Publishing to Nook (Barnes & Noble ePub)

In my last post I outlined how to create a good, clean Word 97-2003 document formatted for the Kindle (Amazon KDP).

While generally most writers enjoy better digital sales on the Kindle platform than the Nook, it’s worth investing the time to make work available in as many formats as possible for readers who may prefer one platform over another.

A place such as Smashwords can greatly facilitate getting work into the various formats for the respective platforms.

For the do-it-yourself types, here is my guide.

Amazon utilizes a proprietary AZW format that is compatible with the larger-file-size MOBI format.  Both formats can be read on a Kindle device or using one of the free Kindle Reading Apps.  You can upload a Word 97-2003 document and Amazon’s Kindle upload process will convert it to a MOBI file which you can review before publishing.  After publishing, it’s further converted to the AZW format.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook uses the ePub format.  The file you have to upload is typically best when it’s already in ePub format, although their process can sort of convert a variety of other formats (including HTML, .DOC, .DOCX, RTF, and TXT) into ePub with varying degrees of success and completeness.  Barnes & Noble’s guide for formatting and publishing appears on its main PubIt page under PubIt! program details, FAQs, and marketing toolkit.  If you’ve already registered, the same page appears under the Support Tab of your control panel when you login.  Their formatting guide is fairly simple and straightforward – especially Microsoft Word formatting – although their ePub Formatting Guide may be too esoteric for the average person.

For this guide, we’ll be using the ePub editing tool Sigil (free download).  An online guide is here although what we’ll be doing is fairly straightforward.

I do not own a Nook, so I cannot attest to whether the Nook devices portray ePub books exactly the same as the free Nook Reader Apps or similar e-reading apps such as Adobe Digital Editions Reader.  I will say that with the latter apps, I have seen that certain Font and Line Spacing decisions are reflected in what those readers portray on-screen.

I’m going to assume you already have a clean Word document from your Kindle upload.  If not, I’ll again refer to my last post which explains how to get a clean and well-formatted Word 97-2003 document – and specifically one with “sticky” punctuation (em-dashes, hyphens, and ellipses), only single blank lines between paragraph titles and text, and flags such as four centered-and-spaced asterisks to denote scene breaks.

Starting with such a document:

Part 1 – Basic Prepping for Nook

1)  Save a copy of the Kindle document with a new name since we will be modifying it slightly.  Make sure to save as a Word 97-2003 format.

2)  Delete the 600×800 Cover image.  Nook uses different sizing than Kindle.  Unfortunately, Nook is also inconsistent with what sizes are best since there are different styles of Nooks with different viewing sizes.  See Natasha Fondren’s excellent and comprehensive post about Cover dimensions for the various platforms.  It’s simpler to convert an existing 600×800 image into 600×730 (which will size for the Nook and have some space above and below on the Nook Color) than to convert to the 600×1024 used solely by the Nook Color (and that will be shrunk to fit in the Nook).  Basically, using whatever Cover editing program you have available, lop a little off the top and bottom to get the right size.  My covers are usually 6″x8″ real size with however many dpi (dots per inch) required for particular Kindle covers.  So I simply take 0.35″ off the top and 0.35″ off the bottom to get a 6″x7.3″ cover which I convert to 600×730 pixel size.  Insert >> Picture to get the new picture formatted for the Nook onto the first page of your document.

3)  In the Kindle document, all text was Times New Roman 11-point and all Titles were in Times New Roman 14-point.  We want to change the text size to 12-point.  So Edit-Replace by selecting Format >> Font from the search box for both the “Find what” and “Replace with” fields as below (click on image for full-size):






4)  And now we want to replace all Titles with BOLD Times New Roman 14-point (click on image for full-size):






5)  Change all Line Spacing to 1.5 Lines.  The spacing from your Kindle document may have been either set to Exactly 14-point spacing or to Multiple 1.15 spacing.  This can be quickly changed with an Edit-Replace by selecting Format >> Paragraph from the search box for both the “Find what” and “Replace with” fields as below.  Be sure to clear any previous formatting from prior Edit-Replace searches (click on image for full-size):






6)  Change any hyperlinks in the document that may have directed to related works sold on Amazon to those sold on Barnes & Noble.  Right-click on book titles in the bibliography section (if you have one) and select Hyperlink and update the hyperlink.  Obviously, if no books are yet on Barnes & Noble, you’ll need to upload them all first and then edit the files with the links after they’re published.

