MobiPocket Creator or Not? KDP Amazon Ebook Format

mobipocket creatorIf you plan to sell ebooks online, Amazon Kindle is an e-publishing must do. For many Indie authors, the first step of properly formatting documents to be readable on electronic devices can be a major hurdle. From what they’re saying at KDP Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing), it doesn’t seem to make it any easier.

My theory on formatting is keep it simple, keep it simple, keep it simple. (Actually that’s Mark Coker’s theory from the free Smashwords Style Guide, but it works for me too.)

So should we upload properly formatted MS Word docs directly or go with MobiPocket Creator as they suggest?

This answer at first glance seems to be obvious; go with whatever KDP Amazon suggests. However, it’s quite a few more steps for a product that, in my opinion, results in basically the same thing.

Below is the link to the instructions from Amazon explaining how to format your Word doc to be ready for Kindle. The process involves saving it as a Web Page, Filtered HTML file, then uploading it to MobiPocket Creator (something you’ll need to freely download), then using that to build the book with cover and TOC added, then preview it on the Kindle Previewer (another something to freely download), and then upload it to KDP Amazon. Whew, that’s a few steps.

Or you can simply upload your Word doc (not docx) to KDPAmazon directly. Hmm, yeah, the 2nd method does seem easier.

In my experience, both ways produce basically the same results. The only advantage that seems to lean to the 1st method is perhaps more control over the Menu feature working correctly each time for items like the cover, TOC and where the book “starts” for readers who need the author to tell them that.

However, with a cover image added to the beginning of the Word document and proper bookmarks inserted, the 2nd method still works fine: cover for the cover, TOC for the table of Contents, and start for where the book truly begins for inquiring minds.

Maybe other Indie authors and readers will weigh in on their opinion if it really matters to use MobiPocket Creator or not. Here’s the fairly lengthy description from Amazon on the subject –

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Monthly Indie Author’s Thread at Amazon Kindle Forum

indie authorEvery month Indie authors who want to sell ebooks have a place in Amazon forum threads dedicated just for them to share blurbs/links about their ebooks with perspective readers. This e-publishing solution happens at both (USA) and (United Kingdom).

The thread in the US is run by Blue Goddess, the handle of a long-time forum participant. It’s done in memory to a passed and well-known/loved supporter of Indies named dog (case sensitive as his handle was). An example of the past month’s US thread:

In memory and in honor of our beloved forum member, dog, I am starting the Indie Author’s Thread for July, 2011. *raises a glass to the heavens, and toasts dog* Thank you, dog, and everyone who is now, or has ever served in the military.

For those of you who do not know, dog was a beloved forum member who was taken from us much too soon. He was a supporter of indie authors, good will towards each other, peaceful communication, and good humor. dog could stop a thread from turning ugly with a wily joke or an impassioned statement.

dog was the originator of the monthly Indie Author’s thread. When he passed, I merely picked up where he left off, to keep his memory, and the tradition alive. While we no longer need a “safe haven” for the authors, I think it is important to remember dog, and to give each month a fresh start for new kindle owners.

You can read more about dog at the thread below. Fellow forum member, Corky, has put together a fantastic list of dog’s greatest hits.

Please note that dog’s posts now say they were made by Selena, as his daughter took over his account when he passed. Here is the thread she started on that fateful day –

Readers…enjoy the wonderful books you find here! Authors, good luck!

And then the Indies begin posting blurbs with links to make readers aware of their work and hopefully sell ebooks on Amazon. This is the example of the thread from Sept, 2011.

Amazon UK has adopted a similar thread. Their September example can be seen here.

(Updated for Sept-Oct) Since September is almost up, the October thread should be coming out right around Sept. 30th or Oct. 1st at both locales. Good chance to get your Kindle/paperbacks in front of browsers. Look for it in the US at the Meet Our Authors forum and in the UK at the main Kindle forum.

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