I recently discovered that the one and only diagram in my book was not visible in the ebook. I also discovered my tables weren’t displaying correctly. Why this was so, and how I fixed it, is the subject of this post.
Kindle Direct Publishing is a tremendous asset to the writer (and by extension, to you the reader.) But there are some things to be aware of. First, you need to know the acceptable file types.
Kindle accepts the following formats.
- Word (DOC or DOCX)
- HTML (ZIP, HTM, or HTML)
- ePub (EPUB)
- Plain Text (TXT)
- Rich Text Format (RTF)
- Adobe PDF (PDF)
Unfortunately, these have some peculiarities. For example, while Kindle accepts both DOC and DOCX, documents with complex formatting may not be converted properly. I discovered this while uploading my book; for some reason, the diagram didn’t show up. There are also some issues with converting and uploading HTM or HTML files. you have three different options in Microsoft Word: a Single File Web Page (MHT/MHTML); a Web Page (HTM/HTML); and a Web Page, Filtered. It’s not in the help files, but when you convert from DOC or DOCX to HTM or HTML you need to use the Filtered HTM/HTML option. This creates an HTM file along with a folder containing all the picture files. You will need to ZIP both the file and the folder and upload the ZIP file. If you use any other option, it won’t convert properly. For more information, see the following page: Types of Formats.
My problem was twofold. First, I needed to convert the Word shapes and text boxes into an image. Second, once I replaced the diagram with an image, the caption didn’t want to stay connected, so I had to use the Windows Snipping Tool to convert both the diagram and the caption into a single image. Then I had to bookmark the image, to into the Figures TOC, and insert a hyperlink to the bookmark.
Unfortunately, after I fixed the problem with the diagram but discovered another problem with the formatting of the tables; some of the tables extend beyond the borders of the Kindle. While the basic help doesn’t help much with tables, I discovered a lengthy PDF file that diagnosed the problem. Basically, Kindle doesn’t handle tables very well, as explained in the following document: Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines.
For me, fixing this problem required converting the tables into lists. But depending upon the way the tables are being used, Amazon recommends other options. It’s a judgement call, and it is trial and error. Once I did that, I had to remove the Tables TOC, since I no longer had tables. I also had to update the TOC to reflect the new pagination.