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Sherwyn Jellico

Posts: 8
Registered: 07/11/17
CMYK vs RGB for Paperback vs E-book
Posted: Oct 2, 2017 9:45 AM
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Hi all!
I published my first e-book on KDP recently and then got to work doing the paperback version which I've not long released.
I struggled getting to grips with the cover conversion though. I understood that I was supposed to use RGB for an e-book and CMYK for a print book. So I converted my RGB cover to CMYK but it looked drab. I tried various things to improve it but eventually had to go and do some digging. One article advised applying colour profiles. So I started experimenting with that and eventually got it looking pretty good.
Then I discovered that Amazon strips out colour profiles prior to printing. So instead I converted to CMYK and tried to recolour a couple of the dullest layers so they were closer to the original colours.
But this also left me wondering how I could really be sure of what I was doing since I was viewing the results through a monitor which is surely RGB friendly, not CMYK friendly?! And that raises several questions:

Should we just convert to CMYK and hope it turns out better than it looks on the monitor?
Are there any other adjustments we should do?
Is there any merit in trying to get it to look like the RGB version or is this missing the point entirely and an exercise in futility?

In the end, I undrabified it as much as I could, and just got it done and out there. But now when I view the cover on the Amazon page and previewer it looks much more foul than what I ended up with! Curses!!!

So I just wonder if anyone has any tried and tested advice for how I might improve it?

My knowledge around graphic design and print is extremely limited so please keep it at a level I can grasp if possible.
Thank you.
writerbn

Posts: 4,998
Registered: 05/12/12
Re: CMYK vs RGB for Paperback vs E-book
Posted: Oct 2, 2017 10:45 AM   in response to: Sherwyn Jellico in response to: Sherwyn Jellico
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The only way to preview CMYK images on screen and have them look like they print is to use a professionally calibrated monitor. I have mine pretty close, and I recalibrate it every once in a while. However, I do graphic design work on a daily basis.

Failing that, you have to live with an approximation. That's why getting a proof copy in your hands is so important.
Sherwyn Jellico

Posts: 8
Registered: 07/11/17
Re: CMYK vs RGB for Paperback vs E-book
Posted: Oct 2, 2017 1:02 PM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
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Thank you writerbn. I fear my monitor might not be up to the task of professional calibration.
I was hoping more for some tips on whether to change to cMYK and if so, then what adjustments one can make to get it to look better. I am going to buy a copy of my book once Amazon recognises the new minimum price. Unfortunately with Amazon's take and the postage, I can't justify doing this more than twice so I'd better get it right after the first one. It's a flawed process really unless you really know what you are doing. But from what I've gleaned most newcomers don't, even after they've tried researching it.
writerbn

Posts: 4,998
Registered: 05/12/12
Re: CMYK vs RGB for Paperback vs E-book
Posted: Oct 2, 2017 2:58 PM   in response to: Sherwyn Jellico in response to: Sherwyn Jellico
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Sherwyn Jellico wrote:
Thank you writerbn. I fear my monitor might not be up to the task of professional calibration.
You can achieve acceptable results by doing "eyeball calibration". Macs have this software built in; if using Windows, there are free calibration tools you can download.

I was hoping more for some tips on whether to change to cMYK and if so, then what adjustments one can make to get it to look better.
Since the cover will be printed in CMYK regardless, it makes sense to work in that color space. However, unless you use professional software like Photoshop to edit your images, you may not be able to achieve precise control over the color.

I am going to buy a copy of my book once Amazon recognises the new minimum price. Unfortunately with Amazon's take and the postage, I can't justify doing this more than twice so I'd better get it right after the first one. It's a flawed process really unless you really know what you are doing. But from what I've gleaned most newcomers don't, even after they've tried researching it.
Ah, that explains part of the issue; you're using the KDP Print beta. Search the forums for many reasons why this is a bad idea. If at all possible, unpublish your book, go over to Createspace, and follow their instructions. They also have telephone help, although I don't know how good it is; I've never used it. You can purchase proof copies at cost plus shipping.

I should warn you, though, that topic of RGB vs CMYK is extremely controversial if you wander into the Createspace forums! My comments here are an oversimplification for the sake of brevity; reality is not (forgive the pun) black and white.
Khadijah Amatul...

Posts: 1
Registered: 10/03/17
Re: CMYK vs RGB for Paperback vs E-book
Posted: Oct 2, 2017 11:17 PM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
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Hello iam a new author i bssically have everything written,juat havent had it posted o. Here yet do u live in phoenix Arizona?i need help,i would rather just pay someone like yourself to do it ffor me the book cover is it possible
Notjohn

Posts: 22,611
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: CMYK vs RGB for Paperback vs E-book
Posted: Oct 3, 2017 3:23 AM   in response to: Sherwyn Jellico in response to: Sherwyn Jellico
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It's probably very bad of me, but I have never paid attention to these matters, and the covers -- both digital and print -- look just fine to me.

(Don't trust KDP to publish a print edition. Don't trust CreateSpace to publish an ebook.)