7)  Insert Section Breaks after each page of Front Matter and after each Chapter.  This is where ePub diverges from Amazon’s Kindle process.  The latter utilizes Page Breaks.  But ePub relies upon Section Breaks instead.  While inserting Page Breaks occurs naturally in Word 2010 under Insert >> Page Break, Microsoft elected to make Section Breaks a little less intuitive.  Go to Page Layout >> Breaks >> Next Page to do this.  Insert each one exactly where a Page Break would be (at the end of each page).  We’ll clean up the no-longer-needed Page Breaks in the next step (click on image for full-size):






8)  Search for and delete all Page Breaks.  Edit-Replace using the following search fields, replacing ^m with nothing (click on image for full-size):






9)  Save the document in Word 97-2003, just so you have a reference copy.

10)  Save the document again as Web Page, Filtered which is the format we’ll use in the next part to create the ePub.  Note that when the document is saved as Web Page, Filtered, it creates a nearby folder containing the cover image.  Do not delete this folder or move it.  Close all Word and Web Page-Filtered documents and prepare to use Sigil to create the ePub.

Part 2 – Creating the ePub using Sigil

1)  Open Sigil (which can be downloaded here).  Open the Web Page, Filtered document after browsing to it.  It will resemble a Word document as far as its “W” icon – but when you pause the mouse over it you will see “HTML document” denoting it (click on image for full-size):






2)  Insert Chapter Breaks.  There is a “Chapter Break” button in Sigil with a stylized “Ch” for doing this.  You’ll need to scroll carefully through the document, placing your cursor in the blank line between each page of Front Matter and between each Chapter, and then click on the button.  As you proceed, you’ll notice that Sigil is chopping your document into numerical sections that are tabbed.  Do not insert a Chapter Break after the last page of the book or you will only produce a blank page.  Below are images of the process.  The first image shows the first Chapter Break being inserted.  The second image shows it completed for all sections. (click on images for full-size):






3)  Tag Front Matter and Back Matter.  In the “Book Browser” pane on the left in Sigil, right-click on each section of Front Matter and Back Matter, choosing Add Semantics and an appropriate Tag for that section.  Typical ones will be: Cover, CopyrightPage, Dedication, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, Foreword, or Bibliography (click on image for full-size):






4)  Add MetaData tags for Title, Author, and Language.  Select Tools >> Meta Editor and enter the Title, Author, and Language (click on image for full-size):






5)  Generate Table of Contents.  Click on the Generate Table of Contents button on the right.  From the pop-up window, deselect any item that you do not want to be in the Table of Contents for users to be able to jump to.  Do not skip this step.  Even though a “Table of Contents” already appears in the right pane of Sigil, from my experience it requires actually clicking the Generate Table of Contents button to activate (click on image for full-size):






6)  Click on the Green Checkmark on the toolbar of Sigil to Validate the ePub (click on image for full-size):






7)  Before fixing the errors identified by Sigil (and there will be some – hopefully just minor ones), save the document now.  It should automatically prompt to save as an EPUB format file.  This is what you want.

Part 3 – Fixing Errors Identified by Sigil

If you began with a clean document following my Kindle instructions and the instructions above, there is a good chance you will only see two types of errors in Sigil:

attribute ‘clear‘ is not declared for element ‘br

attribute ‘name‘ is not declared for element ‘a

You’ll probably see one ‘clear‘/’br‘ instance for each piece of Front Matter.  And one instance each of both ‘clear‘/’br‘ and ‘name‘/’a‘ for each Chapter.

I’ll translate what these actually mean in plain English:

The divisions between pages didn’t translate well into Sigil.

The automatic hidden link bookmarks to the Word-generated Table of Contents didn’t translate well into Sigil.

As far as why this happens, I’m not entirely certain, as I haven’t experimented enough with the HTML or variations of document.  From what I can discern, the HTML Error Line of:  <p><span><br clear=”all” /></span></p>  which you get to when you double-click the first instance of attribute ‘clear’ is not declared for element ‘br’ relates to the breaks between pages (click on image for full-size):






1)  Double-click on the first instance of attribute ‘clear’ is not declared for element ‘br’

Delete the HTML line that appears.  It may be something like these:

<p><span><br class=”sgc-3″ clear=”all” /></span></p>

 <p><span class=”sgc-19″><br clear=”all” /></span></p>

Be very careful when running your mouse over the lines of HTML code.  Sigil allows drag-and-move of text, and it can be very easy to modify the HTML code.  And Sigil’s “Undo” button does not appear to undo changes to HTML code.  In any event, these instances of attribute ‘clear’ is not declared for element ‘br’ are artifacts and safe to delete from my experience at least.

