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Robert Hample

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Registered: 02/26/17
Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Your engineers fail to solve issues and improve
Posted: Feb 7, 2018 8:20 AM
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Dear Jeff,
I know you want your employees to actually solve problems. You built the biggest business in the world by making things work, efficiently.
Your employees at KDP are failing you. I have asked them repeatedly to solve a glaring problem. They refuse.

It is nearly impossible to successfully upload a 5x8" book cover for a paperback book on KDP. I have hired 3 separate book designers/formatters and all have failed. I have provided the "error messages" with various sizing requirements. Still, the covers will not upload. The same covers easily upload in CreateSpace.

I am now forced to delete my only paperback book on KDP and sell it via Createspace. I have several paperback books on CreateSpace because the engineers there have figured out how to make your platform work.

Dear Jeff. The engineers working for you do not share your vision. Please hire a supervisor who knows what real problem solving is. Your current engineers do not understand business and only can parrot back to customers, "your image size is wrong. Fix it." Thereby, the problem with KDP is never solved. I suspect you are losing millions of dollars in sales b/c your have engineers working for you who fail to understand business and are unable to modify their existing platform to make it user-friendly.
Robert
Ralph E Vaughan

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Re: Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Your engineers fail to solve issues and improve
Posted: Feb 7, 2018 8:30 AM   in response to: Robert Hample in response to: Robert Hample
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All good points, and you'll find many to agree with you, but a wasted effort. No one from KDP, and none from Amazon Corporate, monitor the forum. Your best bet is to send an e-mail to him. The address has been posted several times in the forum...by real forum members, not spammers.

As to your complaints, not only have there been hundreds of cautionary posts about the platform, but the very fact that after nearly two years KDP-Print is still very much a beta program should have been warning enough.

Good luck.

ETA: The Amazon engineers really didn't have to "figure out" anything at CreateSpace. Amazon acquired the company fully developed and operational. All they had to do was add an Amazon channel to the already-existing CreateSpace storefront, which is now, of course, being shuttered.

Edited by: Ralph E Vaughan on Feb 7, 2018 8:31 AM
Salamander Mall...

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Re: Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Your engineers fail to solve issues and improve
Posted: Feb 7, 2018 9:39 AM   in response to: Robert Hample in response to: Robert Hample
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Obviously it's not impossible. Others have done it. KDP-Print is more strict with standards and offers less hand holding, so it does take more expertise and attention to detail, but since you chose to use a platform that others have given you fair warning about, it's up to you to adapt to the platform, not the platform to you. Hiring people who don't know what they're doing is obviously not helping you. There are plenty of posts in the Formatting Forum to help you through the details that previously were handled by the CreateSpace software.
robert d dorazi

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Re: Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Your engineers fail to solve issues and improve
Posted: Feb 7, 2018 10:35 AM   in response to: Robert Hample in response to: Robert Hample
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Hi Robert

It's true that the process of downloading a cover can be upsetting with kdp and I run into the same trouble but eventually I did manage to upload several different covers. The 5x8 is the only format I used, so I know now that the smallest length is 8.25 in which always translate as 792 pixels while of course, the other length depends on the number of pages, but it's always around 1049 for a 300 pages book.
But what happens if you just do this, is that you get an error message because of "bleeding issues". I don't really understand why because there was no information as far as I could see on the borders of my covers. But eventually, I went back to my powerpoint images and reduced it so that a thin margin was present all around (about 1/30th of the whole slide). That was my "bleeding" space. Then I save the cover with the required measurements (792 pixels high and about 1049 pixels width for a 300 pages or 1000 for a 67 pages) and this time I was able to upload about 14 covers without problems.

Robert Dorazi

MR R J LAIDLER

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Re: Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Your engineers fail to solve issues and improve
Posted: Feb 7, 2018 11:59 AM   in response to: robert d dorazi in response to: robert d dorazi
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robert d dorazi wrote:
Hi Robert

It's true that the process of downloading a cover can be upsetting with kdp and I run into the same trouble but eventually I did manage to upload several different covers. The 5x8 is the only format I used, so I know now that the smallest length is 8.25 in which always translate as 792 pixels while of course, the other length depends on the number of pages, but it's always around 1049 for a 300 pages book.
But what happens if you just do this, is that you get an error message because of "bleeding issues". I don't really understand why because there was no information as far as I could see on the borders of my covers. But eventually, I went back to my powerpoint images and reduced it so that a thin margin was present all around (about 1/30th of the whole slide). That was my "bleeding" space. Then I save the cover with the required measurements (792 pixels high and about 1049 pixels width for a 300 pages or 1000 for a 67 pages) and this time I was able to upload about 14 covers without problems.

