Sunday, 14 April 2013

Epub Images Look Small on the Large Reading Devices

Creating Epub files of your book with images is not as straightforward as publishing a text only kindle book, such as a novel. Until recently, self-published writers were unable to preview their books on all reading devices; now publishing platforms enable the writer to preview their books on most ereaders online. Ereaders come in all shapes and sizes, from the large screens of the Ipad to the small Iphone. Pictures on your book must look good on all devices, no matter how big or small.

Kindle Previewers for Epub
Epub Images for Ebooks

The screenshot shows a visual representation of a step by step demonstration on KDP Amazon’s previewer (top row from the left) the Ipad, Iphone, the standard Kindle. The Kindle Fire and the Kindle Fire HD can be seen beneath on the left, and the large device is the Kindle Fire HD 8.9”.

How to Make Images on Epub Look Good on Readers

I stumbled across this problem recently when I spotted a customer review from an owner of a Kindle HD 8.9” screen. He reported that images of my art instruction books appeared small on this large screen. At this time, I was able only to preview my art books on my Kindle for PC, which is essentially a representation of the standard Kindle. This did not alert me of any problems on other ereaders, as I assumed the images would be made to fit. 

I soon learned that some screens even vary in their proportions, the Kindle Fire for example having a longer screen than the standard Kindle. This created further problems for the publisher of picture books. The humungous screen of the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" proved the most bothersome.

Problem with Images in Ebooks

Images too Small on Ereaders
As can be seen from this screenshot, even though the images looked fine on a standard Kindle, they appeared small on ereaders with large screens. Ebooks that have images with accompanying text is not such a problem, as any ‘blank spaces’ are filled by the text. But pages that comprise images alone, as can be seen here, if not made big enough, will appear small.

The Best Size for Images for Epublishing

The following instructions apply to Amazon’s self-publishing platform, not Smashwords (a different matter entirely).

I went back to my original Word files and found by experimentation the best size for images (with no accompanying text) to fit all ereaders. I found it to be around 25cm. These images are proportionately similar to an A4 sheet of paper, so would fit any ereader screen. They would also fill even the largest screen, such as the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” screen. However, if the image is square or landscape in proportions, blank spaces will occur above and below the image on the ereader anyway. Wide images could be turned on its side on the JPEG and inserted that way, so that it will fill the ereader screen if viewed on its side.

What to do About Image Formatting Problems

To make these images the required size, I had to alter the page settings on the Word document. Click on ‘page layout’ on Word and select ‘A3.’ Now click on ‘margins’ and select ‘narrow.’ Ensure your images are ‘centered’ on the page when you insert each JPEG. Of course, your document should always be saved on the old Word (97-2003). More about the basics of formatting picture books for kindle can be found below.

Formatting picture books for epub

Click on each image and drag in or out until the width of the image is around 25cm, as indicated in red on the screenshot. This width should be sufficient to fill even the largest ereader screens such as the Kindle Fire HD 8.9”.

Formatting a picture book from scratch is covered in separate articles here:

How to resize images on ebooks
Free images software for picture enhancement
Publishing books with black and white images
Compress your ebook with a free zip download
My book keeps showing formatting errors

Tips on Formatting Images for Epublishing

Publishing picture books is more complex than a text only book. Not only do the images have to be optimum quality and formatted correctly, they have to be sufficiently large to fill any ereader screen. Only after reading a customer review did I realise the images in my book appeared too small on some ereaders. I found by experimentation that images around 25cm on the Word screen will appear sufficiently large on the bigger screens. But images with accompanying text need not be this big, as the text will fill blank spaces.

Links to my Other Sites on Writing Books

Novel writing website
Screenwriting tips
Charle J Harwood author site