2)  Double-click all other instances of attribute ‘clear’ is not declared for element ‘br’ and repeat with deleting the HTML line that comes up (and they should all be a clear=”all” line with variations of class=”sgc-xx”).

The other common error was attribute ‘name’ is not declared for element ‘a’ which is simply attributable to the hidden bookmarks that Word uses to construct the original linked Table of Contents.  I experimented with deleting the hidden bookmarks, which seemed to create new errors, as well as not using Sigil to generate the Table of Contents – which resulted in the Table of Contents not being right in the ePub result.  The links could probably be coded in HTML from the beginning to remedy the situation, but the fix itself is actually easy.

In this case, it isn’t the entire line of HTML code that is bad, but only the reference to the hidden bookmark itself.

In case you don’t understand what I mean by “hidden bookmarks,” open the Word 97-2003 document that you saved earlier.  Go to Insert >> Bookmark  When the following pop-up window appears, un-check “Hidden Bookmarks” and then re-check it again so they appear (click on image to see full-size):






Word creates links from the Table of Contents to each of the Chapter Headings when you auto-generate a Table of Contents as we did in the Kindle Publishing Guide.

What we need to do is to delete only the reference to these hidden bookmarks which will be only part of a line of HTML code that’s otherwise fine.

So if we click on the first instance of attribute ‘name’ is not declared for element ‘a’ it should take us to the Chapter Header for the first chapter, and highlight a line such as:

<h1><a name=”_Toc314183869″><span class=”sgc-21″>ONE</span></a><a id=”start”></a></h1>

Only the parts in Red:  <a name=”_Toc314183869″>  and </a> need to be deleted.  Be very careful when highlighting and deleting these instances.  Notice that in the above example there is also <a id=”start”></a> which is where the “start” bookmark denoting the beginning of the story appears.  If you accidentally delete </a> the associated with “start” the line will be errored.

Subsequent chapters will be simpler:

<h1><a name=”_Toc314183870″><span>TWO</span></a></h1>

See screenshot below (click on image for full-size):






Note that as you fix these errors, the error codes remain in the pane below until you re-run clicking on the Green Checkmark on the toolbar of Sigil to Validate the ePub.

It’s wise to save as you go along – but save as a copy of the initial ePub that you already saved in Part 2 above.  The ePub you saved in Part 2 should have all the formatting done, and if the HTML code gets mangled accidentally due to an inadvertent drag-and-move while trying to delete part of a line, you would at least have something to go back to.  So keep the backup ePub from Part 2 until you’re certain you have fixed the HTML errors without introducing new ones somehow.

When you have clickedon the Green Checkmark on the toolbar of Sigil to Validate the ePub and you get a message of “No Problems Found!” you’re ready to upload to Nook (click on image to see full-size):






The ePub you upload to Barnes & Noble will probably be identical to the preview file they provide for downloading to verify.

When you upload, there is a Preview button that takes you a screen where you can see very rudimentary representations of what your book will sort of look like on either a Nook Color or a Nook (click on image for full-size):






Feel free to click through a few pages just to get an idea.  But you won’t be able to actually verify how everything worked – particularly the links from the Table of Contents – until you click on the link I circled to download your converted ePub.

If you have a Nook or Nook Color, you can probably copy the downloaded ePub file to your Nook device.  Make sure you identify which ePub you downloaded so you don’t accidentally open the ePub you created with Sigil.  To be honest, the downloaded file appears to be pretty much identical to the Sigil-created one, from my experience.  Same file size and nothing appears changed.  But I haven’t done an in-depth look at the HTML to see whether any small things were added, deleted, or modified during the upload to Barnes & Noble and subsequent download of their test ePub file.

You can download the free Nook Reader Apps or similar e-reading apps such as Adobe Digital Editions Reader to preview the ePub.  I personally prefer Adobe Digital Editions because Barnes & Noble made their Nook Reader App a genuine irritation for adding a deleting eBooks.

Example:  If you were to right-click on your downloaded ePub file and select “Open with Barnes & Noble Desktop Reader” you would normally assume that Barnes & Noble’s Nook Reader App would open the file so you can read it.

You would be wrong.

Instead, all that happens is that the Nook Reader App launches, and opens to whatever book you might have last been reading.  You will now have to manually add the ePub book.  And this is not an intuitive matter, because whoever designed the App (and I use the word “designed” in as kind a manner as possible while biting my tongue) helpfully forgot to make the App actually simple to add or remove books.

Sometimes oversights happen.

