Monday, 20 February 2012

How to Resize Pictures for Self Publishing Books

Resizing pictures for self published illustrated books whether for epub or Createspce is a crucial yet easy to learn skill. Large images may cause the ebook to infringe the MB allowance for a Kindle platform. Images too small will result in a poor quality print book. What is the simplest way to resize images?

What does Resizing Images Mean?

An image that appears large on the screen does not mean it is a large image. Viewing a photograph in zoom is like looking close up at a photograph, yet the size of the photograph stays the same. In the same way, an image that appears small on the screen might have a large memory. This would be like viewing a large painting far away. The only way to determine the size of an image is to view it in a picture program and click on the image size.

How to Resize Pictures for Epub

A large image will take up more memory than a small image. Hover the mouse over a JPEG image in Pictures and the dimensions will be given. Digitally, an image is measured in pixels (px), the smallest point in a raster image. This is rather like the print equivalent of a single dot that makes up photograph. In printing terms, this is known as DPI (dots per square inch). Understanding the difference between pixels and DPI is crucial when it comes to resizing pictures.

Essential Photo Editing Software for Epublishing

An image of around 1500px x 2000px is pretty average for a JPEG image taken with a digital camera on a standard resolution setting (graininess). Anything around 2000px x 3000Ppx is large and would indicate the photo was taken with a higher resolution. Scan an image at a high resolution and the resultant JPEG will also be large. An image of around 1000px or less is small and might indicate the image was sourced from the Net or taken at a low resolution.

How to Resize Pictures for Epub

A picture ebook will need photographic software that enables image reduction – to make them smaller and therefore take less memory within the book file. An ebook with lots of images that is excess of 4 or 5MB cannot be uploaded onto a digital platform because of its size, so the images (as they take up more memory than text) will need to be made smaller. An ebook that lies above 2 or 3MB will attach a transmission fee to the ereader, so the epublisher will add this fee to the book price. This is not good news for the writer who wants to keep the cost of the ebook down.

Free Picture Resizing Software for Ebooks

Most photo editors have an image resizer built in, such a Paintshop Pro or Picassa. You can resize images in Paint, a free image software that comes as standard with Microsoft. But I use Irfanview, also a free picture software because I have total control over the resize program. Open the program. Browse to the image and open. Click on the ‘image’ button and in the submenu, click ‘resize/resample.’ You can either reduce the image size by ratio (by percent) or by inputting new dimensions in pixels. Remember to ‘save as’ to retain the original file.

When Not to Resize Images

Making an image smaller will inevitably downgrade its quality, but this will seldom be perceived if the image is not less than around 500px on one side when viewed online. However, the original image must be of good quality. Only by reproducing such an image in print will pixilation be perceived. An image that appears blurred or fuzzy in the first place should not be used in an ebook.

How to Resize a Picture to Make it Larger

Resizing images for Createspace, Lulu or similar print on demand publishers (or POD) is another matter. The source image must be at least 1800px on any one side. It would not do to make bigger a small image (for instance by making a 1000px x1200px image 3000px x 2000px) for this would simply mean enlarging its poor quality, including any visible pixilation. When it comes to print books, the quality of the images is paramount. They should be large in the first place, be clear and sharp. Taking great photos for self publishing print books is covered in another article.

How to Increase DPI for Print Images

So long as the image is good quality, you can increase the DPI for print books. DPI stands for dots per square inch, and Createspace demands at least 300DPI for print images; anything less could look pixilated in print. Again, I use Irfanview to increase the DPI of my pictures. Browse to the image concerned and open. Click on ‘images’ and then on ‘resize/resample' within the submenu. Set the DPI to 300.

Free Photo Software for Resizing

The apparent size of an image viewed onscreen says nothing about its actual size, as programs enable you to zoom in or out, including ereaders. The only way to tell the true size of an image is to view it in a picture program and to establish its dimensions in pixels. Smaller images would be more suited to ebooks; larger pictures for the print book market.

Image resizing software is crucial for self publishing illustrated books, whether for epub or for the print market. The former will entail reducing your images for the book file; the latter requires large, good quality images first off, which may need DPI enhancement for print. Never increase the size of a small image in the hope it will improve its quality. It will simply make it bigger, warts and all. The best solution is to ensure all images are good quality before resizing.

How to Publish Illustrated Books

How to format books for POD error free
How to upload a picture book with free zip software
My images on epub look small on ereaders
How to publish black and white illustrated books
How to create excellent images for self published books
Design your own book cover


  1. Thanks for sharing this post about resizing pictures. This is something as an author and blogger that I am always having to do. You gave me more options with your article. Blessings, Deborah H. Bateman-Author

  2. This is just what I was looking for. Thank you.

  3. This photo resize idea is really good and its can helpful for us, thanks