Saturday, January 5, 2013

Kindle Fixed Layout Tutorial - Part 2


There are two fundamental types of fixed layout ebooks that can be made in Kindle Format 8. Amazon divides these into "Children's" and "Comics" categories, even though this is a rather broad, and often inaccurate, labeling scheme, since any genre, age level, or subject category can be produced in either format. Yet there are significant differences between the two.

The primary difference is that "comics" consists entirely of full-page images, while "children's" ebooks include text laid over the top of background images. Both can include interactive Region Magnification features which, in the case of comics' "Panel View" function enlarges a pre-defined area of the full-page image when tapped, while the children's format includes the ability to magnify text boxes. But, of course, this isn't entirely accurate either, since comics can include text overlays and children's books might include only images.

Still, each has these inherent features for a reason, and each will be discussed and analyzed at the appropriate time. For practical purposes the division suits us here, since there are presumably two essential groups of people reading this tutorial:
  1. Those who want to make simple, image-only ebooks (i.e. comics)
  2. Those who want to create complex layouts reflowable format does not allow (i.e. children's books and other illustrated content)
With this in mind, we will begin by covering all the necessary steps in producing image-based ebooks in Kindle fixed layout format, from start to finish, and then progress to add in layers and region zoom features. In that way everyone can start at the beginning and jump ship when they're project is complete.

As for our plan of attack, a glance at the table of contents will provide a quick outline, but here are the essential steps:
  • A look at the necessary Tools, including the Basic Template, which will be our project guide throughout the tutorial
  • An overview of the File Structure of a Kindle fixed layout ebook, followed by a look at each of its component parts
  • The OPF file, including Metadata, Manifest, Spine, and Guide items
  • The NCX file, including Metadata, NavMap, and PageID features
  • Creating Images for Kindle fixed layouts, including the Cover
  • HTML page layout, including CSS styling for image-only ebooks
  • Converting and testing your file using Kindlegen and Previewer
The remaining portions covering the Advanced Template, including text and image layers and Region Magnification features, are available only in the complete ebook tutorial.

Each of these sections are subdivided into smaller parts, detailing what each one does and what your options are. Some are short and simple, others somewhat long and complex, but all as thorough as they need to be. So with that, let's get started!

NOTE: Only the introductory portion of this tutorial in posted here. The full 286 page guidebook is now available from the link below:


The definitive guide to the Kindle fixed layout format, this fully revised and expanded tutorial will take you line-by-line through two working templates, including both the content and support files, as well as all layout and functionality features, explaining in painstaking detail what each element is for, and what your options are in every instance. Also included in the ebook is a code to download both templates for free!
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