Here’s how to add an ePub to your snazzy Nook Reader App so you can read it (and if you’re already losing interest, feel free to right-click on the downloaded ePub and select “Open with Adobe Digital Editions” – you’ll discover the folks at Adobe designed their software to surprisingly open up documents when you select it that way.

Fancy that!

The developers of the Nook Reader App did, however, include a User Guide.  Here it is (click on image for full-size):






“What should we put in a User Guide?”

“I dunno.  Just put some marketing stuff in there about how cool it is.  Like how you can go “ape crazy and enlarge the words to give your ailing eyes a break (because we all know they aren’t what they used to be!). It’s not rocket science, it’s just a better, easier way to read.”

It also isn’t rocket science to create an actual User Guide.  But that’s just me.  And yes, the Nook Reader App really is intuitive at its most basic core functionality.  Just not when it comes to adding or deleting ePubs.

How you add ePubs isn’t by right-clicking on the ePub and opening them – like Adobe Digital Editions can accomplish.  Oh, and KindlePreviewer and Kindle Reader App can both also open a MOBI or AZW file by right-clicking to open it.  Instead, for Nook Reader App you must go to My Library and then click again on My Stuff and you’ll see a little button at the top for Add New Item.  You can click on it to add the ePub (click on image for full-size):






In case you’re wondering how to actually delete ePubs from Nook Reader App – such as if you realize there’s a mistake or something you wish to add, remove, or change in the document and re-upload – it’s almost as simple and un-obvious as adding an ePub.  Here’s what you do:

If you’re using Windows 7 like I am, navigate to the following path in Windows Explorer:

C: \ Users \ (Your Name) \ My Documents \ My Barnes & Noble eBooks

You should see a list of any ePubs you manually added.  You can click on them to delete them.  It’s really that simple!  Just a click of a button (and a bit of navigation).  A shame no one added such a button to the Nook Reader App!

I’m quite sure Barnes & Noble was simply matching features with Amazon’s own effort in providing an e-reader App for users.  But to be sure, let’s see how Amazon’s Kindle Reader App deletes eBooks (click on image for full-size):






Barnes & Noble can now proclaim that Amazon did not provide a button to delete eBooks either.

They, um, allow you to right-click on any eBook in your Library and choose to Delete, Go to Last Page Read, Beginning, Table of Contents, add it to a Collection…

To be fair, while Barnes & Noble didn’t think of right-click functionality for their Reader App (or helpful User Guides or Delete buttons) they did provide an “Options” button for each book.  It…allows you to “Read Now.”

This is the essential difference between Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and it’s a shame – because adequate competition makes a market healthy.

But on the one hand you have Amazon allowing easy uploads of native Word 97-2003 documents and Barnes & Noble preferring users to go to a bit of extra work converting and formatting ePubs.

We have Kindle providing not only Reader Apps but also a more simple Kindle Previewer.  Barnes & Noble provides a Reader App as well, but its functionality is limited and usability crippled by oversight of basic abilities to add or remove eBooks.  It was obviously designed solely to work with eBooks purchased from Barnes & Noble’s own store, and it probably does that quite well.  But while it had the ability incorporated into it to manually add ePubs, either someone overlooked making that a simple matter, or they were reluctant to make it easy.

Amazon’s KDP site has a clean design friendly for people to upload.  It includes a link to an extensive user guide,  another to the KDP forums, and a few more useful links.  Barnes & Noble’s PubIt site features more space devoted to trying to encourage visitors to buy the most recent bestsellers while hiding its user guide with an extremely tiny “view” link.

I hated that Borders Bookstore’s initially promising online store was allowed to wane and give way to just trying to let Amazon handle their online presence.  I don’t like when companies essentially hand over advantages to their competitors.  There’s nothing wrong with imitation being a form of flattery and Barnes & Noble occasionally accomplishes this – such as their effort with the Nook Tablet.  It would be great if they were seen as anywhere close to as viable platform for self-publishers.  Instead, they’re seen as a consideration for a few sales but not typically anywhere close to balancing Amazon.

Publishing to Kindle (KDP)

There are a lot of guides on how to publish to Kindle (including Amazon’s own) with a lot of conflicting information and varying degrees of completeness.  With many of them, it’s a case of piecing together a puzzle from disparate parts that overlap, supplement, or contradict one another.

There are definitely different paths people can take.  Some guides recommend just doing the manuscript in HTML to be certain of formatting and cleanness in the document.

Most people aren’t gluttons for the punishment of steep learning curves and want something simpler – and some of the simple guides are often too simple.

