In an effort to ensure better quality eBooks for their customers, Amazon will be alerting authors by email to errors in their ebooks and in some cases placing error messages on content with reported issues. These error messages will remain until a new version of the eBook is updated with all mistakes corrected. That isn’t to say you won’t be informed and given time to make adjustments, but these messages are the first penalty in Amazon’s quality control efforts if you do not make corrections to your manuscript after you have been notified by Amazon. If you do not react to their messages they may also chose to remove a book entirely. According to their KDP help website:
“Some errors cause a book to be incomplete or unusable. We refer to these as Critical Issues. Because Critical Issues significantly impact the reading experience, any Critical Issue will result in the book being removed from sale until the correction is made.”
Amazon makes its decisions based on reports from its customers, i.e. readers. While Amazon promises to share those reports with you as they occur, you can ensure the best reading experience by looking at these five areas of key importance when publishing/revisiting your eBook with Amazon:
Typos happen. Give yourself time to look over every page, paragraph, sentence, word, and punctuation. The most reported issues are typos, missing letters, letter and number mix ups, incorrect punctuation, and junk characters (Note: misspellings that are dialectic or integral to your story will not be considered typos). You may also run into the issue of unsupported characters, a figure or accent that the Kindle Previewer doesn’t recognize. If you don’t remove these issues your book may be flagged, or removed. To avoid this we recommend getting it in front of other eyes. You’ve read it a thousand times, so you may not catch everything. Try sharing your book with your friends and family, or, as some established authors have done, grow a list of beta readers that get the book ahead of time for free in exchange for a good proof read.
KDP accepts six document types: Word documents, HTML, TXT, MOBI, EPUB, and PDF. Each one has its own bag of issues, but sticking to the source document and staying away from extraneous add ins (tables, frames, Track Changes, etc) is a good way to avoid mistakes in the final product. To avoid formatting issues after upload, we recommend uploading your document as HTML, EPUB, or MOBI as these file types convert into eBook format with the fewest errors. It never hurts to flip through your book again once it’s available on an eReader, so you can experience the book as a reader and catch any egregious errors.
It is always worth having a professional looking cover because it will the the first impression that your book makes on a reader. If your cover has strange formatting, is pixelated or blurry, is uploaded in the manuscript, or just isn’t there, readers will be sure to flag your book. Don’t know where to start on designing a cover? We can help you get started.
Because Kindle books are read on devices that have an array of dimensions (tablets, eReaders, phones, desktops, etc.) they require scalable content that can function in its perimeters. If your text consists of scanned pages, isn’t in a re-flowable format, is missing content, is the wrong content, has duplicated text, and/or has colored text that may not show up on a black and white Kindle, you should update your eBook. Don’t know which formats are re-flowable? Similar to our formatting post above, we recommend using .doc .docx, .epub, .mobi or .html for best results.
There are a few eBooks that will be taken down because they are not compatible with Kindle. These include puzzle books, blank journals, pattern books, coloring books, and books of foreign text with translations on the opposite page. Before publishing a book for Kindle, know the limitations of the eBook format. If your book concept includes any of the above features, it may not be the best medium for you. Good news, all types of fiction work great!