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Thread: Text format and downloading my own Kindle books


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Permlink Replies: 5 - Pages: 1 - Last Post: Aug 12, 2017 4:01 PM Last Post By: booknookbiz
lessherlock

Posts: 1
Registered: 03/18/11
Text format and downloading my own Kindle books
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 7:29 AM
 
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Having tried several times, unsuccessfully, to get my questions answered via the Kindle help line, I will try once more here, although I think I am a voice crying in the wilderness! (Every time I write, I receive a very polite answer by email (always from someone different, so there is no continuity) giving me all sorts of details, but no answer to the specific questions.) The point is that, unless I am misunderstanding very badly (and after getting the answers I have from the help line I don’t think I am) I surely can’t be the only person, who has created Kindle books, with these questions?

I have just discovered that the four Kindle books I have created, using the software that Kindle gave me to do this, are fixed text format and not flowing text. This means that anyone buying my books will be unable to alter the font size, and if their Kindle device has a smaller screen than the book page width, they will have to scroll across every single line in order to read the whole of it. While I understand that for specialist books (perhaps children’s books or technical ones) fixed text format may be necessary, it is glaringly obvious that for the vast majority of books, and certainly the ones I created, flowing text is by far the more preferable. Who wants to have to scroll across the page for every line in a book? Certainly not me, and I wouldn’t buy a Kindle book that required this.

So my first question is: why was the software Kindle gave me (and presumably everybody else) only designed to produce fixed text, when it is very clear that flowing text would be wanted in most cases? I don’t want to know how the software works, or what Kindle may be doing now or in the future; I want to know why, when I was creating my books, they lumbered me with software that produced a substandard product!

As I said, I have written four books, now on my Kindle bookshelf with all the details of them, etc. I want to be able to download them onto my own Kindle devices, for two reasons. If I have them on my tablet, then I can show my books to my friends and who knows, they may become interested enough to buy one of them? The second reason is that one of the books is a one-hundred year history of the UK Piano Tuners’ Association (I was the National President for five years), and not only does it contain the history (e.g. Sir Henry Wood, founder of the Proms, was our first President!), but lots of lists of events and when they happened, people who have been involved and when, etc. So it would be a very useful reference book if I could have it on my own Kindle devices. But it is impossible to download my own books from my Kindle bookshelf. The only way I can do it is to go to the Kindle store and buy them: but after the hundreds of hours I spent creating them, I am certainly not going to pay to have my own books!

So the second question is: since anyone going to the Kindle store can buy my books and have them on their own Kindle devices, why cannot I do this from my bookshelf? I don’t want to hear that fixed text books can’t be downloaded, or that I can have them on my Kindle previewer. Since Kindle books can be downloaded off the Amazon site by people buying them, it is obvious that the reason I cannot download them myself from my bookshelf is not because it is impossible, but because Kindle have made a policy decision not to allow it. I want to know why!

So, two questions: 1. Why have I been forced to create books with a fixed text format; and 2. Why can’t I download my own books from my bookshelf without paying for them?
Notjohn

Posts: 21,932
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Text format and downloading my own Kindle books
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 10:40 AM   in response to: lessherlock in response to: lessherlock
 
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1. Why have I been forced to create books with a fixed text format;

You haven't. You downloaded a fixed-format template by mistake, that's all. The vast majority of ebooks are reflowable.

2. Why can’t I download my own books from my bookshelf without paying for them?

You can. The option appears just after your book converts, in the second tab of the publishing process. But of course you must have a KIndle or tablet or app capable of displaying fixed-format ebooks.

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog:
http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
P.M. Laidlow

Posts: 62
Registered: 05/21/17
Re: Text format and downloading my own Kindle books
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 10:44 AM   in response to: lessherlock in response to: lessherlock
 
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Most people upload either a Word doc or an epub, and if they've used styles correctly, they have no problems with the formatting of Amazon's conversion.

If sounds as if you used the Textbook Creator or the Comic Book Creator, neither of which is necessary unless a fixed-format book is the intended result. You "lumbered" yourself with unnecessary software.

When you upload your book file, you are given the opportunity to download the conversion. Once it's on your computer, you can transfer it to your Kindle. If you have missed that opportunity to download, you can upload your file (either the old fixed-format one or the new Word doc/epub that will result in reflowable text) and download the converted file.
Ward Rogers

Posts: 1,037
Registered: 12/02/16
Re: Text format and downloading my own Kindle books
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 12:37 PM   in response to: lessherlock in response to: lessherlock
 
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lessherlock wrote:
Having tried several times, unsuccessfully, to get my questions answered via the Kindle help line, I will try once more here, although I think I am a voice crying in the wilderness! (Every time I write, I receive a very polite answer by email (always from someone different, so there is no continuity) giving me all sorts of details, but no answer to the specific questions.) The point is that, unless I am misunderstanding very badly (and after getting the answers I have from the help line I don’t think I am) I surely can’t be the only person, who has created Kindle books, with these questions?

