Wednesday, 6 June 2012

How to Compress Files for Epub with a Free Zip Download

Creating a Word book file to upload onto an Epub platform is easy if you know how. But if the file is a picture book, certain formatting errors often occur on the Kindle previewer that is otherwise invisible on the original document. Here’s how I fixed formatting problems with ebooks by creating a zip file for ebook conversion.
Book Converter for Epub

If the ebook is a text only file, such as a novel, the writer need only think about formatting text. But as in my case, if there are pictures involved all sorts of problems can occur that may only show up on the Kindle previewer. Firstly, read my article on the beginner’s guide to formatting text only books for Kindle. If the book is a picture book such as a how-to or hobby book, read my article on how to format words and text in a word file for epub (or epublishing).

How to Cure Formatting Errors on Picture Books

Until recently, I uploaded a simple Word.doc book file onto Kindle and Smashwords without any problems at all. However, after some changes to how Kindle books are converted, formatting errors started to appear on my images that had never been there before. After some digging, I found the best way around this was to save my book file as webpage filtered and then to compress the files in a zip file. All the formatting errors vanished. I shall give you a step by step guide on how to cure formatting errors on picture books next.

Free Zip Download for Epub

Winzip download is a good compression software for making your files smaller, but now costs for subscription, and my free trial period had expired. I then discovered a free compression software, which is Jzip. Jzip is a free Winzip alternative that does all the compressing for you. It is easy to install and easy to use.

Correct Formatting for Ebooks

Follow the onscreen instructions on how to install JZip which takes you through a wizard. Once you have installed JZip (or any alternative compression utility that you choose) follow these steps to create a compressed book file for upload onto Kindle.

1 Make sure your book file is word-perfect and properly formatted for ebook publication. This means ensuring it is saved as Word 2003, (not the latest Word 2007). Strip the document of all hidden formatting scripts by copying and pasting onto Wordpad and then saving it into a Word 2003 document. You will need to reformat the appearance of your book regarding paragraphs and headers. Don’t use fancy fonts or graphics.

2 If images are included in the book file, make sure none ‘float,’ but is ‘in line with text’. Centre each image on a separate line and make sure the book file is not too big. Full instructions on how to format picture books for Kindle and how to resize images for ebooks can be found in separate articles.

How to Compress Book Files for Kindle

3 Now open your word document where your book file is located. Click on the office graphic located on the upper left of your screen and hover over ‘save as.’ This will bring up further word options. Click on ‘other formats’ which will bring up these further options. Click on ‘Word document’ which will create a drop down menu. Select ‘Webpage filtered.’ Ignore the message and ‘save.’ Close the document.

4 Wait a few seconds and two files will be created: one for the text, which will show up as a HTML document. If you click on this, you can view the text only aspect of your book file as webpage filtered. The other file is the image file, which lists all the images (if any) that are in your book. Click on this and all the images within your book will show up.

Free Zip Upload for Converting Books

5 Now right click on the HTML file of your book (once closed) and select add to: JZip will create a compressed version of your book file.
6 Don’t forget to include the picture file in the zip file. Click and drag the image file and insert it into the zip file. Your zip file should now comprise the HTML element of your book and (if applicable) the image file.

How to Upload a Compressed Ebook File onto Kindle

7 Now log into KDP Amazon (but not before you have a book cover and a blurb prepared). Follow the online instructions on filling in the various fields, including book title, author, categories etc (unless you are updating an existing book).

8 In the book file field, browse and locate the zip file where you book file is located and upload. Wait a few moments and then you should be able to preview your book either on the simple previewer, or the enhanced previewer. You will need to install Amazon’s Kindle for PC before you will be able to view your book how it will appear on a Kindle device.

9 If you spot a spelling error or a similar aberration on the preview, you will have to delete the zip file and the webpage filtered files. Make the amendment on the original word file and then repeat the process for creating the zip file.

10 Reupload the book file. Save and continue. Once you have completed the KDP process, your book will become live in a few days or so. How your book looks on Kindle will be reflected on the ‘look inside’ feature which will take a little longer to be updated.

How to Format your Book for Epub on a Zip File

Zipping your book file for upload onto a self-publishing platform will eradicate formatting errors on your images if the book is a picture book. Simply save your Word document as webpage filtered, which will create two folders: HTML text and images. Drag the picture file into the zipped HTML file which can be created by the use of a good file compression program. Winzip software is reliable, but JZip is free.

More About Formatting Ebooks for Epublishing

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How to format picture books for Kindle
How to format novels for Kindle
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