KDP FOR KIDS
Amazon just announced the new KDP Kids website:
- Visit Amazon’s PR page, http://amazon.com/pr, to read Amazon’s press release about KDP Kids and the Kindle Kids’ Books Creator tool.
- Visit the new KDP Kids website, https://kdp.amazon.com/kids, to explore the new program and to check out the new Kindle Kids’ Books Creator.
Or keep reading here and I’ll introduce you to them. I might even mention a few things that you can’t find through the above links. 😉
KINDLE KIDS’ BOOK CREATOR
The main thing that I see so far is the new Kindle Kids’ Book Creator tool.
This tool is designed to help children’s authors prepare illustrated books for Kindle.
There are some very convenient, cool features:
- You can upload a multi-page PDF file. Usually, PDF’s don’t convert well to Kindle, but this is different. This tool was designed to convert children’s paperback PDF files to Kindle-friendly files.
- Kindle text pop-ups are designed to make the text more readable across all available devices (Kindle Fire tablets, iPads, and cell phones).
- In addition to PDF, you can upload JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and PPM files. Most of these formats are to upload images.
- Basically, you can add images, add text, and make the text interactive through pop-ups.
- The idea was to simplify children’s e-book formatting for Kindle. Rather than work with HTML or CSS, you just conveniently add images and text.
- You can specify facing pages to improve readability. For example, sometimes a print book is designed so that two facing pages create one larger image.
The Kindle Kids’ Book Creator is available for Windows and Mac. Check to make sure that your computer meets the system requirements.
- Visit the KDP Kids website (I gave the link above).
- Click the Get Started button.
- You can download the tool here, or you can click the Learn More link. This link gives you additional options (e.g. downloading without the previewer) and also includes FAQ’s.
It’s not just good news for authors.
This is great news for parents, children, and educators, too.
KDP Kids solves the main problem:
- Authors and publishers have struggled to make illustrated children’s books work well with Kindle. In the past, this either meant not making a Kindle edition at all, or not achieving optimal formatting. Now it’s much easier to properly format an illustrated children’s book, so there will soon be many quality illustrated children’s books on the market. This is your chance to ride the wave! Yes, the key word was quality (which includes editing). It’s not just about the visual design, but KDP authors now have an easy means to make the book interactive through pop-up text.
- Many parents and educators have preferred print editions for the same reason: It’s been a challenge to find a selection of properly formatted children’s books. Now that it’s easier to make the images and text work better together, with interactive pop-up text, there will soon be many quality, interactive illustrated children’s books on Kindle and the reading experience will be much improved.
Children’s authors can help themselves by advertising these benefits to parents and educators. Show them how KDP Kids will benefit their kids. It’s a chance for you to advertise something other than your book directly, while still branding your image as an author. That is, you can get publicity through this without blatant self-promotion. That’s a nice marketing opportunity.
Let’s take this a step further: Kindle Unlimited is an amazing value for parents. Children get unlimited reading of 600,000 eligible Kindle Unlimited books for $9.99 per month:
- bedtime stories
- chapter books
- early readers
- homework help
Kindle Unlimited is like having an immense library at your fingertips, with no late fees. You can borrow up to 10 books at a time.
Check out A.J. Cosmo’s author picture on the KDP Kids page. That’s pretty cool, and shows you how even your author photo can do positive marketing. (But if everyone copies the same idea, it will cease to be effective. I’m not saying to copy this idea. I’m saying to let this idea inspire your own creativity.)
NOT JUST FOR CHILDREN
I expect to see new tools on the way, such as a textbook-friendly option for nonfiction.
KDP Kids is just one of 8 new pages that KDP has created. For example, there is KDP Non-fiction: https://kdp.amazon.com/non-fiction. At the bottom of the KDP Non-fiction page, you can find out what the other 6 new pages are.
Kindle is striving to make it easy (and FREE!) for authors to convert their books (even complex ones with images) to Kindle format, and to make it easy and convenient to achieve quality formatting.
The new Kindle Kids’ Books Creator is a giant leap in this direction. I expect to see more coming soon.
I received two emails this afternoon regarding KDP Kids. One was the automated announcement; the other was a personal email. I responded to the personal email and received a very quick, polite response. So I replied to that with some technical questions to try and clarify some important points that didn’t seem clear from the press release or FAQ’s. If any of my questions get answered, I’ll post that information on my blog.
I will also be testing this new tool out. If I discover anything valuable, I’ll be happy to share my ‘secrets’ on my blog, too.
So I may have another post or two about KDP Kids later this week.
Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers
- Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
- Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
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Click here to jump to the comments section:
Ugh. So much NO. Illustrated kids books for Kindles?? Why? In an era when kids have cell phones before they’re fully potty-trained, children should start with REAL books. Whoever is choosing Kindles for their kids over real illustrated books is doing their child a huge disservice. I’m sorry but you can’t appreciate the art of an illustrated book on a Kindle as you would a real copy.
I’m so disgusted.