Robert Dorazi

What sort of cover are you doing? 792 pixels over 8.25" is less than 100dpi. Does the finished book look OK?
robert d dorazi

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Re: Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Your engineers fail to solve issues and improve
Posted: Feb 7, 2018 2:10 PM   in response to: MR R J LAIDLER in response to: MR R J LAIDLER
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Hi

When I say 792 pixels, it's the number I enter when setting the hight, so it might simply be that this number is per inch. But the definition on the printed book is as good as one can expect I would say. I must also say that I don't make the source image itself but go through Fiverr (I usually ask for only the front cover), then copy and paste this cover on powerpoint to get a front and back cover, simply writing a blurb on the back.
I am also pretty sure that dpi and ppi are 2 different units even though I don't really know what it means.

Robert Dorazi

booknookbiz

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Re: Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Your engineers fail to solve issues and improve
Posted: Feb 7, 2018 7:43 PM   in response to: robert d dorazi in response to: robert d dorazi
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robert d dorazi wrote:
Hi Robert

It's true that the process of downloading a cover can be upsetting with kdp and I run into the same trouble but eventually I did manage to upload several different covers. The 5x8 is the only format I used, so I know now that the smallest length is 8.25 in which always translate as 792 pixels while of course, the other length depends on the number of pages, but it's always around 1049 for a 300 pages book.
But what happens if you just do this, is that you get an error message because of "bleeding issues". I don't really understand why because there was no information as far as I could see on the borders of my covers. But eventually, I went back to my powerpoint images and reduced it so that a thin margin was present all around (about 1/30th of the whole slide). That was my "bleeding" space. Then I save the cover with the required measurements (792 pixels high and about 1049 pixels width for a 300 pages or 1000 for a 67 pages) and this time I was able to upload about 14 covers without problems.

Robert Dorazi


Robert:

They are not "Bleeding issues."+ They are trying to tell you that wraparound covers have to be full-bleed, which means, a 0.125" bleed margin, around the outside edge of the proposed cover. So, as I explained in detail, in another post, if you had a book that was 6" x 9", with enough pages to need a 1" spine (for the sake of ease, in explaining this), the final size of the cover would be:

0.125" bleed + 6" width+ 1" spine + 6" width+ 0.125" bleed = 13.250" by
0.125" bleed+9" height+0.125" bleed = 9.250"

In pixels, if the images are done with photoshop, which always asks about DPI (you should use 300, if asked, even though this is irrelevant when you are setting pixls by pixels):

3975pixels wide (13.250" 300DPI= 3,975 pix) by
2775 pixels high (9.250" x 300dpi=2775 pix)

Now, I have NO idea how on earth you ended up with 792 pixels, for 8.25 inches, because that says to me that you're using 96dpi images, which would not be great. To put it mildly. You'll have pretty blurry or not crisp cover images. If you're using a medium or program that asks for both pixels and size, then use 300DPI (this istypically Photoshop), and the size in inches. This will almost always ensure that you have enough resolution.

Amazon's pretty clear about wanting 300DPI. Honestly, Robert, I don't know how you got a 96DPI image through there; the KDP Print cover creator must have a glitch, to allow that through.

I hope for your sake that the end product looks decent.

Hitch
We produce eBooks
An Amazon Professional Conversion Service : http://amzn.to/29pWZSg
www.Booknook.Biz
Cynthia E. Hurst

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Re: Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Your engineers fail to solve issues and improve
Posted: Feb 7, 2018 11:56 PM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
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Hitch:
Maybe you can answer this related question. I usually use photos from Pixabay on my covers, and they are almost always 96 dpi. No idea why, but they are. The first time I tried using one on CreateSpace, I got the warning about needing a higher dpi, which I understood. But not knowing how or if I could increase the dpi, and really liking the photo, I went ahead and uploaded it to see what would happen. Both the paperback and KDP e-book covers came out nice and crisp, not the fuzzy image I was half expecting. I've used 96 dpi photos since then and they're always crisp, the same as the 300 dpi photos I used in the past. So although I appreciate that 300 dpi would be better, is there really a reason why Amazon insists on 300 dpi? The images are larger than needed and sized down for the cover -- is that the reason they work? Is there any way of increasing the dpi of the original photo?
Notjohn

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Re: Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Your engineers fail to solve issues and improve
Posted: Feb 8, 2018 3:50 AM   in response to: Cynthia E. Hurst in response to: Cynthia E. Hurst
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Well, it's not just KDP Print and CreateSpace that regard 300 dpi as the minimum, it's everyone -- except those who want a higher resolution!

