Kindle Create: A New Ebook Conversion Tool
— Palanidaran C (@palanidaran) April 5, 2017
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.
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.
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.