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Old 10-26-2013, 10:06 PM   #1
krausj
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Should I design my illustrated kindle ebook for portrait or landscape mode?

It's hard to design an illustrated ebook for kindle because everyone has different Kindle models, and some models don't do landscape mode, at least I think some don't. I'd really like my ebook to be in landscape mode, where I can have it be a two-page spread, but maybe that isn't smart. Has anyone had a similar experience? Any advice?
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Old 10-27-2013, 04:52 AM   #2
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Only KF8-enabled Kindles and apps support fixed layout books and, AFAIK, all of them support landscape mode. You can also force landscape mode using:

Code:
<meta name="orientation-lock" content="landscape"/>
For more information see the Kindle Publishing Guidelines.

However, your book will of course look better in landscape mode on a 1920 x 1200 Kindle Fire than on a 800 x 600 eInk Kindle.
You may want to run some landscape mode rendering tests on eInk Kindles and tablets before deciding on a display mode.
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:41 AM   #3
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Check out Kindle Comic Creator, Amazon's free tool for creating fixed layout content. you can design for portrait or landscape, different resolutions, import jpg/png/tiff/ppm/pdf and preview for different devices.

I've also seen 'picture' books in mobi format which just embed a series of image files. But while it offers compatibility with old Kindles (Kindle DX, Kindle 2, Kindle 1) it is probably not the way to go in most cases.
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomsem View Post
Check out Kindle Comic Creator, Amazon's free tool for creating fixed layout content. you can design for portrait or landscape, different resolutions, import jpg/png/tiff/ppm/pdf and preview for different devices.

I've also seen 'picture' books in mobi format which just embed a series of image files. But while it offers compatibility with old Kindles (Kindle DX, Kindle 2, Kindle 1) it is probably not the way to go in most cases.
Well...there are problems with both approaches.

Comic Creator creates specific panels, intended for Comic books, not really illustrated children's books. You'll also run into a small issue with the OPF specifying that it's a comic--not an illustrated children's book (there are file-size issues and image-size matters connected with this, but unless you have an extremely unusual book, this shouldn't be a problem). If you have more than one dialogue on a page that you want to create for pop-up, you'll have to do that manually. It's not terminal, but...just to be aware that you'll have to work it a bit.

Secondly, if you use the "slap the images in" approach, Amazon will never promote the book as a children's book. For a book to be promoted by Amazon (or shown near the top of search results, etc.) it has to have RM text (Region Magnification, or "pop-up text."). This is because Amazon requires that any children's books made or promoted as children's books must be readable on even the smallest Kindle devices, including those which are reading apps on Droid phones--and for that to happen, you must have RM, rather than people having to constantly zoom the pages to try to read images of text that will, of course, become increasingly blurry as they are zoomed.

You may wish to rethink or reimagine the old way of doing things--the text atop the illustrated page. That's the format that creates all the problems, with the text not being text, but, rather, an image of text. If it's possible to create your story with your illustrations and text stacked vertically, it will give you the best of all worlds; a book that's readable on all Kindle devices, images that can be zoomed or viewed on devices turned both in portrait or vertically. Now, yes, you will have scenarios in which text and images could separate, but I think that far too many people don't realize just how small the average e-reading screen is, and they've designed books that are meant to cover a 14" wide page opened in spread view (so 28" wide--we've received books like that to convert). To visualize how your book will look, take a piece of standard paper, 8-1/2" x 11, fold it in half (so you have 8." x 5.5") once--that's roughly the size of an ipad screen--then fold it in half again, in the same way--that's roughly the size of a Kindle or Nook screen, more or less. Hold it against your book page layout(s), and imagine people trying to read what you've done in a spread. If it works, you're good to go. If you realize that it would be waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too small (I get about 5 of those a week to quote), you're better off revamping the book first. THEN worry about converting it.

Hope that helps,
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