Sell Ebooks on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, Formatting for Kindle or Nook

Amazon Kindle 3For Indie authors who sell ebooks on Amazon Kindle, the place the go is 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.

Barnes&Noble Nook colorManual 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.

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8 Responses to “Sell Ebooks on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, Formatting for Kindle or Nook”

  1. wmikeallen Says:

    Hi Jason, What is the key stroke sequence for a section break in Word?

    • Jason Matthews Says:

      Mike, I’m having trouble finding the answer. The keyboard shortcut for a Manual Page Break is Ctrl Enter. Since this article is pretty comprehensive and doesn’t mention one, it makes me wonder if there is a shortcut or not.
      Another website I found says it’s Ctrl Shift Enter, but that resulted in a Column Break which is not the same thing.

      Maybe someone else knows the answer to this?

      • misterlarson Says:

        Ctrl Enter works fine.

        • Jason Matthews Says:

          Ctrl Enter is for a Manual Page Break. As far as I know, there’s no key sequence for a Section Break, which is what Barnes&Noble’s Pubit needs in a document for a new chapter since a Manual Page Break will not do the trick there as it will at KDP.

  2. misterlarson Says:

    So it’s okay to self publish the same novel on both Kindle and Nook?

    • Jason Matthews Says:

      Absolutely. You own the rights and can publish it anywhere you want provided that’s in line with their policies too. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple, Sony, Kobo, Google… publish your ebook at all of these.

      • Mama and Baby Love Says:

        Hi Jason, I am new to the ebook scene. I have my content all ready to go but I am trying to figure out the next step. So if I publish on Pubit, I can sell on Barnes & Noble, but could I also sell it on Amazon without doing anything extra? Thanks so much.

        • Jason Matthews Says:

          That’s basically correct, Stephanie (is it?). Pubit is the self publishing method for Barnes & Noble. KDP Amazon is the method for Amazon Kindle. Both are free and similar processes. I use MS Word documents for both but you can also use an HTML version of your document. I also have slightly different versions because Kindle takes manual page breaks well for new chapters (or screens) and Pubit prefers section breaks. Pubit also makes the images smaller so you can use slightly larger images compared to Kindle. You want to check your document in their Preview mode, both for KDP Amazon and Pubit, before publishing and make adjustments if necessary.

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