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Old 04-07-2017, 09:15 AM   #1
jhowell
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Kindle Create

Amazon has made available a beta version of a new program, Kindle Create, for publishing Kindle books sourced from Word or PDF documents. There is a good write up at The Digital Reader.

It seems that the intent of this program is to simplify the publishing process for novice authors. Instead of uploading a Word file and then having to download the result of conversion for testing, Kindle Create does conversion, previewing, and simple fix-ups all in one app. I did some playing around with it and here are my first impressions.

On the positive side it does seem simple to use and so could help someone who is trying to publish a book without having to learn a lot.

Now for the negatives.

The program imports from a Word document, but does not export. Any edits and formatting changes made after import are only available in the proprietary format used by this program. That could be a problem if you want to publish the same book as an EPUB. (Amazon probably considers this to be a positive.) Likewise, if you want to revise the original Word document and republish you will need to redo all edits made with Kindle Create.

It doesn't work with every Word document. If the import fails it pops up a dialog box telling you to submit your Word file directly via KDP instead. It doesn't provide any information at all on why the conversion failed.

Looking behind the scenes at how the program works may provide some information on the direction Amazon is going with the Kindle platform. Internally the program uses KPF file format, which is KFX data stored in a SQL database. The Word file is converted to KFX on import. Much of the conversion and previewing code seems to be borrowed from Kindle Previewer 3. Changes are made using a new KFX editor with limited functionality. Since the file sent to Amazon when the book is published is basically KFX, Amazon must be deriving the MOBI and KF8 formats from KFX at their end. This is the reverse of how things have worked up to now.
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Old 04-09-2017, 06:29 AM   #2
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Thank you for getting done what I was figuring I had to do for myself at some future date! Very helpful.

And yes, I figured that Amazon was adding one more nail to the lock-'em-in-KDP coffin. First there was Select, then there was differential royalties, then KU and these proprietary formats. Very sad. It will be a hard day when Amazon is the only self-publishing platform left standing.
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Old 04-12-2017, 04:06 PM   #3
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Thank you for getting done what I was figuring I had to do for myself at some future date! Very helpful.

And yes, I figured that Amazon was adding one more nail to the lock-'em-in-KDP coffin. First there was Select, then there was differential royalties, then KU and these proprietary formats. Very sad. It will be a hard day when Amazon is the only self-publishing platform left standing.
I'm not sure if this is the place for this discussion, but I have to ask...do you think that Amazon making it easier for authors is a bad thing?

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Old 04-16-2017, 04:35 PM   #4
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I think that anything that locks newcomers into a closed system (Kindle Unlimited, Kindle Select, the various fixed-format templates, and now Kindle Create) is bad for them and ultimately for everyone. When Amazon introduced the Digital Text Platform (now the KDP), our royalty was 35 percent across the board. Not until Apple muscled in (and got slapped for price-fixing!) with the iPad and a 70 percent royalty did Amazon match it in part. Apple does not seem to have made a great impact on e-publishing, and Barnes & Noble is shaky. I don't think that the 70 percent royalty will long survive B&N's demise.
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Old 04-20-2017, 11:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
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I'm not sure if this is the place for this discussion, but I have to ask...do you think that Amazon making it easier for authors is a bad thing?

Shari
I'll answer this question WHEN KCreate actually makes it "easier" for authors. From what I've seen the same authors that already know how to actually use Word, and upload a file that will already work, at the KDP, to make a book, will be able to use KCreate, and those that treat it like a damned typewriter, won't be able to use KCreate, so: what, exactly, makes what easier?

We see files that have NEVER seen a Style. A heading. Files that have manually typed page numbers, footnotes, running heads. And yes, I've seen more than my fair share of files that have "enter" at the end of every. single. line. I've now quoted more than 5,000 books. You know how many of those, could have been uploaded at the KDP, and done "okay," just using Word? Not 100. Not one-hundred of them.

