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Old 01-20-2021, 04:51 AM   #1
knightrider247
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best format for complete photo book in given quality and feature list / KDP

Hi there,

I have a problem that has taken too much of my time already .. therefore I am turning to you for help ...My quest:

Publishing a photo book an Amazon KDP in the best way possible

By that I mean
  • -the pictures go from side to side or top to bottom (depending on portrait or landscape) - so there is no margin on 2 sides each time
  • -the ratio of the picture is not changed
  • -compatibility with as many devices as possible
  • -navigation feature (hold and swipe on a Kindle) - I can send a picture of that if wanted

I found an example that meets all the requirements (nudity!):*https://www.amazon.de/Uber-500-Sexfo...s=books&sr=1-3

So I basically just*want the same quality of book like this author.

My research so far
Kindle Support says that the*above book was submitted as a MOBI file and was very likely professionally made.
One seasoned publisher told me that the navigation thing is only possible with Comic-made books (question here would be: was it made with the old one or the current one?)
an uploaded Word-file or kbf does not do the trick
I am working with Calibre since yesterday, so I am really a newbie at this ... should I import a PDF or create the book itself in Calibre?

My questions
  • What format to use? (MOBI, I assume?)What tool to use to create the book?If Calibre
  • Do I make one html for each photo?
  • Or should I put them all on one html page since it looks like pages afterwards anyway?
  • How could I automize this?
  • How can the navigation feature be created?

Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Chris
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Old 01-20-2021, 11:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knightrider247 View Post
Hi there,

I have a problem that has taken too much of my time already .. therefore I am turning to you for help ...My quest:

Publishing a photo book an Amazon KDP in the best way possible

By that I mean
  • -the pictures go from side to side or top to bottom (depending on portrait or landscape) - so there is no margin on 2 sides each time
  • -the ratio of the picture is not changed
  • -compatibility with as many devices as possible
  • -navigation feature (hold and swipe on a Kindle) - I can send a picture of that if wanted

I found an example that meets all the requirements (nudity!):*https://www.amazon.de/Uber-500-Sexfo...s=books&sr=1-3

So I basically just*want the same quality of book like this author.

My research so far
Kindle Support says that the*above book was submitted as a MOBI file and was very likely professionally made.
One seasoned publisher told me that the navigation thing is only possible with Comic-made books (question here would be: was it made with the old one or the current one?)
an uploaded Word-file or kbf does not do the trick
I am working with Calibre since yesterday, so I am really a newbie at this ... should I import a PDF or create the book itself in Calibre?

My questions
  • What format to use? (MOBI, I assume?)What tool to use to create the book?If Calibre
  • Do I make one html for each photo?
  • Or should I put them all on one html page since it looks like pages afterwards anyway?
  • How could I automize this?
  • How can the navigation feature be created?

Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Chris
Chris:

You're going to get the same experts here that you did on KDP. Me and jhowell and some others. And we're going to tell you the same damn thing. But, as other folks read this forum, let me address some of your questions.

You CANNOT even with fixed-layout, make a book in which the images will *always* go side-to-side, with no margin. Why? Because no two eBook readers are the same. Kindles don't have all the same aspect ratio (relative ratio of height to width) and that means, you cannot possibly make an image that will always fill the screen on different devices with different screen ratios. Can't be done. You need to pick a device size and ratio, and use that. Otherwise, all you can do is distort the images by setting them to 100%. You've already said you don't want to do that.

Fixed-layout is NOT compatible with that many Kindle devices. Generally speaking, KDP limits download of fixed-layout, whether it's Kids' books, Comics, or other FXL eBooks, to Fire devices and then software readers, like Kindle 4 PC, Kindle 4Mac, for Tablet, etc. You would not be able to be seen on Paperwhites, etc. Which I told you at the KDP forums.

As jhowell told you, the image you displayed of the "hold and sweep" navigation, is from the Comic Book Creator. You don't get that with other FXL eBooks. It's called panel view.

