I have just (finally!) published my children’s story book – My Little Pets Stories. It was this book that got me started researching about kindle publishing and I have been looking for an artist to draw the illustrations without much success!
After being let down by a couple of illustrators I made the decision to take my own photos and also source some from Fotolia.
I also decided to use 2 different pieces of software to create the book so that I could compare them:
Free Software – Amazons Kids Book Creator
Paid Software – Ultimate eBook Creator
Let me give you my thoughts and recommendations!
Amazons Kids Book Creator
You can download this for free and install it on your PC or MAC. It is quite straight forward to use and you just need to follow along with the prompts.
The quickest way to create your book is to first of all create it in Word or Open Office and then export your document to the PDF format.
Once you have a PDF version you can just upload this to the Kids Book Creator and the software will compile it and convert it. You have the option to add interactive text but to be honest I don’t really see the point in this.
From the reports I have read, books with this feature are not getting very good reviews. It may not work on all devices so I left well alone rather than limit my readership.
So I just uploaded my PDF document and then saved it for publishing. It creates a .mobi file that you can upload to your KDP account and that is it!
But what does it look like? That was my real concern as I wanted to make sure that the photos were high quality once converted to a kindle book. I’ll go into that after I first discuss the other software.
Ultimate Ebook Creator (UEC)
This software will take a little getting used to first but once you know how to use it then it is fairly quick and easy. You can create your book within the software using an interface similar to Word and Open Office and then you can export it to PDF format or as a .mobi file straight away.
Therefore I created a .mobi file and uploaded that to my KDP account.
I found adding the images using UEC a bit more fiddly to be honest in terms of getting the page breaks in the right place. However, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I found the image optimizer tool was fantastic at producing a low file size image but with high resolution.
Which is Best?
Next time I produce a book like this one I would create the book using Word (or Open Office) and I would use the image optimizer within UEC to save the images before pasting them into my Word document.
Then I would export the document as a PDF and use the Amazon Kids Book Creator. That’s my own personal preference at the moment!
Previewing a Fixed Layout Book
When you use the Amazon Kids Book Software you are producing a fixed layout book. In other words the books pages are a fixed size and therefore the option to change the font size is not applicable to the reader.
The reason why it is best to use this for a children’s book is because any images need to be next to the relevant text or the book doesn’t flow very well.
When using UEC your book is not a fixed layout and therefore this can cause issues with where the image is placed if someone increases their screen size when reading it.
So what did the previews look like?
Well I had a shock because I did my usual process for previewing books which is to use my ipad and download the preview file to my ipad kindle app. When I did this I discovered that the book I created using the Amazon kids book creator was blank apart from the cover image!
However, the book I created using UEC was absolutely fine!
So I decided to preview each of the books using the preview feature within KDP itself!
Preview of Kids Book Creator Book
Notice that only 3 options are available!
Preview of UEC Book
Now see that there are lots of preview options available!
It seems that fixed layout books can not be previewed on anything other than the Kindle HDX or Kindle Voyager.
I don’t know why this is the case but it is something that you should bear in mind because you could end up getting a little frustrated, as I did, if trying to preview it on your ipad!
You Can’t Preview Fixed Layout Books Using ipad Kindle App
To double check this I downloaded the preview file to my Kindle Fire and it worked for the fixed layout book. The quality of the images were excellent too so I was pleased with the result.
Will It Work on iPad After Publishing?
My next concern was whether or not the published fixed layout book would be visible if purchased and then read using an iPad! So I published this version of the book anyway and then quickly checked it out!
You’ll see on the sales page some text specifying what devices you can read the book on:
There are lots of devices listed so Amazon certainly believes it is suitable and can be read on all of these. I checked it out by requesting a sample of the book and reading that sample on my iPad. Did it work?
Yes! Here is a screen shot:
If you want to create a fixed layout book then you can use Word, Open Office or UEC but make sure that you convert your document into PDF format and then upload that to the Kids Book Creator to convert it to a .mobi file.
Personally, I will use Word and optimize my images using the feature within UEC before pasting them into my Word document.
Upload your .mobi file to KDP and preview your book using the preview feature within your KDP dashboard or on your Kindle Fire if you have one.