external audio on YouTube just in case. but regardless, Kindle Fire owners can't get past a blank screen practically. The NCX and TOC are in place and the only difference is a little bit of coding that shouldn't have crashed the whole book. But it did ... but not for everyone and that is why Scratch is still up there...At least till Friday. I'll pull/replace it with an Epub version and we'll be square in no time.
But here's the kicker that brings a smile to my face:
1) Get your hands on an Android phone and use the Kindle App and its reported to work. I figure not everyone wants to drop cash on a Kindle Fire and like reading on their phones. Who knows ... I snagged a segment of customers that use their android phones with 100% positive results. My assessment on 'why it works' seems to be the HTML 5 compliant coding, the HTML 5 compliant software in the Android or something to that end. Whatever is in the Android and the Kindle App has the Ebook working like it was on the IOS. I'm told they have the embedded video. I'm told they get the audio too. Even the links to Youtube work also as a safety.
I'm going to get video of this and post it for my own sanity tomorrow as well. LOL.
2) The online Kindle Apps for PC at least work. I see everything EXCEPT embedded audio/video in the Kindle Cloud and the kindle for PC. otherwise the book can be read an you get the usual...
”There is audio content at this location that is not currently supported for your device. The caption for this content is displayed below.”
Ideally, the goal is to make the ebook work for everyone and that's where only Amazon can get their act together because whatever they put into the apps online and for droids is not in the Kindle Fire itself. I hate that the Ebook is serving half the Kindle segment but tests like these must happen openly to figure things out. I'll get that on video by tomorrow afternoon.
My next plan of action is to go EPub and that's over at Barnes and Noble. The audio video mix on an ePub 3 is solid execution proven through Indesign and other resources. Kindle is almost there and, if they are listening, my suggestion is to better understand the Kindle apps on Androids. Androids programming is in the realm of Java, isn't it? Maybe that has something to do with it.
(Update) What I've done was a simple change of course without taking down the book at all.
Essentially, any Kindle with internet connection can simply click the links to hear the audio and see the video so I just re-upped the original Word Doc without extra encoding or embedding and letting it ride as is.
My audio/video endeavoring will take place over on EPub with a different story. At first, I was going to pull the ebook down here ... but that didn't make any sense because it's already scattered to the four winds as far as the links are concerned. So I might as well just keep it Kindle ready.
The story stands on its own but I really REALLY wanted everyone (kindle Fire and non-Kindle Fire alike) to get the experience.