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How to Publish for the Amazon Kindle

Online book stores have been taking a toll on brick-and-morter book stores since the 1990s, and one of the first, and today the largest online book store is amazon.com. Late in 2007 amazon released it's Kindle ebook reader. The Kindle is a device designed specifically for reading ebooks. A Kindle user can browse amazon.com's book store, purchase ebooks, and have them delivered immediately over its wireless system called Whispernet. Kindle immediately became a big hit and today comes in many versions and is the most popular ebook reader.

With amazon being the largest online book store, and their Kindle ebook reader being the most popular device designed specifically for reading ebooks, it makes good sense to publish your digital product for Kindle. Using amazon's online Kindle Direct Publishing application (KDP), you can upload your digital product to amazon, have it automatically converted to Kindles .azw format, sell it in their amazing online store, and earn royalties.

Although you can access Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) with your regular amazon username and password, you can't actually publish for Kindle until you've completed your account information, which includes providing your address, phone number, and your tax identification number which in the case of a private individual would be your social security number. After your signup form has been accepted, you'll receive a 14-character publisher code.

Although you can upload your file in several formats, such as plain text (.txt), Word (.doc), or Adobe PDF (.pdf), KDP always converts it to HTML before converting it to the .azw format for the Kindle. It's advised that you convert your file to HTML and test it yourself before submitting to to KDP because KDP supports only a limited number of HTML tags. KDP also supports some of it's own custom tags, such as <mbp:pagebreak /> and <mbp:section> which allow you set where your page breaks and section breaks will occur.

When formatting your html, it's important to understand the Kindle philosophy of publishing. That is that the document should be "re-followable", in other words don't use tables or other html elements to set a fixed width. And avoid setting a specific font and font size because the Kindle user should have the freedom to chose their own font, font size, and zoom level without part of the document going off the screen horizontally.

If your document includes no images, you can upload the html file directly. If your publication includes images, those images should be in .jpg file format. You'll need to use short relative html links to your images, and then compress all your images and your html file into a ziped file (.zip) archive.

When your publication is ready, log into KDP and click on the Bookshelf link. Then click on the [Add new title] button. Next, in the Your Book section you'll need to enter a Title, Description of up to 4000 characters, and a cover image. Your cover image should be in .jpg file format and should be no larger than 500 pixels by 1280 pixels (the recommended size is 600 pixels by 800 pixels). You'll also need to enter the name of contributors, which are the publications authors. At least one author name is required.

The Your Book section is very easy to use because you can click on a link next to any entry to get more information about that entry. However, you'll want to have some information determined before you enter the section. For example, which category should your publication be listed in? There are really too many categories and sub-categories to chose from. And, even though they're optional, you'll want to add some Search keywords. You can add up to 7 keywords.

After you've entered all the information about your publication, click on the [Browse for Book] button and a file dialog box will appear where you can browse your computer for your publication's file, select the file name, click on the [Open] button in the file dialog box, then in KDP click on the [Upload book] button. This is where the rubber meets the road. Your file is converted to the .azw format immediately after upload.

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