You bring up a good point. For the most part, I agree that the reading experience of a print children’s illustrated book is better than with Kindle.
My daughter has bookcases filled with children’s books (both illustrated and chapter books). She mostly reads print books, but a few nights per week we also read from my Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Fire. Having tried this both ways, I can see that there are benefits of both ways. Personally, I would recommend a little variety, with the majority of the reading of illustrated books from print. (For chapter books, an added benefit of Kindle is that’s it’s very easy to find the definition of a word.)
For something like Victoria Kann’s incredible Pinkalicious series, I wouldn’t fathom of trying to read that on a Kindle. The greater the artistic merit, I would certainly favor print. There are some illustrated children’s books where the story is wonderful, but where the art, in those exceptions, perhaps not intentionally, doesn’t really stand out in print compared to Kindle. Going a step further, I have actually seen a few books where the images look better on a screen (next paragraph).
There are many self-published modern books where the art was produced graphically, which actually looks better on the screen than in print (and was designed with small screens in mind). I’ve seen firsthand the challenges of taking a bright image that was designed on the screen and trying to make it look just as good in print. I’ve discovered some of these screen-designed children’s books through Kindle Unlimited (my daughter enjoyed them).
Anyway, I still agree that most illustrated children’s books do offer a much better reading experience in print. My daughter reads mostly in print, and I won’t be changing that. However, she does get to read on the Kindle a couple of times per week (with my supervision)—it’s a treat for her, and offers some balance. I do see a few exceptions (as I’ve mentioned) to the ‘rule’ that children’s books must be read in print, where the Kindle edition has merit.
Another point to consider is Kindle MatchBook. In some cases, the MatchBook price is free, and it allows the parent to buy the print edition from Amazon and also own the same book on Kindle (handy when going on vacation, but not having room to pack all the bedtime stories, for example).
I understand the cost-effectiveness and convenience of Kindles for adults. Especially when traveling or commuting. But I’ll never understand the need to keep introducing kids to technology at younger and younger ages. I had a friend who suggested everyone bring their favorite kids book to her baby shower, which I thought was brilliant. He had fully-stocked shelves before he was even born.
Maybe it’s more of a compromise. Many parents (myself included) feel that it’s nearly impossible to keep their kids away from electronics.
Kids want to watch t.v., play video games, get online, listen to radio, watch videos, etc.
We try to severely limit their time on electronics, but I can’t make myself make my daughter avoid them completely. (Then she gets exposure to it at school. She actually has regular first-grade homework that requires her to do work online.)
I’d rather have my daughter read an e-book on Kindle than watch t.v. or play video games. Sure, I’d rather have her read print books than do those things, but arranging a compromise of sorts has its benefits (especially, with my daughter, who is like a little attorney looking for every loophole).
I hear from other parents who are struggling to motivate their children to read. Their kids want to use electronics. Their parents want them to read. Kindle children’s books offer an enticing compromise.
Parents have to set the example. I babysat a 1 and a half year old who was introduced to reading because her mom read to her before bedtime. When they start reading at an early age it becomes a part of their lives. That’s what my parents did with me and it worked.
Same with me when I was a kid, and no doubt that’s why my daughter loves to read. 🙂
Hi Chris. Excellent post, as usual. I’ve been playing with this new tool. For example, I uploaded my book A Planet for Tristan Wolf. I uploaded the pdf for the print version and selected single page view. It still read the two pages (spread) and the text is difficult to read, too small. I did not add pop up text. I’m going to have to make the book from scratch, it looks like. On the other hand, I also uploaded a book called The Wanting Monster and I created all the pages on photoshop. I added pop up text. It looks terrific but I’m afraid the file is too large. It’s on KDP select and available on unlimited. I hope this experience helps. Thanks!
Thank you for sharing your experience. In general, I think it’s better to make the illustrations one page per screen. There are a few books where much is lost by separating the pages from two-page spreads, which is evidently why that feature is there, but that sure would be hard to make out on a small screen.
My experience trying this out is that the book must have pop-up text (unless the text already appears very large).
Note that you can add pop-ups to images that already have text. In this case, you’re not adding new text, you’re just telling the program what text to display in the pop-up (adding the text this way, as opposed to the other way, doesn’t show the text until the pop-up is enabled via double-tapping).
Having tried it both ways, I prefer to add text-less images and add textboxes to them with the tool. However, there are books where the text is already embedded in the images, and since it may not be practical for everyone to remove that text, the option to add pop-up text will surely be convenient for many authors.
Good luck with your books.
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1) I can’t get more than six pages to load before Kindle for Kids crashes.
2) I’m forced to begin again, as the application requires an empty folder.
3) The artwork and text are built together as artwork. I don’t want or need pop-up text. Is that a problem and do I need to do my artwork without text?
I haven’t had any trouble with the KKBC crashing anytime I’ve used it, even with large complex files. I can save my file in stages; I needn’t start over next time; I can open my previous work.
You don’t need to add pop-up text; you can leave your images as they are, with embedded text.