Those folks? KCreate won't help them any more than any of the available options do now. Maybe it will, as it develops...but I've spent the last few months helping authors with the KDP Print Beta, and you know how different that is, from Createspace? Pretty much Not. One. Iota.

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Old 04-24-2017, 12:35 PM   #6
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There is a new version (0.94) of the Kindle Create program available at the link given in the first post of this thread.

I gave it a quick try and didn't see any obvious changes.
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Old 04-25-2017, 02:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhowell View Post
There is a new version (0.94) of the Kindle Create program available at the link given in the first post of this thread.

I gave it a quick try and didn't see any obvious changes.
Thanks for the update--MUCH appreciated. (You're saving me scads of time, lol....)

regards,
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Old 04-25-2017, 03:58 PM   #8
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I created a wiki page for Kindle Create as a place to keep track of what we know.

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Old 04-25-2017, 08:36 PM   #9
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Has anyone actually used this tool to publish a book?

I am curious to see how the results look.



Amazon suggests publishing a public domain book to try it out:

Quote:
If you don’t have a new book ready to publish, you can still help us review the workflow for improved formatting of your Kindle book by working with an offering from the public domain. You may also update an existing book that you’ve previously published.
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Old 04-26-2017, 04:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhowell View Post
Has anyone actually used this tool to publish a book?

I am curious to see how the results look.



Amazon suggests publishing a public domain book to try it out:
Not yet, but it wouldn't be hard; I have a couple of PD novels that I use for demo purposes, in various states of completion (raw-ish Word file, cleaned Word file, styled Word file-->HTML, etc.). If I get time--famous last words--I'll see what I think.

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Old 04-26-2017, 05:04 PM   #11
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I played around with it a bit with some Word documents I have on hand, importing them and looking at the previews.

I also uploaded a KPF file it produced to KDP. Having done that I found that I could preview online, but not download a preview file of the book.

I did a quick publish/un-publish and saw something I thought was strange. Since the KPF file is essentially KFX format it was not surprising that the book showed Enhanced Typesetting available and downloaded to my Kindle as KFX. I expected this since KPF is just a variant of KFX.

The odd thing was that when I downloaded the fallback format using Download & Transfer via USB, the result was a MOBI file. I had expected a KF8/AZW3 file instead. That makes me wonder whether I did something wrong or if that is just the way it works. Perhaps when you Publish via Kindle Create you get MOBI and KFX, but not KF8.

I am curious to find out whether others experience the same thing.
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Old 05-12-2017, 11:07 AM   #12
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Another new version of Kindle Create, 0.96.4.0, is now available. I didn't notice anything different in a quick test.

I have looked into its workings a bit more and I have found that it uses Aspose.Words for Java to convert Word documents to EPUB and then passes the result to the same EPUB-to-KPF conversion process as used in Kindle Previewer 3. (KPF is a variant of KFX.)

I have added a new feature in the KFX Output calibre plugin to convert KPF files produced by Kindle Create into KFX.
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Old 07-21-2017, 01:14 PM   #13
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Kindle Create 0.98.260.0 beta is now available.

I took a quick look and saw that they added some new themes (sets of styles). For example, the new romance novel theme (called Amour in some place and Amore in others) changes chapter titles to a fancy script font. Seems silly to me.

I saw some hints that a future beta may add support for creating comics. Perhaps this will eventually replace Kindle Comic Creator. (KC already includes the functionality of Kindle Textbook Creator.)

Last edited by jhowell; 07-21-2017 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 08-04-2017, 09:55 AM   #14
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Amazon released an alternative to the Kindle Create program. It is called the Kindle Create Add-in for Microsoft Word (Beta).

In my opinion it is a better choice for most uses. It basically tries to standardize formatting in Word documents so that they convert well to e-books.

The big advantage of this for authors is that it just uses standard Word doc/docx files instead of the proprietary format produced by the stand-alone Kindle Create program. This makes it easier to update the book and/or publish it on other platforms.
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Old 08-04-2017, 04:06 PM   #15
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Thanks for that. I took the liberty of quoting you on the KDP community forum.
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