I’ll take a middle approach.  It’s still simple – because it relies upon the basic Word 97-2003 document.  But what I also include are the nuances that make a Kindle effort better – by dealing with formatting issues that can inevitably arise when converting to the Kindle format.

A clean document is the first step.  Ignore all the complex guides that tell you how to fix a potentially and randomly screwed up document.  The effort in fixing an 85,000-125,000 word manuscript that was written over a period of four months with another four months of revisions and countless saves will sometimes take more time than just taking a fresh start.

A fresh start is copying the entire text to Notepad, and then copying back into a fresh, new Word document.  And then applying formatting to get it ready.

Although this sounds daunting, it really is not.

The formatting required for most documents (we’re not talking House of Leaves here) is pretty basic for Kindle:  Times New Roman font, page breaks after each page of front matter and after each chapter (so maybe a few dozen page breaks that take a few minutes to apply), paragraph style for the front matter, text, and Header styles for chapter headings, Bookmarks and Table of Contents, and re-applying any italics, underlined, and bolded text that the writer prefers.  This might take half an hour to an hour for many people.

A heavily written and revised Word document that has gone through many months of iterations may end up with such a jumble of styles and hidden formatting code that it may be virtually impossible to ever get it consistent.  The Word program delights in “guessing” formatting styles, as well as reinstating or balking at changing styles to “Normal” from whatever it decided fit at a particular time.

So let’s try the simple way.

I’m using Word 2010 for this guide.  Word 2007 will be similar.  Note that documents will be saved in Word 97-2003 format and not in DOCX format, per Kindle requirements.

Part 1 – Clean document

1)  Copy the text from your manuscript into Notepad ( in Windows, this would be located in Start >> Accessories >> Notepad typically )

2)  With Notepad open and your text now copied, close Microsoft Word completely.

3)  Open Word again and highlight all the text in Notepad ( CTRL-A can do this ) and copy, then paste into a new Word document

Part 2 – Viewing document

1)  Everyone likes to see their documents in a particular way.  For this kind of work, I prefer Print Layout view.  View >> Print Layout

2)  If you have a 24″ widescreen monitor, you may like to see three pages displayed side by side at a time.  Or only two with a smaller monitor.  View >> Zoom and click on the Many Pages button, and click on the small “Monitor” icon directly below the Many Pages button and drag to the number of pages (usually two or three) you would like to see displayed on your screen at a time (click image for full-size).






3)  Page Layout and Setup is up to you for making the document more readable for you to compare to the original for double-checking.  For illustration purposes, I’ll use a CreateSpace Page Setup.  Page Layout >> Page Setup (click image for full-size):






4)  Select all the text in the document ( CTRL-A ) and make it “Normal” style (click image for full-size):






5)  While all the text is still selected, set it to Time New Roman 11-point.  Kindle devices allow a user to change font to a variety of styles and sizes, and Times New Roman 11 is a good neutral font for getting the file uploaded.  Whatever fonts you may agonize over for a physical book fly out the window for eBooks.

6)  While all the text is still selected, set the Paragraph style so first lines are indented automatically.  An indent of 0.34″ works nicely.  As long as you had hard-returns after every paragraph in your original document (and did not use manually inserted spaces to indent originally), your paragraphs should all now be nicely indented.  Line spacing is for viewing purposes of the Word document.  Kindle devices allow users to set custom spacing.  The two line spacings I show below are similar and very readable when you are reviewing your Word document.  Also be sure to de-select Widow/Orphan Control so pages remain with consistent lines for reviewing purposes.  Page Layout >> Paragraph (click image for full-size):






Part 3 – Basic Formatting

1) Format your Front Matter however you wish.  Normally, the text on your Copyright Page and Dedication Page will be centered-text.  Do not create a Table of Contents yet.  We will do that in Step 5 below

2)  Insert Page Breaks after each piece of Front Matter and after each Chapter:  Insert >> Page Break

3)  Select each Chapter Number (or Chapter Title) and set their Style to Heading 1.  Depending upon your default style setting (which may make Heading 1 in Cambria 14 Blue Bold font, for instance), you may need to then change the font to Times New Roman 14 Black (Bold or non-Bold – your choice) for consistency.  And you may wish to set Line Spacing as well as Spacing Before / After since some Heading Styles may add a lot of extra space you don’t need.

Note 1:  The reason you are setting Chapter Numbers (or Chapter Titles) to Heading 1 is for Table of Contents purposes which the Kindle will utilize so a user may click on a chapter heading in the Table of Contents to jump to a chapter.  A Table of Contents is not required for a Kindle document although Amazon recommends one and some users may prefer the option of being able to jump to a chapter without scrolling through the book.

