Creating Files Fit For a Kindle

3rd June 2011

On Wednesday me, Simon Gray from Birmingham City Council’s web team and Kate Cooper of The New Optimists ran a full day workshop on creating electronic books. Specifically, it was for creating files that go on a Kindle.

We had a pretty full turnout, with nearly 20 attendees, and a very full day. You can get a feel for the areas we covered by looking at the breakdown of sessions on the Eventbrite page.

First, we ran through the simplest way to publish on the Kindle, going directly from a single Word document and creating a file from that. Then we looked at gaining more control over the formatting by editing it as an html file.

The final step was to bundle a number of pages up, including images and a cover, to create a full book with a table of contents.

Then, having gone through the process of creating the file, we looked at the video below, which Amazon provide to show the steps involved in publishing on their platform.

YouTube Preview Image

And finally, we had a discussion lead by Kate about the sort of editorial decisions you might make when publishing to Kindle. This was usefully framed by the sort of decisions she is going to be making when she publishes the first batch of New Optimists essays to Kindle.

Andy Mabbett was

very quick to post up a link to his Delicious bookmarks from the day. And we have released the content, available below,  from the workshop under the Creative Commons with Share alike License.

Kindlecamp Contents Zip File

The content we used on the day was from the Wikipedia entry for Birmingham and that is included in the bundle, as is the completed Birmingham book.

The people who came along were from a range of backgrounds. We had people there who can practically think in HTML and others for whom it was completely new. We had attendees from publishing houses and we had individual copywriters. We had the Library of Birmingham and the Museums and Art Galleries represented and we also had people who had come from Leicester, Milton Keynes and Cheltenham.

All of the attendees made a contribution and that made the day the success that I think it was. We knew from the start that we were going to be dependent on a good class, and we got a great one, so thanks very much to everybody who came along.

6 Responses to “Creating Files Fit For a Kindle”

  1. Andy Mabbett Says:

    Thank you for a very engaging and well-organised event. I’m confident that, should we decide to go down the Kindle route for publishing West Midland Bird Club archive material, then I’m now equipped to carry out the necessary conversions.

  2. Liz Broomfield Says:

    An excellent event, which I’m going to write a blog post about soon. I was pleased to learn *exactly* how to do the necessary conversions and to get all the hands-on experience, alongside peers so we could all help each other. And I was cheered to find my old html experience can be useful again.

    As a freelance proof-reader and copy-editor (amongst other things), I’m already talking to a couple of my clients about providing this service to them.

    Thanks for an excellent day! (and it’s “I, Simon and Kate” … think what you’d say if it was just you, and use that one. Sorry – can’t help it!)

  3. Karen Caine Says:

    I’m joining in with the thanks, and congratulations on an enjoyable event. Excellent and interesting fellow students too! And as I teach at Aston Business School I suppose I must declare an interest before praising the venue, with its fruit and pastries on tap, as well!

    Not only do I now feel confident to produce .mobi files for Kindle, and using the same program at the same time to create ePub books for iBook on my iPad, but the less techie discussions around what to use books for and how to structure and sell/give them away have started me off thinking of many more uses for it than I had at first envisaged. Any course that has still got me thinking about new ideas two days later despite all the pressures/deadlines of normal life has got to be good!

  4. James Robertson Says:

    I wish I’d known about this in advance; it sounds like an excellent day.

    Is it possible to post a request for a day on how to create ebooks? – cheers!

  5. Simon Whitehouse Says:

    Hello James,
    Digital Birmingham don’t have any plans to run any more days on publishing eBooks at the moment.
    However, we do expect there to be an announcement in the near future from one of our partners who will be doing some stuff very similar to what you have suggested.
    Watch this space for future developments.

  6. James Robertson Says:

    Nice one Simon! – will keep my eyes on the RSS feed!

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