There are a few advantages of minimizing the file size of an eBook:
- The minimum Kindle price depends on the converted .mobi file size (available on the second page of publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing). The list price can only be 99 cents to $1.98 if the file size is under 3 MB and between $1.99 and $2.98 if the file size is between 3 MB and 10 MB. Authors intending to price their books under $2.99 (for which the royalty will be 35%) need to be aware of these limits.
- Each eBook publisher has a maximum file size. For example, Amazon’s Kindle is 50 MB, Sony’s Reader is 5 MB. If a file is a little above these limits, reducing the file size allows it to be published as a single volume.
- The eBook takes up room on the customer’s device. Some customers may be reluctant to buy eBooks with larger file sizes. Large files also take longer to download, especially on older devices. Depending upon the formatting, they might also be more susceptible to file problems.
Books with images tend to have larger file sizes. Compressing the images is the simplest way to reduce file size.
For Kindle, gray lines tend to show on one or more edges of the pictures when using Microsoft Word unless the file is saved as web page, filtered. After doing this, find the file in the saved folder, right-click the file, choose Send To, and select Compressed (Zipped) Folder. Then find the folder of picture files with the same filename and copy/paste it into the zipped folder. Upload this zipped folder to KDP. This should remove those gray lines.
(When using Word, insert the picture using Insert > Picture and select the file. Then right-click the picture, choose Size, and change Width to 100%. If the picture doesn’t fit on the screen, don’t worry – it will fit on the device, which you can check in the preview. Place each picture on its own line and wrapped In Line With Text.)
If pictures are repeated in a Microsoft Word file, this wastes memory. Suppose, for example, a book features a decorative page border. A one-a-day book (of quotations, for example) might stand out by featuring a visually appealing wide, short border. But even if the picture size is small, with 365 such images, the overall file size may be significant. As another example, consider a book of shuffled flashcards, where there are several copies of each picture.
There is a simple way to avoid adding to the overall file size when pictures are repeated:
- First, don’t copy/paste the image in Word. Just insert each different picture once. Where you want to insert a copy of a picture, put a short note, like PIC14. Then later on you can use find and replace.
- Next, open the filtered webpage (described in a previous paragraph) before making the compressed (zipped) folder in Notepad. Don’t edit this file in Word because Word will probably mess up the HTML.
- Don’t worry, you don’t need to know any HTML or programming.
- Find the actual pictures in the HTML file. The code will look something like this:
<h1><img border=0 width=1116 height=153 src=”filename_files/image005.jpg”></h1>
- The actual code may look different. It may have <p> tags instead of <h1> tags and it may have other statements not shown here.
- If there is a statement like id=”Picture 19″, remove it. This is superfluous. But if you copy/paste the picture code with the id number, then the same id number will be used twice. Avoid this problem by removing it.
- Copy the code for your picture, from <h1> to </h1> (or <p> to </p>).
- Use find and replace to change things like PIC14 (which you should have placed on its own line) to the code for the actual picture. You should have something like <h1>PIC14</h1> (or with <p>’s).
- Repeat this process for any other pictures that are repeated.
- Preview your eBook carefully before you publish. If you make any mistakes, this is your opportunity to catch them before your customers do. 🙂
Chris McMullen, self-published author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers