Amazon upgrades Kindle ebook image quality but watch out for effect on delivery charges

Amazon has upgraded its conversion process for images in Kindle ebooks so there is no longer any downscaling of images, which means you can use pictures in your ebook at the best quality.

Previously, some images with big file sizes were downscaled during the ebook conversion process, but the new move comes at a cost as bigger file sizes will mean higher ‘delivery’ costs if your ebook is in the 70% royalty category.

The changes do not affect cover images or cover image size.

Amazon is making a point of telling authors who have published their ebooks using Microsoft Word to republish their files with their best-quality images to take advantage of this change.

Word can reduce the quality of images and in ‘Tips for submitting high-resolution images’ Amazon advises authors to submit images separately from the Word manuscript in a ZIP folder.

Amazon recommends that all  images should be submitted at 300 pixels per inch at the size they will appear in your ebook. The Kindle ebook format supports JPEG and GIF files for interior images.

The results of higher-resolution images can be significant in terms of file size. For example, Adobe says a 2 ins x 2 ins (5cm x 5 cm) image at 200ppi could have a file size of around 468Mb while the same image at 300ppi would be just over 1Mb — an increase of 113%.

Amazon charges per-megabyte delivery costs on Kindle ebooks that are in the 70% royalty category, although ebooks under the 35% royalty are not charged.

The delivery charges are:

  • US $0.15/Mb 
  • CAD $0.15/Mb
  • UK £0.10/Mb 
  • European Union stores: €0,12/Mb 
  • AUD $0.15/Mb

If, for example, you had seven interior images in an ebook previously at 200ppi with a file size of 468Mb each (using the example shown above) then you would have had a total of 3.276Mb, which means you could be paying about $0.49 in delivery charges for those images, depending on compression used in conversion.

Using those same pictures at 300ppi would give a total file size of 7Mb which would bring a delivery charge of $1.05, again dependent on any compression. That’s a sizeable chunk to take out of a royalty and, of course, there’s the book cover to add into the equation.

I can see the point of Amazon levying delivery costs but charging all books on 70% royalties seems to be unfair if, as they say, they want to ‘ensure that readers get the best reading experience possible.  Perhaps they should look at making delivery free for all ebooks up to a certain size, such as 5Mb, where delivery charges would start. That would make it fairer for authors and readers.

You can find out more about image quality for Kindle ebooks at Amazon.

KDP introduces $8 fee for authors to get paid by check

Kindle Direct Publishing is also warning authors who get paid by check that it is bringing in an $8/£8/€8 handling fee per check payment to authors who reside in the US, UK, or EU countries where it offers direct deposit.

The fee comes in from August 15. KDP points out that electing direct deposit, also known as electronic funds transfer (EFT), as a payment method allows you to receive your earned royalties:

•    Without a minimum threshold before the funds are released to you
•    In a more secure way than paper checks
•    In your local currency

To avoid the handling fee, sign up for direct deposit through your KDP account and use the ‘Getting Paid’ option on the left menu to add your banking details. The change will take effect immediately.