I feel I should also add that KDP has significantly changed how those books work. Now, when those are made, Comics, etc., they play the "panels" like a slideshow (if requested!) and--here's the important part--only the selected panels are shown. The zoomed portion. The remainder of the page is not displayed automatically. You simply slide the panel and the next "page" or popped-up panel displays. That's what you're asking about. If you don't have any other content on the page, then this is what you need. It won't address your "image needs to be full bleed without distortion no matter what" request, but that's Magical Thinking, as it cannot be done due to the differing aspect ratios of the Fire devices (in this instance, for FXL). And just think about what that would take for the various software device readers! Yowza.

YES, the submitted file was likely a MOBI. It was likely made using Kindle Comic Creator, some years back. (Or with the older software, more recently.) Or hand-coded to work like the older KCC software. The thing that's odd is that KDP is allowing you to download it to a PPW, which is why I think that it was published a while back. I don't see a publishing date and I don't see reviews, but I dunno--DO people review porny stuff? Or adult stuff? KDP Playboy stuff?

Newer submitted books, in FXL, are now routinely blocked from being downloaded by eInks. Older books seem to be taking some time, working their way through the system and presumably, those books in the adult ghetto are at the bottom of the priority list. (I don't know that, factually; it's an educated guess on my part.) I know that a few books that we've made, over the years, which I could formerly download and view on my Voyage or Oasis, can no longer be read on those devices. I just tested this, this past weekend. Amazon is obviously withdrawing all the FXL eBooks from eReader compatiblity.

No, you cannot do this with Calibre. Calibre is not a tool for making eBooks, it's a library tool that also has "conversion" features for people to convert their OWN books. It's not really meant as a commercial book production tool and you can't make fixed-layout with it, not by pushing buttons.

You cannot have everything you want. You can have images that fill many, not all, screens. You can have "full-bleed" images if you use KCC or one of the other FXL options. That will absolutely limit your distribution--period. Not optional, non-negotiable. You cannot make this using Calibre; you will have to use one of Amazon's DIY tools, unless you are going to learn how to write HTML and CSS and even then...you won't get some magically different result, than you would just using the DIY programs.

No, you're correct, a Word file or .kpf file made from a reflowable Word file sort of source document will NOT do the trick.

Perhaps you should consider this--that navigation that you are SO in love with, only happens in panel view. That means that the reader has tap-zoomed and is viewing the zoomed panels, in the "comic" or book. Your readers could just as easily tap-zoom the images in a regular, reflowable eBook. No, they can't just slide from image A to image B; they'd have to flip the page and then tap-zoom the next image...but deciding that you would live with a reflowable ebook would get you access to the millions of people with eInks, that you would lose if you do fixed-layout.

But...well, let's see. Maybe someone else here will tell you something that you want to hear, but...well, I'd say that the odds aren't great.

Hitch
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Old 01-20-2021, 12:59 PM   #3
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I think you should consider making this an app for iOS and Android.
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Old 01-20-2021, 03:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knightrider247 View Post
  • -compatibility with as many devices as possible
When this is one of your goals, you have to be willing to make sacrifices in basically every other area, especially fancy navigation and very particular image display. It doesn't mean it has to look ugly, and it doesn't mean absolute zero control over the design, but the range of what's acceptable has to be much, much wider. Gotta work with a light touch, no one's impressed by a busted ebook.

And I get it feels weird seeing an existing example you want to ape. My advice is don't worry about it. How it got there, how it was made to work, when, etc. etc. doesn't really matter. If it's really got a ton of whizbang, that's a book that's taking lots of risks, and this isn't an area that really rewards risk-taking.

Last edited by phillipgessert; 01-20-2021 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 01-20-2021, 03:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillipgessert View Post
When this is one of your goals, you have to be willing to make sacrifices in basically every other area, especially fancy navigation and very particular image display. It doesn't mean it has to look ugly, and it doesn't mean absolute zero control over the design, but the range of what's acceptable has to be much, much wider. Gotta work with a light touch, no one's impressed by a busted ebook.