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

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

Posts: 4,998
Registered: 05/12/12
Re: CMYK vs RGB for Paperback vs E-book
Posted: Oct 3, 2017 4:55 AM   in response to: Khadijah Amatul... in response to: Khadijah Amatul...
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Khadijah Amatullah wrote:
Hello iam a new author i bssically have everything written,juat havent had it posted o. Here yet do u live in phoenix Arizona?i need help,i would rather just pay someone like yourself to do it ffor me the book cover is it possible
Sorry, no, I don't do book covers for other people. There are plenty of resources here that will help you, though.
Sherwyn Jellico

Posts: 8
Registered: 07/11/17
Re: CMYK vs RGB for Paperback vs E-book
Posted: Oct 3, 2017 7:37 PM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
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Forgive me. For some reason this forum isn't sending me email notifications when people reply. I thought I had set it to do that last time but apparently not.
Thanks for taking the time to reply to this writerbn.
I will look into the free calibration tools.
Damn - I wasn't aware that KDP beta was a bad thing. I did research this a little and it seemed like a very split opinion but perhaps I looked in the wrong places.
I've already published the book now and ordered a copy so I will see how that turns out. I guess I could still unpublish if necessary. That's aggravating. I always seem to find out too late.

"My comments here are an oversimplification for the sake of brevity; reality is not (forgive the pun) black and white."
Ha ha ha!
No - thanks for all of that writerbn - much appreciated.
Sherwyn Jellico

Posts: 8
Registered: 07/11/17
Re: CMYK vs RGB for Paperback vs E-book
Posted: Oct 3, 2017 7:41 PM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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Notjohn wrote:
It's probably very bad of me, but I have never paid attention to these matters, and the covers -- both digital and print -- look just fine to me.

(Don't trust KDP to publish a print edition. Don't trust CreateSpace to publish an ebook.)

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog: http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com


I've read a few comments like that - people just use the RGB for both and it turns out fine. It makes no sense to me. So many contradictions in this CMYK/RGB debate. I really think these key players need to simplify the process for new authors. I find the guides lacking in particular when it comes to this kind of thing. No clear path through.

Thank you both for your advice here.
All the best,
Sherwyn.
Notjohn

Posts: 22,611
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: CMYK vs RGB for Paperback vs E-book
Posted: Oct 4, 2017 3:09 AM   in response to: Sherwyn Jellico in response to: Sherwyn Jellico
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The worst part of KDP Print is the actual process of setting up your book for publication. If you have survived that, and if you uploaded a perfect PDF for the interior, you should be all right -- if you don't need bulk author copies.

KDP Print Beta was rolled out at the end of September last year. The process was buggy, and it seems to remain so to this day. The quality of the books that actually go on sale is rather low, as you can see by doing a search on Amazon for Independently published

Its sole advantage is that the author-publisher gets to see his or her paperback sales on the same page as the Kindle sales. But really, how big an advantage is that? How many seconds does it take, really, to check one's sales on Createspace--ten seconds, thirty seconds?

In exchange, you get that buggy publishing process, no discounted author copies for gift or resale, and no distribution to Barnes & Noble or to brick-and-mortar bookstores. (Most small bookstores will, as a favor to a customer and perhaps a small surcharge, order a Createspace or IngramSpark paperback.) If you don't live in the US, the proof copy and author's copies won't be as attractive, because of high shipping costs, but still....

My advice is to stick with CreateSpace with its excellent cover wizard, helpful community forum, and direct-to-author discounted sales. (If you don't live in the US, the physical proof copy and discounted author copies will be less attractive to you.)

(Don't trust KDP to publish a print edition. Don't trust CreateSpace to publish an ebook.)

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

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

Posts: 4,998
Registered: 05/12/12
Re: CMYK vs RGB for Paperback vs E-book
Posted: Oct 4, 2017 4:43 AM   in response to: Sherwyn Jellico in response to: Sherwyn Jellico
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Sherwyn Jellico wrote:
I've read a few comments like that - people just use the RGB for both and it turns out fine. It makes no sense to me. So many contradictions in this CMYK/RGB debate. I really think these key players need to simplify the process for new authors. I find the guides lacking in particular when it comes to this kind of thing. No clear path through.

It depends on your standards, of course, and a lot depends on the original image. Bright images will fare better, as opposed to darker ones or ones that have large areas of a solid color.

I also forgot to mention: whether you use KDP Print or Createspace, make sure to submit a press-quality PDF, not a Word document. Expecting Word to handle color management is like throwing buckets of paint against a wall and hoping for a van Gogh.
Sherwyn Jellico

Posts: 8
Registered: 07/11/17
Re: CMYK vs RGB for Paperback vs E-book
Posted: Oct 4, 2017 5:48 AM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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Notjohn wrote:
The worst part of KDP Print is the actual process of setting up your book for publication. If you have survived that, and if you uploaded a perfect PDF for the interior, you should be all right -- if you don't need bulk author copies.

KDP Print Beta was rolled out at the end of September last year. The process was buggy, and it seems to remain so to this day. The quality of the books that actually go on sale is rather low, as you can see by doing a search on Amazon for Independently published

Its sole advantage is that the author-publisher gets to see his or her paperback sales on the same page as the Kindle sales. But really, how big an advantage is that? How many seconds does it take, really, to check one's sales on Createspace--ten seconds, thirty seconds?

