For Indie authors who sell ebooks on Amazon Kindle, the place the go is kdp.amazon.com. For self-publishing at Barnes & Noble on the Nook, it’s Pubit. Because Amazon and Barnes & Noble are the best e-publishing retailers for my books, it’s important to look good on each e-reading device. Not surprisingly, the upload process is primarily the same but there are a few important differences. Do not upload the exact same document to each book seller. Read this first.
Most indie authors work with Microsoft Word (.doc), and it’s my opinion this is the simplest way to upload for selling ebooks. If you work with MS Word (or many similar substitutes like Open Office), this advice will help format a version of your ebook for both Kindle and Nook.
Manual page breaks in MS Word documents work great on Kindle for creating new chapters (or for new pages during the title area, copyright and disclaimers, Table of Contents, etc). Manual page breaks will start a new Kindle screen and give the look of a new chapter beginning. For some reason, they don’t work the same when uploading to Pubit. For the Barnes & Noble Nook version of the same document, change all of the manual page breaks to section breaks. Unfortunately this needs to be done one at a time, since Microsoft Word doesn’t have a global replace feature for section breaks like it does for manual page breaks. If anyone has a solution for this, I’d love to hear it.
The other main difference is the size of the images. For some reason unknown to me, the same image (e.g. 3″ wide by 3″ high) will come out dramatically different on the Kindle screen as it will on the Nook. On Kindle, it will be huge, taking up nearly the entire width of the screen. On the Nook, it will be fairly small. Why? I have no idea, but because this happens to my documents in the Preview mode it’s something to take note of.
Preview mode? Yes, thankfully there’s a preview feature when uploading ebooks to both Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, so you can see what your document will look like on both devices before e-publishing. Whew, at least they don’t leave us in the dark.
My recommendation is to spend plenty of time with the preview feature at each ebook retailer. Double-check the Preview, which is how it should look on the device to a purchaser, page by page to make sure the formatting looks good, the new chapters start on a new screen as they should, and images are the proper size.
(An oddity in the Preview mode for the Nook is that it only advances one page at a time. For the Kindle you can zoom ahead to any location, which is quite handy for checking the final pages like the About the Author section. I really wish Pubit would add this feature for the Nook’s Preview.)
Another small difference is that the size of the cover you can upload to Barnes & Noble’s Nook is limited. The site says, “Please make sure that your cover image is a JPG file between 5KB and 2MB. The sides must be between 750 pixels and 2000 pixels in length.” It’s not that big of a deal, but you may have to play around with some programs to adjust your cover image as I had to. This doesn’t seem to be a problem at Amazon, although it makes sense that there must be some limits there as well, though it hasn’t affected my covers yet.
Any other things to take notice of between the two ebook retailers? Just leave a comment.