And I get it feels weird seeing an existing example you want to ape. My advice is don't worry about it. How it got there, how it was made to work, when, etc. etc. doesn't really matter. If it's really got a ton of whizbang, that's a book that's taking lots of risks, and this isn't an area that really rewards risk-taking.
And that's the thing. To be compatible with the MOST devices, he can't have that navigation option. To have that nav option, he won't be compatible with most; he'll cut himself off from millions. He's convinced that it won't, BECAUSE he downloaded that particular Playboy-esque book to his own Paperwhite. But, as I said, Amazon's made significant changes, in their policies around fixed-layout and they've been switching over FXL ebooks to "no eInks need apply" for the last 2 years that I'm sure of.

Oh, and, of course...there's no such thing as "One Aspect Ratio to Rule Them All." I mean, shoot, even if you decide "I only care about the Fire devices," they'e different and then what are you go do about the Fire 10", where they can read in portrait or in two-page up mode, in landscape...which completely changes the aspect ratio on a single device?

It just isn't print and it's not that simple or easy. Or...it's less straightforward than it looks, that's the right way to say that. Simple is better, for most books.

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Old 01-20-2021, 03:23 PM   #6
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And that's the thing. To be compatible with the MOST devices, he can't have that navigation option. To have that nav option, he won't be compatible with most; he'll cut himself off from millions. He's convinced that it won't, BECAUSE he downloaded that particular Playboy-esque book to his own Paperwhite. But, as I said, Amazon's made significant changes, in their policies around fixed-layout and they've been switching over FXL ebooks to "no eInks need apply" for the last 2 years that I'm sure of.

Oh, and, of course...there's no such thing as "One Aspect Ratio to Rule Them All." I mean, shoot, even if you decide "I only care about the Fire devices," they'e different and then what are you go do about the Fire 10", where they can read in portrait or in two-page up mode, in landscape...which completely changes the aspect ratio on a single device?

It just isn't print and it's not that simple or easy. Or...it's less straightforward than it looks, that's the right way to say that. Simple is better, for most books.

Hitch
Lol, I just followed the link to the example--and to the OP, honestly, ask yourself if it's even necessary. I don't know what your book is like, but even for that one, really: how is that nav better than just scrolling through the pics? Not to be crass, but it sorta makes me laugh a little to imagine someone paging through that book, thinking "damn...the nav system in this book is sweet."

Does your book actually benefit from this?

Last edited by phillipgessert; 01-20-2021 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 01-20-2021, 07:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by phillipgessert View Post
Lol, I just followed the link to the example--and to the OP, honestly, ask yourself if it's even necessary. I don't know what your book is like, but even for that one, really: how is that nav better than just scrolling through the pics? Not to be crass, but it sorta makes me laugh a little to imagine someone paging through that book, thinking "damn...the nav system in this book is sweet."
Okay, you just made me lmao.

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Old 01-20-2021, 08:01 PM   #8
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I made a short video to demonstrate the fast page navigation feature on my Kindle Oasis: https://youtu.be/qqB7zKqtFXI

The manga I used is available under Kindle Unlimited.
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Old 01-20-2021, 10:29 PM   #9
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...

Oh, and, of course...there's no such thing as "One Aspect Ratio to Rule Them All." I mean, shoot, even if you decide "I only care about the Fire devices," they'e different and then what are you go do about the Fire 10", where they can read in portrait or in two-page up mode, in landscape...which completely changes the aspect ratio on a single device?

...
I can guess the answer is "it's Amazon...", but do you know why, or even if, Amazon/kindle still refuses to support SVG wrappers on images other than the cover? It seems like the SVG wrapper's entire function is to maximize an image, to whatever the screen size, while keeping the correct aspect ratio...
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Old 01-21-2021, 02:08 AM   #10
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I can guess the answer is "it's Amazon...", but do you know why, or even if, Amazon/kindle still refuses to support SVG wrappers on images other than the cover? It seems like the SVG wrapper's entire function is to maximize an image, to whatever the screen size, while keeping the correct aspect ratio...
You *can* use SVG on other images, BUT....aye, here's the rub: they're not supported on the older devices. AND, whilst supported in KF8, it's not supported in ET (Enhanced Typesetting). And I honestly don't know which of the software readers would/wouldn't support them. So...you can see the problem. What publisher wants to voluntarily include two sets of images (granted, the SVGs will be small), which whacks their delivery fees, rather than "just" using a set of JPGs, PNGS, etc.?