I have just discovered that the four Kindle books I have created, using the software that Kindle gave me to do this, are fixed text format and not flowing text. This means that anyone buying my books will be unable to alter the font size, and if their Kindle device has a smaller screen than the book page width, they will have to scroll across every single line in order to read the whole of it. While I understand that for specialist books (perhaps children’s books or technical ones) fixed text format may be necessary, it is glaringly obvious that for the vast majority of books, and certainly the ones I created, flowing text is by far the more preferable. Who wants to have to scroll across the page for every line in a book? Certainly not me, and I wouldn’t buy a Kindle book that required this.

So my first question is: why was the software Kindle gave me (and presumably everybody else) only designed to produce fixed text, when it is very clear that flowing text would be wanted in most cases? I don’t want to know how the software works, or what Kindle may be doing now or in the future; I want to know why, when I was creating my books, they lumbered me with software that produced a substandard product!

As I said, I have written four books, now on my Kindle bookshelf with all the details of them, etc. I want to be able to download them onto my own Kindle devices, for two reasons. If I have them on my tablet, then I can show my books to my friends and who knows, they may become interested enough to buy one of them? The second reason is that one of the books is a one-hundred year history of the UK Piano Tuners’ Association (I was the National President for five years), and not only does it contain the history (e.g. Sir Henry Wood, founder of the Proms, was our first President!), but lots of lists of events and when they happened, people who have been involved and when, etc. So it would be a very useful reference book if I could have it on my own Kindle devices. But it is impossible to download my own books from my Kindle bookshelf. The only way I can do it is to go to the Kindle store and buy them: but after the hundreds of hours I spent creating them, I am certainly not going to pay to have my own books!

So the second question is: since anyone going to the Kindle store can buy my books and have them on their own Kindle devices, why cannot I do this from my bookshelf? I don’t want to hear that fixed text books can’t be downloaded, or that I can have them on my Kindle previewer. Since Kindle books can be downloaded off the Amazon site by people buying them, it is obvious that the reason I cannot download them myself from my bookshelf is not because it is impossible, but because Kindle have made a policy decision not to allow it. I want to know why!

So, two questions: 1. Why have I been forced to create books with a fixed text format; and 2. Why can’t I download my own books from my bookshelf without paying for them?

  • There is no Kindle help line for getting unsatisfactory answers, only an e-mail contact for unsatisfactory answers.
  • No one forced you to do anything; you downloaded a piece of software and chose to use it without learning much about it.
  • You can download your books during the review section of the publishing process, but if you're so dissatisfied with them why bother?
  • You can unpublish your books, start from square one and produce all new editions with all new AISNs ... it's your decision.
  • Kindle Create is KDP's newest magic wand for people who don't want to learn how to format; you pour an edited, proofed Word document into one end and a perfectly formatted e-book pops out the other ... but you should look into it before you use it.
  • As publisher, you're responsible for all decisions, the good ones and the bad.
Amis

Posts: 219
Registered: 02/25/17
Re: Text format and downloading my own Kindle books
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 12:51 PM   in response to: lessherlock in response to: lessherlock
 
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If you don’t want fixed text you don’t need the software kindle gave you.
I had never done an ebook before but I did it in Word with no trouble. I used styles and followed the guidelines provided here:

http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/digital/otp/help/Building-Your-Book-for-Kindle.pdf
booknookbiz

Posts: 3,810
Registered: 03/04/10
Re: Text format and downloading my own Kindle books
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 4:01 PM   in response to: lessherlock in response to: lessherlock
 
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lessherlock wrote:
Having tried several times, unsuccessfully, to get my questions answered via the Kindle help line, I will try once more here, although I think I am a voice crying in the wilderness! (Every time I write, I receive a very polite answer by email (always from someone different, so there is no continuity) giving me all sorts of details, but no answer to the specific questions.) The point is that, unless I am misunderstanding very badly (and after getting the answers I have from the help line I don’t think I am) I surely can’t be the only person, who has created Kindle books, with these questions?

You're not. You are far from the first, considering that K Publishing and this forum has been around for at least the last decade. You have, if you will forgive me, picked an unfortunate screen name, because you apparently did extremely little investigating before leaping into using a piece of software that doesn't do what you want. OR, it does what your book needs, but not what you think you need/want.


I have just discovered that the four Kindle books I have created, using the software that Kindle gave me to do this, are fixed text format and not flowing text. This means that anyone buying my books will be unable to alter the font size, and if their Kindle device has a smaller screen than the book page width, they will have to scroll across every single line in order to read the whole of it. While I understand that for specialist books (perhaps children’s books or technical ones) fixed text format may be necessary, it is glaringly obvious that for the vast majority of books, and certainly the ones I created, flowing text is by far the more preferable. Who wants to have to scroll across the page for every line in a book? Certainly not me, and I wouldn’t buy a Kindle book that required this.