Note 2:  Heading 1 for the Table of Contents can only be applied to either the Chapter Numbers or the Chapter Titles.  So if you have both Chapter Numbers and Chapter Titles, with one of them above the other – such as:

Chapter One

Where It All Began

Then you should apply Heading 1 to whichever is first – in this case Chapter One since it’s above “Where It All Began” (click image for full-size):






4)  Apply Heading 1 Style to any other places you would like in your Table of Contents.  This may include a Foreword, Afterword, and Acknowledgements.  Usually the Copyright and Dedication pages would not appear in a Table of Contents, but it’s up to you.

5)  Now we can insert an automatic Table of Contents that will direct-link to anything with a Heading 1 Style.  You can also manually create a Table of Contents and create your own hyperlinks, but the automatic way in Word 2007/2010 works perfectly for Kindle’s purposes.  

Insert a Page Break to create a page where you want the Table of Contents to appear.  This is often between the Dedication and Acknowledgements.

Type the words:  Table of Contents (or Contents or whatever you wish).

References >> Table of Contents >> Insert Table of Contents (click images for full-size):






Note 1:  Formats should be set to “from template” in order to be able to access the “Modify” button.

Note 2:  Show Levels should be set to “1” (which will only pick up anything with a Heading 1 Style for the Table of Contents) and Show Page Numbers should be unchecked (since there are no page numbers in Kindle due to the ability to re-size fonts).  Make these settings after you have modified the Font to Times New Roman 11 and modified the Format for the Paragraph Style to set Line Spacing to something appropriate (with or without Spacing Before / After).  If you initially uncheck Show Page Numbers and set Show Levels to “1” and then modify the font, when you return to the initial screen Word kindly reverts some of these settings (usually showing page numbers) back to the default.

6)  Set any remaining headers to Heading 2 (Two) Style.  This would normally be Copyright PageTable of Contents, Dedication, and possibly Acknowledgements, Foreword, and Afterword as well as any Chapter Titles that fell below Chapter Numbers (since the Chapter Numbers are in Heading 1 Style).  As with when you set the Heading 1 Style in Steps 3 and 4 above, make any Font and Line Spacing corrections needed.

7)  Kindle requires both a “Catalog” Cover (the thumbnail seen on the website) and an “Embedded” Cover (the cover seen when you view a book on your Kindle).  We only want the Embedded Cover for this step.  It can be no larger than 127k per Amazon Kindle requirements, and it should be a 600×800 JPEG in order to properly fit the Kindle screen.  Normally, you should be able to save your cover at 150dpi at 600×800 at Medium, High, or sometimes Maximum Quality while remaining under 127k.  Less often, you may be able to do a 300dpi 600×800 Embedded Cover, although that is very difficult to remain below the 127k limit, so I’ll advise 150dpi.

Insert a Page Break to create a page for the Cover.  Obviously, this will be the first page.

Insert >> Picture to insert the Embedded Cover (under 127k in size, 600×800 JPEG at 150dpi and Medium, High, or Maximum Quality)

Click on the Picture and Center it on the page (Left to Right Center)

8 )  Insert Bookmarks for the Cover, Table of Contents, and Start of the book (where the actual story begins – either Chapter One or Preface typically).  Kindle uses the Bookmarks along with the Chapter links in the Table of Contents so users can navigate.

Put your cursor to the Left of the Embedded Cover (it will probably be at the Bottom Left which is normal).  Insert >> Bookmark and Type the word cover (all lowercase) and click Add

Put your cursor to the Left of the Name for the Table of Contents (however you titled it – either Table of Contents or Contents or whatever).  Insert >> Bookmark and Type the word toc (all lowercase) and click Add

Put your cursor to the Right of the first Chapter Number or Title (this one is done to the Right because when you insert the bookmark to the Left, the link doesn’t work correctly).  Insert >> Bookmark and Type the word start (all lowercase) and click Add

Part 4 – Kindle-Required Formatting

1)  Eliminate multiple (three or more) hard-returns after Paragraphs or anywhere else they appear (including between Chapter Titles and text).  Amazon doesn’t want multiple hard paragraph returns all over the place.  You should have only two returns after each Chapter Number/Title so there is a single blank line between it and the following text.  The same goes for Copyright Page, Acknowledgements, Foreword, Afterword, etc.  You can scroll through the document manually and delete extra blank lines, or do it with an Edit-Replace, by searching for:  ^p^p^p and replacing with ^p^p (which would replace triple returns and two blank lines with double returns and one blank line).

