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Old 12-31-2012, 04:27 PM   #1
Freaky Dude
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Going crazy over images in MOBI

Tearing my hair out over
1)MOBI formatting,
2)whether it converts every image to a JPG, and
3)its bloated file size:

I have (for me) a huge concern. I have two illustrated moose joke books ready to go. At least I thought they were. Yes, moose. Silly with lots of drawings (a couple hundred), one book for kids, one for adults. There's a page break after each "page" so the reader gets the riddle/joke on one page, then goes to the next page for the answer. I composed it in Dreamweaver, have used some CSS, and employed some transparent GIFs for little antler headers and to help space the images. The books look great on Apple's Book Proofer and Adobe Digital Editions in their ePub formats (which I created via Calibre). Lately, I have converted every image to a JPG or a GIF. (I preferred PNGs, but Kindle definitely degrades them.) But does KDP deface GIFs as well? Does it convert EVERYTHING inside a book to JPGs or can I save my GIFs?

If they do, I guess I can convert everything to a JPG, say 60% quality (with all the little artifacts that show up). It's not what I want, but it's possible. But I'd have to create alternate spacing mechanisms to place images. Or can you create an empty "block" with nothing in it to occupy space that Kindle would recognize? If not, I could create these "tasteful" vertical moose stripes to separate elements. But then, my Kindle version would have a slightly different look to it than my cleaner ePub version. Same main course, but with different spices.

Can I have a slightly different Kindle edition of the joke book than my ePub version (with two different ISBNs, which is already the case)? Or do both versions have to look the same?

Finally, is the MOBI file of an ePub file always going to be three times larger? If possible, how can I compress it? (Kindle apparently says they're not taking third party MOBIs anymore -- I read that here -- that you have put everything through Kindlegen, which I haven't really figured out yet.

Thank you so much for your time, everyone. Any help/suggestions will be appreciated.

Daniel
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:37 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freaky Dude View Post
Tearing my hair out over
1)MOBI formatting,
2)whether it converts every image to a JPG, and
3)its bloated file size:

I have (for me) a huge concern. I have two illustrated moose joke books ready to go. At least I thought they were. Yes, moose. Silly with lots of drawings (a couple hundred), one book for kids, one for adults. There's a page break after each "page" so the reader gets the riddle/joke on one page, then goes to the next page for the answer. I composed it in Dreamweaver, have used some CSS, and employed some transparent GIFs for little antler headers and to help space the images. The books look great on Apple's Book Proofer and Adobe Digital Editions in their ePub formats (which I created via Calibre). Lately, I have converted every image to a JPG or a GIF. (I preferred PNGs, but Kindle definitely degrades them.) But does KDP deface GIFs as well? Does it convert EVERYTHING inside a book to JPGs or can I save my GIFs?

If they do, I guess I can convert everything to a JPG, say 60% quality (with all the little artifacts that show up). It's not what I want, but it's possible. But I'd have to create alternate spacing mechanisms to place images. Or can you create an empty "block" with nothing in it to occupy space that Kindle would recognize? If not, I could create these "tasteful" vertical moose stripes to separate elements. But then, my Kindle version would have a slightly different look to it than my cleaner ePub version. Same main course, but with different spices.

Can I have a slightly different Kindle edition of the joke book than my ePub version (with two different ISBNs, which is already the case)? Or do both versions have to look the same?

Finally, is the MOBI file of an ePub file always going to be three times larger? If possible, how can I compress it? (Kindle apparently says they're not taking third party MOBIs anymore -- I read that here -- that you have put everything through Kindlegen, which I haven't really figured out yet.

Thank you so much for your time, everyone. Any help/suggestions will be appreciated.

Daniel
Images in Kindle books must be 127KiB or less. If your images are larger, they're going to get converted to JPEG and compressed to make them that size.

My advice for line drawings would be to try saving as 4-bit or 2-bit greyscale GIFs.

KindleGen output is huge. That's because it contains three versions of your book. One in Mobipocket format, one in KF8 format and one zipped up copy of your source files. When you submit to KDP, Amazon splits it up and delivers either the Mobi or the KF8 to their customers, depending on which device it's being downloaded to.

HTH
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:12 PM   #3
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Thanks for responding, pdurrant. The original file size of my images is not the concern. I spent a lot of time optimizing them. Even the big ones don't go beyond 35 KB and they average about 15-20 KB. The transparent GIFs are under 1 KB. (To see what I'm talking about, I've posted flip books at the "Our Books" section of Freaky Dude Books. I hope this doesn't sound like self-promoting. I'm just trying to demonstrate.)

But if I submit GIFs to KDP which are way smaller than that 127 KB limit, will they remain GIFs? They seemed okay on the Kindle Previewer, but all my PNGs had colors were very pixilated or inaccurate. That's when I converted all the PNGs to GIFs. Your info about the three part Kindlegen output is a great relief.
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:04 PM   #4
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You could unpack the output of Kindlegen to check the image quality, but I'm pretty sure that GIFs are maintained as GIFs. (See Mobiunpack).
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freaky Dude View Post
Can I have a slightly different Kindle edition of the joke book than my ePub version (with two different ISBNs, which is already the case)? Or do both versions have to look the same?
If they have distinct ISBNs, you're flagging them as different editions, so you're free to have whatever formatting/content differences you desire.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:17 PM   #6
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Very helpful, people. Thanks so much. So now I have a Plan B in case the GIFs don't work. However, if they do, so much the better. I'll be on the lookout for the Kindle file size though. I spent some time checking cartoon books at Amazon/Kindle. Most of them had huge file sizes per "page." For me, the ePub had about 2.1 MB and the Kindlegen coughed up 6.4 MB or something very close. That would mean $1.05 subtracted from my asking price of $2.99 before I even started. That after spending forever getting most illustrations into PNG8s with maybe 16 colors (if I could) to minimize file sizes. Thanks again.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freaky Dude View Post
I'll be on the lookout for the Kindle file size though. I spent some time checking cartoon books at Amazon/Kindle. Most of them had huge file sizes per "page." For me, the ePub had about 2.1 MB and the Kindlegen coughed up 6.4 MB or something very close. That would mean $1.05 subtracted from my asking price of $2.99 before I even started.
Keep in mind that the per MB fee is not going to be based on the entire size of Kindlegen's output. As has been mentioned, Kindlegen's output contains an old-style MOBI version for devices that can't handle the newer format ... a KF8 version of your book for newer devices/apps, and the original source material. To my knowledge, you're only charged for the size of the file that ultimately gets delivered to the customer. Which will only be one format or the other... and the source part of the package never gets delivered to the customer.

Mobi_Unpack has a "split" feature that can separate Kindlegen output into its constituent parts (MOBI/KF8). I suggest using it to get a ballpark idea of the size of the different files that are ultimately going to be delivered to the customer ... which is what I believe the per MB fee is based on. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm full of it.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Mobi_Unpack has a "split" feature that can separate Kindlegen output into its constituent parts (MOBI/KF8). I suggest using it to get a ballpark idea of the size of the different files that are ultimately going to be delivered to the customer ... which is what I believe the per MB fee is based on. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm full of it.
It does. The newest version of KindleGen also gives an "estimated" file size for both versions at the end.
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