Fixed-layout is a special format, created to be used for a certain type of book. Children's books, particularly, and the occasional coffee-table book. Also, the "scroll across the page thing"--not sure where you're getting that, but that's not how fixed-layout eBooks really work.


So my first question is: why was the software Kindle gave me (and presumably everybody else) only designed to produce fixed text, when it is very clear that flowing text would be wanted in most cases? I don’t want to know how the software works, or what Kindle may be doing now or in the future; I want to know why, when I was creating my books, they lumbered me with software that produced a substandard product!

Lumbered? Before you made FOUR books with it, did you do any research? Did you come here, to the forum? Did you go to ANY of the dozens of self-publishing forums, around the Internet, to ask about making your eBooks? Did you look at other books, like the ones you planned to make, on your own Kindle?

What research into bookmaking did you do, before you did this? And, sorry, but jeeeze, why on earth are you FOUR books into this, before you noticed?

As I said, I have written four books, now on my Kindle bookshelf with all the details of them, etc. I want to be able to download them onto my own Kindle devices, for two reasons. If I have them on my tablet, then I can show my books to my friends and who knows, they may become interested enough to buy one of them?

Unrelated to formatting--be prepared, 99% of your friends won't be interested, can't be bothered, and after they tell you that they'll buy them, they don't. That's the reality of self-publishing in a day and age in which 99% of the world thinks that they're authors and professional writers.

The second reason is that one of the books is a one-hundred year history of the UK Piano Tuners’ Association (I was the National President for five years), and not only does it contain the history (e.g. Sir Henry Wood, founder of the Proms, was our first President!), but lots of lists of events and when they happened, people who have been involved and when, etc. So it would be a very useful reference book if I could have it on my own Kindle devices. But it is impossible to download my own books from my Kindle bookshelf. The only way I can do it is to go to the Kindle store and buy them: but after the hundreds of hours I spent creating them, I am certainly not going to pay to have my own books!
Well, I'm sorry if it's not what you want to hear, BUT: no, you cannot download the "preview mobi" because that's not how fixed-layout mobis are made. Sorry. What you can do is look at the KPF file that you made, using Textbook Creator (that's my best guess, about what you did), on Kindle Previewer 3.11.

Why don't you just look at the file that you put INTO Textbook Creator? You probably put a PDF in there,so...???

So the second question is: since anyone going to the Kindle store can buy my books and have them on their own Kindle devices, why cannot I do this from my bookshelf? I don’t want to hear that fixed text books can’t be downloaded, or that I can have them on my Kindle previewer. Since Kindle books can be downloaded off the Amazon site by people buying them, it is obvious that the reason I cannot download them myself from my bookshelf is not because it is impossible, but because Kindle have made a policy decision not to allow it. I want to know why!

AGAIN, I'm sorry if it's not what you want to hear, but that's how eBooks that are fixed-layout work, in terms of how they're uploaded, etc. You used a FREE tool, that Amazon spent millions developing, for folks like you, who want an easy, instant, drag-drop way to make an eBook, instead of making them as reflowable, which takes work and time, or money. Not criticizing you, but....why did Amazon tell you to use this? Did you tell them that the book needed a special layout? Or, did you ask them for a drag-drop, or something you could use, just dropping a PDF in? Because if you did any of that, they gave you the RIGHT tool. They can't read your mind.

This isn't some random "policy decision." The type of book you made takes ADDITIONAL work, after you click "save and publish" in order to complete the formatting of the book. That's why the "preview MOBI" isn't downloadable, for you, as it would be if you'd had a reflowable eBook made. If you'd done that, yes, you would a) already have a copy of your eBook, that you could put on your devices, or b) download the Preview MOBI from your Bookshelf.

So, two questions: 1. Why have I been forced to create books with a fixed text format; and 2. Why can’t I download my own books from my bookshelf without paying for them?

So, you have ZERO responsibility in this? You haven't been forced. You chose. Perhaps you chose poorly, with inadequate research and inadequate information upon which to base your decision--but you chose. Nobody else. This forum was here when you made that choice. You could have asked then--and you didn't, right? So, whose fault is that? Really?

You can either start over, and make the book(s) correctly, and then have nice, reflowable eBooks, or you can complain. You won't be able to download the MOBI, from your bookshelf, unless/until you upload a reflowable MOBI file, or one of the accepted formats. I know that's not what you want to hear, but that's the bottom line.

Lastly--for all I know, Amazon sent you in the right direction. It's possible that your book is complex in layout, and needs to be fixed-layout. If that's the case, then that's what it needs to be. Not all books can be made into eBooks; not all books can be made into reflowable eBooks. If your books have very complex formatting, and need to stay as they were laid out, then fixed-layout IS the right choice, and all this sturm und drang is just unnecessary.

ARE your books like that? You talk about piano tuning--are these how-to books? Or are they like novels? How did you come to use Textbook Creator (or whatever you meant to use)?

Hitch
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