2)  Make Scene Breaks easy for readers to discern.  Since the Kindle allows users to change text size and style as well as line spacing, you will never know when a scene break will happen at the bottom of someone’s Kindle page.  So when they turn the page, if there wasn’t an obvious flag that a scene change occurred, it may be confusing – particularly when a scene ends with dialogue and the next scene begins with dialogue.  A blank line is NOT a good scene break for the Kindle.  Go through the document and insert a good flag for scene changes.  For instance, you may use Four Asterisks Centered with Spaces Between the Asterisks, like this:

*    *    *    *

While you may search for Scene Breaks by using Edit-Find and searching for ^p^p (which would be double returns and one blank line), you unfortunately will have to manually  replace the blank line with the Four Asterisks Centered with Spaces Between the Asterisks.

This is tedious, but it will make the document much easier for readers.  Again – do not use Blank Lines for Scene Breaks.  Manually replace those blank lines with a visual flag such as Four Asterisks Centered with Spaces Between the Asterisks.

3)  Add Hyperlinks wherever you need them.  If you list a website, or want clickable links to your other books mentioned in your bibliography, add the Hyperlinks now.  Select the text that should be hyperlinked, right-click and select Hyperlink, enter the Hyperlink, and hit OK.

Part 5 – Final Formatting

1)  Add back any text formatting you require.  So if you have things that should be in Italics or Bold or Underline, now you have a slightly more tedious step than came before.  The easiest way to do this is to open a copy of your original document (which had all the text formatting) and Edit-Replace searching for text that’s in the format you are looking for, and replacing it with Blue Font-Highlighted In Yellow for example.  Something eye-catching in other words.  And then you will need to go back and forth between the original document (with all its highlighted Italics/Bold/Underlined text) and your new Kindle document.  This is a manual step, unfortunately.  But unless you have tons of instances where you italicized, bolded, or underlined words, it really should not take long.  For most fiction, it should be tedious but not too time-consuming.

2)  Make sticky Em-Dashes.  Em-Dashes need to be made “sticky” so they remain associated with the word preceding them (they cannot easily be made “sticky” to both words before and after).  The reason you’re doing this is again – Kindle allows users to make all kinds of text customizations so you have no control where a line will wrap to the next line.  Your text will look more professional by keeping your em-dashes sticky.  And even if they were sticky when you originally wrote them, they lost that when you copied the document into Notepad and then into a new Word document.  Fortunately, this can be done automatically using Edit-Replace and is fast.  You probably have two possibilities – either two dashes () or an existing em-dash () that you will replace with ^+ which can also be found under Special in Edit-Replace (click image for full-size):






3)  Make sticky Hyphens.  Same as with em-Dashes, although sticky hyphens stick to both the word before and the word after.  If you don’t make hyphens sticky, it’s possible a Kindle user may see a line that has an example of two connected words breaking with the hyphen at the beginning of the next line.  Do an Edit-Replace and search for hyphens (-) and replace with ^~   







Note:  If you ever need to manually insert sticky hyphens, you can type this wherever one needs to occur:  CTRL-SHIFT-Dash (don’t type the word “Dash” but use the hyphen symbol)

4)  Make sticky non-breaking Ellipses.  Ellipses are where you have those three little dots…   There are all kinds of rules about ellipses as far as dot sizing or spacing (some style manuals prefer them to be a different sized dot than a following period, to distinguish them – because no way we could recognize a sentence that just ended…. ).  This is Kindle, so keep it simple.  If you do not make Ellipses Sticky and Non-Breaking, you will have instances where a user will see the three dots broken up onto separate lines when they come at the end of a line, or following punctuation (end-quote, question mark, or period) will end up on its own line.

You can Edit-Replace like before, but care must be taken because there are four variations.  So do not do a “Replace All.”  Also, depending on how your ellipses already appear in the document, you will probably first have to locate one and put it in the “Find what” field of the Edit-Replace box.  This is because your Word template may originally have auto-corrected any instances of three dots into an ellipsis which technically is a single object (whereas three dots are three different objects).  So searching for three dots (…) might not find anything in this Kindle document.  So scroll through it to where you know you have an ellipsis, and copy it so you can put it in the “Find what” field of the Edit-Replace box.


  • Ellipsis before end-quote (space-dot-space-dot-space-dot)  ^s.^s.^s.
  • Ellipsis between words (add another space ^s after last dot)  ^s.^s.^s.^s
  • Ellipsis before Question mark (add another space ^s after last dot) ^s.^s.^s.^s
  • Ellipsis at end of plain sentence (add another space-dot ^s. to end sentence)  ^s.^s.^s.^s.


