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Kindle formatting?

Thanks to everyone who left comments about my post yesterday -- I decided to take the tree out since it makes sense to do it while the property is clear. He's going to find me a replacement that's of course a lot younger and smaller, but I told him I was at the end of my budget for this so I couldn't afford to get a bigger, more mature tree in (since it's going to be expensive to take it and the diseased camellia out). The bees will be very sad. (Also, sorry for the typo -- it was a *big* fungus, not a bug fungus. Believe me, if someone had said bug fungus to me, I would have been all 0.o about it.)

Woke up this morning with a horrid migraine, and couldn't even get out of bed without barfing for a few hours, so the poor kitties tried to get me up to feed them by alternately walking on me, sitting on me, giving me kisses, and plonking their butts in my face. Even the landscaping guys pounding and smashing away outside the window didn't provoke me into getting up. Now I'm trying to catch up on work but it's hard -- only one eye is working well.

I have a friend who has also been an editing client, who has self-published a book that's primarily for her friends and extended family. She wants to make it into an ebook for Kindles, but is having a lot of trouble formatting it for them, and I have never even seen Amazon's program for this, let alone know enough to help her out. I said that my friends list knows pretty much everything in the world and that many of them are Kindle users who format fiction for it, so I thought I'd ask for the collective wisdom of you all.

She's got it in a Word file (and a PDF, but I've seen what Kindles do with PDFs, so I'm not sure that's the answer), but she's by no means a high level Word user (doesn't really know much about the tools in the program). Is there some trick to getting it to work so she isn't tearing her hair out anymore (it's reduced her to tears and blubbering), or is there a useful tutorial for someone with bare-bones skills on making Kindle ebooks? I'd be incredible grateful if someone can point me in a direction so that I can help her. She and her hubby are very good friends who have always taken good care of me, and I'd love to be able to return some of the favor.

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Jun. 3rd, 2011 10:51 pm (UTC)
Have her use Calibre (which is free software) to create a mobi file which is a lot easier to read on most e-readers and compatible with the Kindle.

PS: there is an LJ Kindle community you can join to learn all about lots of useful FAQs (I forget the name, but it's well-frequented and very active).

Jun. 3rd, 2011 10:52 pm (UTC)
1) Download Calibre for free.

2) Use calibre to convert the .pdf file to a .mobi file (the standard Kindle format).

3) Done.
Jun. 4th, 2011 01:17 am (UTC)
I would recommend this totally. It's super easy and works -- you pretty much just click a button to convert.
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:40 am (UTC)
The Kindle can't handle graphics, though, right? She also mentioned the pictures were like splitting in half or something. Should I tell her to remove all the pictures? (They're B&W)
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:58 am (UTC)
It handles graphics just fine (though in B&W -- I read manga on it all the time).
Maybe try the word file? I've have better results with rtf and doc than with pdf.
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:33 am (UTC)
So, total noob question: will that give her a file she can offer on Amazon for sale? That will give her an actual ebook she can list, correct, not just a file she can use on her own Kindle (assuming she has one).
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:39 am (UTC)
Correct. It creates a Kindle-format e-book.
Jun. 3rd, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
If the formatting of the Word file is fairly standard, amazon has a service where they'll convert .doc and .docx files into .azw for you, although it sometimes doesn't handle odd fonts or characters very well. You can send the file as an email attachment to [username]@free.kindle.com and a few minutes later it'll be emailed back to you in the kindle format. (If you send it to [username]@kindle.com instead, it will convert the file and send it directly to your kindle, although there is a small fee for that -- ten or twenty cents, I think.)
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:38 am (UTC)
I think that part of the problem (at least from the description in her...frustrated email, is that she can't get the Word files to convert to Amazon's format. It's entirely possible she's using a weird font, or that it's formatted more than when I saw it. I'll bring that up, but it's hard to troubleshoot with something I haven't seen in a long while going into a format and program I've never looked at before!
Jun. 4th, 2011 06:03 am (UTC)
naomikritzer has a whole series of nitty-gritty posts about converting various things to the ebook formats that Amazon and B&N (for the Nook) want. Start here and go forward; I bet at least some of it will be useful.
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