How to optimize images inside your Kindle ebook

03 Jul

Images are the tricky part in your Kindle book formatting. First of all, some restrictions are to be respected when you are creating and formatting your book. And, most importantly, as far as your ebook will be read on different devices (iPad, Kindle, Kindle Fire…), you want your pictures to look good in every single one of them.

For example, a lot of Kindle readers are black and white. They show the pictures in 16 shades of grey. If the colors are not that important for your message, subject and/or type of book, you’d better convert your image to black-and-white on your computer. Otherwise, you may want to boost the contrasts of your image – it will look better on the black-and-white devices.

Some technical detailstips for fiction indie authors

The graphic formats that KDP processes are:

  • GIF
  • PNG
  • BMP
  • JPEG

My advice, however, would be to make it a JPEG or a GIF, because the other two are automatically converted to JPEG when you upload your book to KDP.

The maximum size for each separate picture is 5MB. However, bear in mind that the size of the manuscript can not exceed 650MB.

You want your image to be as beautiful as possible, so fix the resolution to 300dpi or higher. Now, Amazon recommends to set the quality level of your JPEG picture at 50-60% (or 6-8 level) in order to decrease the size while maintaining quality, but I like keeping my pictures at maximum quality if both the picture size and the total file size allow it.

One thing I would like to mention just in case is that the pictures must be in RGB format, which is supported by computer monitors.

Another tricky question is the dimensions of your image. 9:11 is the aspect ratio that automatically displays with maximum screen coverage. Moreover, I found that for ebooks small images work best, because they display correctly on smaller screens too. I restrict the image width to around 500-600 pixels (Watch out! If you reduce the dimensions of the image by dragging its corner inward, Kindle is very likely to not respect it. So, make sure you properly resize your image before you import them into your DOC file).
A tip here: if like a lot of fiction writers you are using first line indent, remove it on images, otherwise it can shift off of the page.

How to insert the images into your ebook

A crucial thing to remember here is to never “Copy-Paste” the pictures. If you are working withe a DOC file, click “Insert” in the top menu, then “Picture” and choose the image file in the dialogue window.

Yet another DON’T is floating images. After the conversion, they may appear in weird places. So, you need to anchor them (right mouse click on the image → “Format Picture” → “Layout” → “in Line With Text” → “Save”).

As for the image alignment, you can only use “center” (“left” and “right” are not supported). If you know some html, you can open your html Kindle-ready file with an html editor (Dreamweaver or FrontPage) and manually add some other html tags to it:

“texttop” → the top of the image is aligned with the top of the text in the current line

“top” → the top of the current line is aligned with the top of the image

“absmiddle” → the image is centered in the middle of the current line

“middle” → the image is centered in the middle of the text of the current line

“bottom” → the bottom of the image is aligned with the bottom of the text in the current line

“absbottom” → the bottom of the image is aligned with the bottom of the current line.

Now, don’t remember to put the folder with your inside images together with your book’s html file into one compressed zip folder before uploading it to Amazon KDP.
You may have a copy of your book cover directly in the html file, but remember that you will have to upload it separately anyway, so if you include it into your file, you’ll have two of those appearing one after the other.

This is it for now. In the next post, I will write more about book covers and how to make them effective.

Good luck!

Kateryna Kei, Author of Raven Boy, adventure and romance young-adult saga


Posted by on July 3, 2014 in Author Resources


Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “How to optimize images inside your Kindle ebook

  1. Mili_Fay

    July 5, 2014 at 12:26 am

    How would the HTML image tag(s) look like in the code?


  2. katerynakei

    July 6, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Let me show you. Here is an html version (the one that was uploaded to KDP) of one of my books that has pictures opened with FrontPage:
    and here is its code:
    The lines that are selected (431 & 432) are the code of the picture. My images here are simply centered, in between the paragraphs of text, which is why the only tag you see here is “align=center”.
    Now, even though KDP accepts your book in multiple formats (DOC, PDF, TXT, EPUB, MOBI, HTML), in my experience images convert best in html. However, you don’t need to create it entirely in html. make it a DOC file and then save it as “Web Page, Filtered (*HTM & *HTML)”. Normally, if your DOC file is correctly formatted, it will display all the needed encoding in html. Otherwise, you can always use an html editor (like FrontPage or Dreamwaver) and check your code.
    Please let me know whether it was helpful and do not hesitate to ask further questions 😉



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