Format a book for Kindle?
August 17, 2011 9:05 AM   Subscribe

How to format a manuscript for Kindle?

Asking for a friend--author with manuscript (MS Word) wants to publish for Kindle and has asked friend to format it. Anyone done this? Any tricks, tips, pitfalls?
posted by Ideefixe to Technology (8 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Knowing exactly what kind of formatting is needed is tricky without knowing the content of the book (whether it's text, or contains images, graphs etc.) so sorry if this is doesn't help. But one thing you could initially try is to simply convert the document into a file which can be read on the Kindle and see how it looks. You can use the free Calibre ebook software to convert the MS Word file into a mobi file which the kindle can read. I've converted a huge amount of different file types using this software and it's usually been very easy. How many formatting errors you have to deal with will depend on the content of the manuscript though.

Going further, here's a link to a free online ebook you can download which offers a guide on how to format an ebook, with some advice and tips which might help you:
posted by Spamfactor at 9:24 AM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

One thing to try would be to download Calibre and convert to .mobi.

If your author friend hasn't heard of Scrivener, he should consider using it. Here is a tutorial on how to turn a scrivener document into a kindle book.
posted by babby╩╝); Drop table users; -- at 9:30 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Calibre also has a ton of custom settings for conversions, for things like removing running headers and footers (which aren't needed in ebooks) and converting embedded tables. Just googling around brings up a lot of walkthroughs for best practices on formatting Word docs for the Kindle, but Amazon itself has a set of instructions on sending personal documents to your device.
posted by mattbucher at 9:32 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you want to make a really nice looking epub, I've found Sigil works really well, and leaves not much cruft around (unlike doc), and you can convert epub to mobi fairly easily. Plus, then you already have your epub handy.
posted by jeather at 9:54 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jim Macdonald has a couple of recent posts on self publishing at Making Light.
posted by Bruce H. at 10:31 AM on August 17, 2011

Response by poster: And as an added bonus question--what would you charge to do this? Figure a 60,000 word book, no charts or graphs.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:50 AM on August 17, 2011

I think it's maybe a 2 or 3 hour job if you also have a Kindle you can use to QA that the document looks OK in the end. So maybe $40/hour. (I have no idea what your experience and qualifications are or what your setup is, but this is what I'd charge/estimate).
posted by mattbucher at 2:55 PM on August 17, 2011

I've converted a number documents to send to Kindle just for my own use, so not necessarily publish-for-money quality, but basically everything looked like crap except for RTF.
posted by neuron at 4:59 PM on August 17, 2011

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