  • “I was thinking . . .”
  • “I thought . . . you weren’t going to leave.”
  • “So what exactly were you . . . ?”
  • The sky was gray, and the snow began to fall . . . .
The last example is where style guides would prefer a definitive period rather than an equal-sized dot.
What you will do is an Edit-Replace search for each of these instances, so you will have to go to each one and decide whether to replace, depending on which of the four situations you encounter.  Note that both Ellipsis Between Word and Ellipsis Before Question Mark use the same solution of ^s.^s.^s.^s
So you will technically have three possible solutions (click image for full-size):






Note:  You can create these manually by variations of the following:


5)  Get rid of any instances of two spaces between sentences.  Books only have one space between sentences, even though many of us were taught to use two spaces between sentences.  Easy to do:  Edit-Replace and search for however many spaces you think might have happened.  If you feel you might have even done triple-spaces, start with those and replace with a single space before doing an Edit-Replace for double spaces.

6)  Get rid of spaces that happen at the end of paragraphs.  Sometimes you may have decided to break a longer paragraph into two smaller ones and there is a hanging space at the end of the first one.  This can potentially cause an extra blank line between paragraphs if a user has configured their Kindle text such that the space makes a line a little too long.

There are four variations and you can automatically replace them with Edit-Replace.  They’re easy to find because it will involve punctuation, a space, and a hard return:

Old New
. ^p .^p
? ^p ?^p
! ^p !^p
” ^p ”^p

7)  Get rid of spaces that happen at the beginning of paragraphs.  Same happenstance as above but two easy variations of Edit-Replace.

Don’t use the word SPACE or NOSPACE.  Those are to show what is or isn’t there for this example.  The second variant with quotes probably won’t be needed, but just in case:

Old New

8 )  Fix any instances where Word decided to use an end-quote rather than a begin-quote at the start of a paragraph:

Old New
^p” ^p“
. ” . “

9)  Fix any instances of straight-quotes with curly-quotes.  Per this link:

Microsoft Word automatically changes straight quotation marks ( ‘ or ” ) to curly (smart or typographer’s) quotes ( Smart single quotation marks or Smart double quotation marks ) as you type.

To turn this feature on or off:

  1. On the Tools menu, click AutoCorrect Options, and then click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  2. Under Replace as you type, select or clear the “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes” check box.

 Note   You can find and replace all instances of single or double curly quotes with straight quotes in your document. To do this, clear the “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes” check box on the AutoFormat As You Type tab. On the Edit menu, click Replace. In both the Find what and Replace with boxes, type or , and then click Find Next or Replace All.

To replace all straight quotes with curly quotes, select the “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes” check box, and repeat the find and replace procedure.

10)  Make sure you save the Kindle document as Word 97-2003 and not DOCX.

* * * Please read the comments – as I have added one that includes many links to more complex guides (including those that delve into HTML or utilizing tools like Sigil or Calibre) for those who enjoy digging under the hood.  For Kindle it isn’t necessary to employ such extra effort if the Word 97-2003 document is pretty clean as I discuss in this guide and is a typical book that most people would be uploading to the Kindle platform.  If it’s an extremely complex Word document with tables and embedded pictures and charts – anyone’s mileage may vary.

* * * When uploading to the Kindle platform, I highly recommend going to the section called “Enhanced Previewer” and downloading the “Book Preview File” which will be in MOBI format.  This preview file is FAR SUPERIOR to the “Simple Previewer” and can be read on either a Kindle device – by attaching your Kindle device to your computer via its USB cable and copying the file into the “Documents” folder on the Kindle.  When you open it on your Kindle, it should look exactly like it will when Amazon publishes the book in its compatible AZW format.

If you do not have a Kindle, you can still view the MOBI file of your eBook on any computer, tablet, or smartphone and see how it will actually perform on a Kindle by simply installing the *free* Kindle Previewer (which is the simplest way):

or by installing the *free* Kindle App which tends to connect itself to your existing Kindle device’s Library so may make it less fluid to review files quickly:

The reason I recommend downloading the MOBI file is because it will look and perform the way it will on the Kindle.  The “Simple Previewer” is a decent emulator but does not usually handle the bookmark for the Cover, nor sometimes other bookmarks.  It gives you a decent idea of how the book will look, but isn’t anywhere as good as utilizing the MOBI file with either a Kindle device or the Kindle Previewer or the Kindle Reading App.