And the other thing is, SVG doesn't solve the aspect ratio, any-damned-way. I mean, yes, you can zoom almost endlessly, make it big, small, any size at all (like Alice!), but it won't magically make an image fit every device, of every shape and size and all that. It addresses one issue, but not all.

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Old 01-21-2021, 04:17 AM   #11
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Make it a "comic book" format (CBR, CBZ..., which is just an archive with images), write a multi-platform comic book reader that has your preferred features (most should already have "fit to screen")
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Old 01-21-2021, 05:51 AM   #12
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First of all: Thank you all for your great input and the insights!

Regarding panel view: It is not important to me - it rather was interesting to me regarding getting to know what the solution could be.

My main goals are: maximum device compatibility and decent viewing of the pictures.

I will try to point out my options - in light of your comments:

A) free flowable - likely MOBI
-main pro: compatibility
-Quesion A1): What I dont like about that option is that I can make notes when I touch on the picture ... at least that is my point of view on my Kindle Paperwhite ... and yes .. that is just one device ... is there a way of prohibiting that in free flowable pages?
-Question A2): What tool would you guys suggest or use in order to create such a photobook? If using Kindle Create then I would have to start with a Word file ... wouldn't I?

B) fixed layout
-main con: compatibility
-Question B1): Is there a way to have reach maximum compatibility today with the comic book option (e.g.: using the old comic creator etc.) or is it really the processing like stated? Cause if, then B is not an option anymore.
And: What size and ratio should I be using, if it was an option? Simply the one of the pictures?

Regarding comics: My plan was to make each page one panel ... so it would go from page to page.
Regarding time of submission of the book linked: I see a lot of them published in mid 2019. So I see a date and very few reviews. :-)


So, the basic and most important question of my entire post is: What tool should I be using in order to create a free flowable book in order to create a photo book that meets my 2 main goals?

Thank you!
knightrider
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Old 01-21-2021, 07:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knightrider247 View Post
I will try to point out my options - in light of your comments:

A) free flowable - likely MOBI
-main pro: compatibility
-Quesion A1): What I dont like about that option is that I can make notes when I touch on the picture ... at least that is my point of view on my Kindle Paperwhite ... and yes .. that is just one device ... is there a way of prohibiting that in free flowable pages?
-Question A2): What tool would you guys suggest or use in order to create such a photobook? If using Kindle Create then I would have to start with a Word file ... wouldn't I?
A. The thing is Amazon is requiring your eBooks to be KFX compatible. So that means it has to work in KF8, KFX, and Mobi.
A1. You want to be the most compatible. So forget any Kindle specific features. Just forget they exist and go with the most common set of features. If you want to be the most compatible, make your eBook into an ePub 2 format eBook and use that as the source for your Kindle eBook.
A2. Do you know how to code CSS/HTMLif not, the frst thing to do is go learn CSS/HTML. The thing is, none of these programs such as Kindle Create is going to generate code that's not all that good. Forget Word.

Another thing you'll need is a number of different devices with different screen sizes to test your eBook with to make sure it works well. The other problem is that for the images that are landscape, they won't display as well as the images that are portrait because of the width of most portable devices. Take a look at your average fantasy eBook with a map. If the map is landscape, it's not easy to read on an eInk device. I rotate so the map is landscape to be easier to see. But you can't do that.


Quote:
B) fixed layout
-main con: compatibility
-Question B1): Is there a way to have reach maximum compatibility today with the comic book option (e.g.: using the old comic creator etc.) or is it really the processing like stated? Cause if, then B is not an option anymore.
And: What size and ratio should I be using, if it was an option? Simply the one of the pictures?

Regarding comics: My plan was to make each page one panel ... so it would go from page to page.
Regarding time of submission of the book linked: I see a lot of them published in mid 2019. So I see a date and very few reviews. :-)

So, the basic and most important question of my entire post is: What tool should I be using in order to create a free flowable book in order to create a photo book that meets my 2 main goals?