In exchange, you get that buggy publishing process, no discounted author copies for gift or resale, and no distribution to Barnes & Noble or to brick-and-mortar bookstores. (Most small bookstores will, as a favor to a customer and perhaps a small surcharge, order a Createspace or IngramSpark paperback.) If you don't live in the US, the proof copy and author's copies won't be as attractive, because of high shipping costs, but still....

My advice is to stick with CreateSpace with its excellent cover wizard, helpful community forum, and direct-to-author discounted sales. (If you don't live in the US, the physical proof copy and discounted author copies will be less attractive to you.)

(Don't trust KDP to publish a print edition. Don't trust CreateSpace to publish an ebook.)

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog: http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com


Wow that's some very sobering stuff. You certainly make a good case for Create Space and against Amazon. I can't believe I didn't pick up on more of this from my research. It seemed like people were saying there wasn't much between them so take your pick. I figured I was doing everything else through Amazon so I may as well keep it in one place. I was way behind schedule and had already had quite enough of researching new things and the red tape nightmare that goes with it. I just wanted the book done and out ASAP. So since the feedback seemed to be that it didn't matter which I went with Amazon.
I am surprised that after a year, Amazon haven't addressed some of these issues. I would've thought they'd be aiming to match and improve on Createspace's offering if they wanted to succeed in that area.
I am based in the UK so maybe that wipes out the draft copy advantage.
Well I think I got through the publishing part OK(gulp). The PDF looked OK in the end. The cover even looked ok in the end, but after I submitted it and it finally appeared it looked dull again. Like they'd somehow converted it back. I didn't use any colour profiles so I don't really get it. Anyway I am waiting for the copy I ordered to arrive so I can see with my own eyes. Really looking forward to that(!)
Thanks for your advice Notjohn. Much appreciated,
Sherwyn.
Sherwyn Jellico

Posts: 8
Registered: 07/11/17
Re: CMYK vs RGB for Paperback vs E-book
Posted: Oct 4, 2017 5:52 AM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
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writerbn wrote:
Sherwyn Jellico wrote:
I've read a few comments like that - people just use the RGB for both and it turns out fine. It makes no sense to me. So many contradictions in this CMYK/RGB debate. I really think these key players need to simplify the process for new authors. I find the guides lacking in particular when it comes to this kind of thing. No clear path through.

It depends on your standards, of course, and a lot depends on the original image. Bright images will fare better, as opposed to darker ones or ones that have large areas of a solid color.

I also forgot to mention: whether you use KDP Print or Createspace, make sure to submit a press-quality PDF, not a Word document. Expecting Word to handle color management is like throwing buckets of paint against a wall and hoping for a van Gogh.


OK now I'm worried.
I reformatted the manuscript in Word before saving to PDF. It looked fine so I submitted it. The preview looked fine too. But now I'm concerned how it will look in reality.
Ho hum - we live and learn. This first book was meant to be a learning exercise and it was never going to sell a lot of copies being a niche genre. So it's all good in the end.
Maybe I'll post back the results here once I get a copy of the book.
Thanks a lot for your help writerbn.
Sherwyn.
writerbn

Posts: 4,998
Registered: 05/12/12
Re: CMYK vs RGB for Paperback vs E-book
Posted: Oct 4, 2017 7:24 AM   in response to: Sherwyn Jellico in response to: Sherwyn Jellico
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Sherwyn Jellico wrote:
OK now I'm worried.
I reformatted the manuscript in Word before saving to PDF. It looked fine so I submitted it. The preview looked fine too. But now I'm concerned how it will look in reality.
My point was more addressed to the issues with uploading a Word document directly to KDP. It sounds like you did upload a PDF, so that should help. The "Save as PDF" function from Word isn't the greatest way to do it, but as long as you're happy with the results, that's what matters.

The proof will be in the pudding (or, in this case, in the proof!). Good luck.
Sherwyn Jellico

Posts: 8
Registered: 07/11/17
Re: CMYK vs RGB for Paperback vs E-book
Posted: Oct 4, 2017 8:02 AM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
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writerbn wrote:
Sherwyn Jellico wrote:
OK now I'm worried.
I reformatted the manuscript in Word before saving to PDF. It looked fine so I submitted it. The preview looked fine too. But now I'm concerned how it will look in reality.
My point was more addressed to the issues with uploading a Word document directly to KDP. It sounds like you did upload a PDF, so that should help. The "Save as PDF" function from Word isn't the greatest way to do it, but as long as you're happy with the results, that's what matters.

The proof will be in the pudding (or, in this case, in the proof!). Good luck.


Yes I saved as PDF and uploaded the manuscript and cover as PDFs. No doubt it'll come out upside down even though the previews looked tip-top.
I didn't know it was a bad idea saving from Word as PDF. Are there any free PDF tools available that do it better? I'm somewhat money-challenged of late I'm afraid. My book has made a resounding loss so far. Ha ha ha!

"They laughed when I said I was writing a book of poetry ... well who's laughing now!?"

Yes the pudding will be in the proof. The horror, the horror...
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