Kindle Formatting: The Complete Guide

Formatting eBooks for the Amazon Kindle is a challenge for anyone, even a veteran eBook developer like me. From the time the Kindle was released I have tested the formatting on it in ways that no other developer has. In addition to formatting an array of books from a variety of genres, I have developed tests to find out exactly what the Kindle can do, and how to make books look their best on the device.

Now I am passing along that invaluable data to you. Whether you are an author trying to format your first novel or the developer in charge of formatting eBooks for a large publisher, my book, Kindle Formatting, is written for you.

This book details the process of formatting a Kindle eBook from beginning to end. It includes tips on getting the contents of your file into HTML, explanations of HTML and CSS coding practices, a complete description of all of the HTML and CSS that is supported on the Kindle, examples of common formatting situations, and detailed information on creating a Mobipocket file from your final source that will give your book some additional features and give you additional sales opportunities. Take a look at the Table of Contents for a more detailed listing. You can also read a sample of Kindle Formatting: The Complete Guide right here on the website.

What information does Kindle Formatting have that you can't find anywhere else? Here is a small sampling:

  • Formatting Poetry
  • Formatting an Outline
  • Actual dimensions of the Kindle screen area and image optimization tips
  • How to create links to the built-in Kindle Store
  • How to put Buy-Now links in your Kindle books
  • Formatting Sidebars and Pull Quotes
  • DRM encryption for DTP-published books
  • The complete master list of Kindle-supported HTML and CSS with explanations and examples of each tag.

You can buy Kindle Formatting in paperback from CreateSpace or Amazon (though I prefer CreateSpace because I get a bigger percentage from them). You can also buy it from Amazon's Kindle Store, where the file is DRM-free. That means you can copy the file to your computer, change the extension to .mobi, and use it on other devices that support Mobipocket files. You can also buy it from Mobipocket's website, but I suggest you purchase the DRM-free version from Amazon. The DRM-free ePub version of the book is available at Books on Board.

Note: There are not many differences between the Kindle DX and the Kindle 2, but I covered the important changes in a blog post after the DX was released. An updated version of Kindle Formatting, hopefully coming soon, will discuss changes in the Kindle 3 and in the various software applications Amazon has released.

As a supplement to the book, I have created some files that might be helpful to you as you format your books for the Kindle. Those files can all be accessed in the Files section.

For a list of errata (yes, I may actually find some mistakes!), please see the errata page.