I suspect you uploaded a low-rez but very large image to a cover wizard, which resized it so that the result looks good to you. I have approved interior images as low as 200 dpi, but I think a cover should be higher. And no way did you upload a print-ready PDF cover of 96 dpi! If your eyesight is as good as mine -- not a very high bar -- that would look blurry to you.

As it happens, my next book will have a cover image of very low resolution, because I must crop one individual out of a scenic photo. But I know what I'm doing -- I think .... And it will be only an ebook.

(Don't trust KDP to publish a print edition. Don't trust CreateSpace to publish an ebook. Each does one thing well and the other thing poorly.)

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting (2018 edition)

The blog: https://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
writerbn

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Re: Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Your engineers fail to solve issues and improve
Posted: Feb 8, 2018 4:58 AM   in response to: Cynthia E. Hurst in response to: Cynthia E. Hurst
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Cynthia E. Hurst wrote:
Hitch:
Maybe you can answer this related question. I usually use photos from Pixabay on my covers, and they are almost always 96 dpi. No idea why, but they are.
For print, you have to take into account the resolution and the final image size.

To make things easier, say you downloaded a file from Pixabay that's 100 dpi at a size of 18" x 27". If you scaled that down to a print cover of 6" x 9", the effective resolution would be 300 dpi, which would be fine for a paperback.
booknookbiz

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Re: Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Your engineers fail to solve issues and improve
Posted: Feb 8, 2018 6:02 PM   in response to: Cynthia E. Hurst in response to: Cynthia E. Hurst
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Cynthia E. Hurst wrote:
Hitch:
Maybe you can answer this related question. I usually use photos from Pixabay on my covers, and they are almost always 96 dpi. No idea why, but they are. The first time I tried using one on CreateSpace, I got the warning about needing a higher dpi, which I understood. But not knowing how or if I could increase the dpi, and really liking the photo, I went ahead and uploaded it to see what would happen. Both the paperback and KDP e-book covers came out nice and crisp, not the fuzzy image I was half expecting. I've used 96 dpi photos since then and they're always crisp, the same as the 300 dpi photos I used in the past. So although I appreciate that 300 dpi would be better, is there really a reason why Amazon insists on 300 dpi? The images are larger than needed and sized down for the cover -- is that the reason they work? Is there any way of increasing the dpi of the original photo?

Cynthia:

Well, my best guess--as I don't see the image--is that it's huge. Pixaby images tend to be, so the cover creator is compensating by compressing the 96 to 300. I mean, I've done that; used a very large, low-resolution image, and compressed it into submission, essentially creating more DPI by so doing.

That's what notjohn, and the next poster are talking about, and that's most likely the right answer. :-)

Hitch
We produce eBooks
An Amazon Professional Conversion Service : http://amzn.to/29pWZSg
www.Booknook.Biz
Cynthia E. Hurst

Posts: 1,899
Registered: 02/25/13
Re: Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Your engineers fail to solve issues and improve
Posted: Feb 9, 2018 12:34 AM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
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Hitch and writerbn -- thanks for that. I suspected as much.
On CreateSpace, you only get a warning that your resolution is too low, which I've learned to ignore, but I was worried that if Amazon does away with CS, the KDP print process would refuse to accept the photo at all.
Notjohn

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Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Your engineers fail to solve issues and improve
Posted: Feb 9, 2018 2:28 AM   in response to: Cynthia E. Hurst in response to: Cynthia E. Hurst
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Well, you could try right-sizing your images. Who knows, it might even improve the display! There must be a reason people don't scan at 1 ppi with an image as large as a football field.

How do you even GET these 96 ppi images? Are you scanning them yourself?

(Don't trust KDP to publish a print edition. Don't trust CreateSpace to publish an ebook. Each does one thing well and the other thing poorly.)

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting (2018 edition)

The blog: https://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
writerbn

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Re: Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Your engineers fail to solve issues and improve
Posted: Feb 9, 2018 5:07 AM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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Notjohn wrote:
How do you even GET these 96 ppi images? Are you scanning them yourself?
A lot of stock photo sites sell low-res (96 or 72 dpi) images, because people use them on websites, blogs, etc. They generally cost less than print-quality images.
Cynthia E. Hurst

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Re: Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Your engineers fail to solve issues and improve
Posted: Feb 9, 2018 6:30 AM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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As I said, I downloaded them from Pixabay, which gives users a choice of three sizes. I deliberately chose a larger size, assuming that when it was reduced to the correct size for the cover, the dpi would improve, which is exactly what Hitch and writerbn confirmed.
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