I read a lot. I do the majority of my reading on Kindle. Yes, I miss the feel of real books and all the reasons many readers don’t make the change from paperback to Kindle. I was won over by the ease of reading from a lighted surface, the ability to highlight passages as I go and easily find it again with a quick search, and the lower prices of Kindle books versus paperback. For me there is no going back.
The negative side is that there is a higher rate of typos and formatting problems in Kindle books. Somethings happen in translation from Word to Mobi automatically. Numbers and symbols can get replaced or vanish. Paragraph indents go haywire. Bullet points turn into unorganized clumps of words. Spaces appear between paragraphs like giant gaping holes and countless other little details.
It is not only self-published authors with books on the market with these issues. The good news for authors is that if you have the original Word document of your Kindle book it is easy to fix the formatting. The bad news for authors is that it is time consuming and tedious, but it is worth taking the time before you publish to Kindle or even to reformat a book you have online.
Inconsistent and Excessive Indentations
When you are working in Word on your paperback you get the perfect paragraph indentation when you hit tab. For Kindle this indentation is too large. You want to cut it in half. Unfortunately simply resenting the tab does not always work because you will find random paragraphs with excessive indents throughout your document once you view it on Kindle.
You will get the most consistent indents if you move the “first line indent” tab on your ruler. (There may be a correct technical term but I figured this was a better way to say it than arrow-thingamajig.)
I work chapter by chapter by highlighting the chapter and then resetting the “first line indent tab.” Once you do that go back through your chapter and double check all the first lines of your paragraphs. If one got missed reset it individually.
Trust me the indent will look too small on your Word document, but once you view it in Kindle you will see how clean it looks.
Just don’t do it! Bullet points do not translate to Kindle so if you paperback has them you will need to find an alternative method for formatting that section of your book. Unless you know how to write HTML code it just isn’t worth the time to even try to get them to lineup.
It is true. When a Word document converts to Mobi for Kindle there are little elves inside that knock random symbols, numbers and letters around. I am sure of it! Do the Kindle review step over and over and over again until you find all the little moves, shifts and blurps that occur. And then don’t worry about it if down the road a reviewer knocks you for having a typo. You can fix it quickly, reload, double check and within a matter of hours you are back online with a cleaner copy.
Typos happen to everyone! In fact I am reading a NY Times Bestseller right now and I found 2 typos on one page just last night. One was a formatting error were the “ got separated from the text and the other was a misspelling.
Double Spaces After Periods
Do you double space after periods? If so you should read: Is Your Spacebar Telling Your Age?