Sunday, April 3, 2011

Graphics on the Kindle by Manuel Burgos - A Review

Like many self-publishing authors, I entered the industry when print-on-demand made it possible for us to make decent money by self-publishing. Amazon gave us accesss to readers and the ability to market and promote our books. The Amazon Kindle has given us another profitable means to access readers and sell our work. 

In the seemingly endless learning curve self-publishers face, I have been spending time learning as much as I can about the new technology of the Amazon Kindle, how to create books for Kindle, pricing and marketing strategies. 

My three books now available as Kindle books had very little in the way of graphics. The fourth book in my list of books I plan to convert has nearly 80 diagrams. In order for readers to readily understand the content, the diagrams need to be clear and easy to understand. I plan to pay to have this book converted to a Kindle ready file.

With an eye towards understanding how to better prepare graphics for future books, both Kindle and print-on-demand versions, I obtained a copy of Manuel Burgos Kindle book, Graphics on the Kindle, now in its 2nd edition. Like most short Kindle books, the price is low, a reasonable $3.99.

The book contains and introduction and four chapters. These segments include a basic overview of how e-ink in the Kindle works, the shades that can be reproduced and the needed technology. Also covered how to prepare images, using clip-art, special effects and file preparation.  Burgos provides a section that includes sample images and the book itself has graphics interspersed throughout.

What the book does not provide is ideas about the creative use of the technology to produce the best possible graphics. How does an author determine the best way to present the graphic? I realize this is the artistic part of graphic design, but it is certainly the area I struggle with the most.

Did I get my money's worth? I feel like I did. Is this book the final answer to everything you will need to know about creating and using graphics for your Kindle book file. I don't think so.

If I decide to tackle creating my own files for Kindle, I feel like this short book is a good start to learn how to produce the diagrams my books require. For anything beyond placing the graphics in the file, I will probably have to resort to a source of information dealing with the creative use of graphics to obtain the best possible means to convey information.