Thank you!
knightrider
Forget fixed layout. It's just not going to work and it will end up being available on a small subset of devices. Make it comics and you again limit yourself.

You are trying to do this in ways that will not work well and will not be compatible. It needs to work on Kindles, Kobos, Pocketbooks, Onyx Books, iPads, iPhones, Android based phones and tablets. Plus, you don't know what software is going to be used to view this.
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Old 01-21-2021, 09:25 AM   #14
Hitch
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Originally Posted by knightrider247 View Post
First of all: Thank you all for your great input and the insights!

Regarding panel view: It is not important to me - it rather was interesting to me regarding getting to know what the solution could be.

My main goals are: maximum device compatibility and decent viewing of the pictures.

I will try to point out my options - in light of your comments:

A) free flowable - likely MOBI
-main pro: compatibility
-Quesion A1): What I dont like about that option is that I can make notes when I touch on the picture ... at least that is my point of view on my Kindle Paperwhite ... and yes .. that is just one device ... is there a way of prohibiting that in free flowable pages?
Okay, you all knew that I was going to HAVE to ask: why are you trying to make it impossible for people to make notes to themselves????

I mean...what? Why? What business is it of yours if I want to make some notes to myself about the images that you've put, in a book that *I have paid for*? I'm sure you have some perfectly logical reason, but to me, that reads like "control freak trying to control what I do."

Quote:
-Question A2): What tool would you guys suggest or use in order to create such a photobook? If using Kindle Create then I would have to start with a Word file ... wouldn't I?
You can start with a PDF, but that will get you fixed-layout and you've read the downsides with that. Otherwise, yes, you have to start with a fully-cleaned, fully STYLED (using Word's Styles and Headings) document.

Quote:
B) fixed layout
-main con: compatibility
-Question B1): Is there a way to have reach maximum compatibility today with the comic book option (e.g.: using the old comic creator etc.) or is it really the processing like stated? Cause if, then B is not an option anymore.
And: What size and ratio should I be using, if it was an option? Simply the one of the pictures?
No, compatibility isn't the only "con." It's also a crap reading experience, by and large. If PDF were a great reading experience or browsing experience, on small devices, we'd be using them for web browsers and eBooks and we're not. Right? Right.

Quote:
Regarding comics: My plan was to make each page one panel ... so it would go from page to page.
Your choice, I guess. Just because YOU like something doesn't mean your readers will, I'd remind you. I can't tell you how many times over the years some customer came to me, demanding that we do X or Y in their eBook, "becuz it's so cool!," and of course, later, they tell me that they've had nothing but complaints, or the thing didn't work the way that they thought, or, or or...


Quote:
Regarding time of submission of the book linked: I see a lot of them published in mid 2019. So I see a date and very few reviews. :-)
Yup, that sounds about right. The last gasp of fixed-layout on eInks. I don't know how much time and effort Amazon puts into policing the Adult Ghetto for compatibility and the like. {shrug}. If it were my company, I probably wouldn't bother, figuring people who are downloading cheap boob shots of women probably don't give two s**ts about whether or not they can download it to an eInk versus their phone or whatever.


Quote:
So, the basic and most important question of my entire post is: What tool should I be using in order to create a free flowable book in order to create a photo book that meets my 2 main goals?

Thank you!
knightrider
Well...to my way of thinking, it's back to basics. Make a nice, ordinary HTMl/CSS eBook, no magic tools, no button-clicking this or that. But I'm sure that piece of advice will be soundly ignored. JWolf thinks that you'll care about what the code looks like underneath; I know better. Authors just don't give two s**ts about how the code looks; they'll by and large do whatever is easiest/cheapest/free. It is, after all, a business and the publisher (that's you) needs to control costs, so...I can respect their need to watch costs. At least that, anyway.

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Old 01-21-2021, 11:44 AM   #15
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I think you should consider making this an app for iOS and Android.
Yes. Anything not straight reflowable epub2 (or KDP conversion of it), or not PDFs done for 8" or bigger LCD tablets, ideally 10" + is really best as an App. Won't work on most eink, but will work on all supported iOS and Android.
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