Kindle Create: A New Ebook Conversion Tool

  • Sumo

Via an innocuous tweet yesterday, #eprdctn was introduced to a new MOBI/KF8 creation tool called Kindle Create. It is one of a suite of Amazon’s ebook creation tools (Kindle Kids’ Book Creator, Kindle Textbook Creator, and Kindle Comic Creator). This one seems to be aimed at the indie author audience and will likely serve that audience well.

Kindle Create automates the ebook process by importing a Word file, auto-detecting the structure of the book, and pouring into one of two formatting templates – modern and classic. There are some formatting menus that try to predict some basic common elements of many books.

menus

The default templates are not likely to be accused of being typographically sophisticated but they do serve a purpose. As in other Kindle ebook tools, you can customize the font but you have three choices – Bookerly, Ember, and a monospace font – and no option to import fonts.  The advanced font options are a basic dashboard of options, including allowing for some blessed drop caps.

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 12.46.34 PM

There doesn’t appear to be any way to edit the template defaults so if you, say, wanted to fiddle with the line spacing, you would have to do it to the entire document or on a paragraph or page-by-page basis.

Images, tables, lists and other complex elements should be edited and sized before import as there is no way to change them once the file is imported. Endnotes and footnotes that are hyperlinked correctly in Word will retain their functionality via Kindle Create, which is a pleasant surprise.

Unlike other Amazon ebook creation tools, the packaged source files aren’t useful. With Kindle Kids’ Book Creator, for example, you could access the HTML and the TOC to edit as required if you were comfortable doing so.

Another important note: if you’ve added alt text to images in Word, there is no evidence of it post-ingestion into Kindle Create. I tried to preview an image using voiceover on my iPhone in Kindle iOS, but the app didn’t recognize the .kpf format.

Users can opt to import a PDF at the start of the process instead of .docx or .doc files. This will render a fixed-layout ebook without live text, that won’t work on Kindle e-readers.


This isn’t really a tool designed for the seasoned ebook developer. I imagine that independent authors with uncomplicated content who were looking to get a conversion done cheaply will find this free tool will suit their needs. A major downside for indie authors, however, is that Kindle Create produces a file that will only work on Amazon devices and/or within their ecosystem. There doesn’t seem to be a way to squeeze anything resembling an EPUB out of this tool.

15 Responses to “Kindle Create: A New Ebook Conversion Tool”

  1. NS Johnson says:

    A nice idea but useless to because the product is delivered straight to Amazon without the author being able to test a MOBI files on his/her own devices. I complained to Amazon about this, but go no response.

  2. Jason C S Brown says:

    Thanks for the information. I have written a novel and would like to publish it as an e-book. I am a rookie playing my first game.

    I write on a Mac and wrote my book with OpenOffice Writer. The Kindle Create User’s Manual says to upload a Word document. So, for the sole purpose of publishing an e-book with Kindle Create, I was prepared to purchase and download MS Word 2016 for Mac. Before I did, I read several poor reviews averaging 1.7 stars out of 5.

    Must the document I upload to Kindle Create be Word, or is a .doc or .doc(x) file composed with OpenOffice Writer compatible? Thank you, in advance.

  3. Allan Samuelsen says:

    This is my third day trying to figure out what´s going wrong, but in vain. My attempt to create a kindle format to publish failed and keeps failing. The fact that kindle create centers the text gets the dialogues in the text to be messed up. Sometimes three words are spread along a whole line. Why? The fact that I am a novice would not explain the whole issue. Many other people encountered the same problem.

  4. James Brady says:

    I have been using Kindle Create for about 4 months and it is a complete disaster as an editor. The implementers of Create do not understand the difference between the text cursor and the mouse pointer which results in many unexpected actions, so of which cause changes to the document in unknown places. It takes at least five times longer to do anything because of the constrained ways you have to operate to avoid these issues. It is also missing a number of functions on the Apple version. These include ‘Replace’ and most of the shortcut keys. If you upload a clean Word document and only use Create to insert jpeg files it gives you very crisp images compared to going direct from Word. I have submitted over 50 problems on Create, gone through 5 versions and have yet to see any substantial improvement. It is 6 years old and is not a good as a text editor I wrote in two months.

    • Dave Burton says:

      James, are you using .doc format or .docx format?

      I’m just starting to try out Kindle Create (getting frustrated!), so I’m no expert. But I know that .doc format (at least when created by MS Word 2003) creates little .gif versions of all your images, and adds them to the document, and they are awful. But if you create a .docx file, it doesn’t do that. So I suspect that Kindle Create might do better with a .docx file.

      • Jim Brady says:

        Thanks for the tip. I wish I had known that and stayed with Word and Grammarily until the book was done and then use Kindle Create to publish.

  5. Isobel says:

    I uploaded my complete Word file to Kindle Create for the first time. It takes a bit of getting use to but now my Kindle Create e-book file looks perfect. Clean, readable, well spaced. I had to replace the vectors I used at the top of each chapter, but now the images are crisp. My only problem is that there is a map in my book but because KDP won’t let me download a Mobi version I cannot check if it is pixelated or not when a reader zooms in.
    I would be happy to use Kindle Create to do the last minute clean up for all of my books, but I need to be able to download a Mobi, so it’s very frustrating.

    • Dave Burton says:

      I totally agree!

      I thought Kindle Create would let me create an eBook file, which I could view on my Kindle Paperwhite. But it apparently won’t. It will only create a .kpf file, which isn’t compatible with the Kindle.

      I’m going to see if Calibre will do the needed conversion, per Rute Pereira’s suggestion (above).

  6. BillT says:

    The above post by Laura Brady is highly inaccurate and even out of date.

    The author said:
    “There doesn’t appear to be any way to edit the template defaults”

    You can easily edit the “template default” by going to Text Properties > Formatting tab and then you can change the font, font-size, color, letter spacing etc of your all your text and headings.

    KC is a really fishing-off tool that is specifically meant to help give the ebook superior interior ebook styling !! That means that, in KC, you should correct editing/layout errors, style headings, layout, set themes, dropcaps, add the NCX TOC and doc TOC etc. But most of the initial basic styling should always be done in Word.

    The author said:
    “There doesn’t seem to be a way to squeeze anything resembling an EPUB out of this tool.”

    You can certainly convert a reflowable ebook as a KPF file to Epub format fairly easily using JP Howell’s KFX Input plugin for Calibre. Just load your KPF into Calibre as normal and push the button and you will get an accurate epub that always passes Epubcheck first time.

    Honestly, you really can’t learn all the ins and outs of Kindle Create(KC) by just playing with KC for a couple of days. I’ve been using KC — almost on a daily basis — since early 2017 when it first appeared and as for as I’m concerned it’s an app that is now highly suitable for indie authors that don’t want to go the laborious epub/html route — with such a long learning curve and all the rest.

    And KC will now also create comic books and paperback books. As a KC-derived reflowable ebook, you will get an ebook that, in terms of interior styling, is streets ahead of directly uploading a Word doc and your KPF upload will nearly be as good as its epub equivalent. I’ve even written a free how-to ebook guide on Kindle Create. And by the way, I was also a dedicated epubber for many years with considerable epub experience.