Children’s Book Authors: Have You Tried Amazon’s New Tool?

Children’s Book Authors: Have You Tried Amazon’s New Tool?

Publishing children’s books on Kindle just became a little easier.        

While authors have long been able to post illustrated books through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, the books were simply text and images. However, you can now add a little interactivity to your book in the form of pop-up text, thanks to the Kindle Kids’ Book Creator (KKBC), the newest addition to Amazon’s arsenal of publishing tools.

While you can publish an illustrated book on Kindle without using KKBC*, the new program offers two cool opportunities to make your book more fun and accessible for young readers.

Here’s a quick illustrated guide to the new features.

Getting started with KKBC

Once you download KKBC for free from Amazon, your first task is to set up the book. Enter the title, author, destination folder on your computer (which must be empty), page orientation and other details.

Kindle Kid’s Book Creator

Next, import your book cover as a PDF, JPG, TIF or PNG, followed by your page images. This can be done en masse using a multiple-page PDF — which I recommend, as it’s easier — or as individual images.

If you opt to upload individual images, the files must be at least 400 by 400 pixels. To keep them in the correct order, make sure you’ve numbered your image file names, because KKBC adds them alphabetically. In the example below, I have added a single interior page image using the Add Page button.

Kindle Kid’s Book Creator

Using pop-up text to improve legibility

Suppose I feel that the ornate font at the top of this image might be illegible for young readers. I click on the Add Pop-Up button, and a rectangular text box appears on the image. I can type in whatever text I choose, then resize and reposition the box and control its font, size and color.

Kindle Kid’s Book Creator

Add your story’s text

The Add Text feature will, not surprisingly, insert text anywhere you’d like on the page. This might be where you add the text of your story to the correct area of each page.

When a reader double-taps this text on his Kindle, he’ll trigger a pop-up, which is useful — while older readers might be able to decipher text within an illustration, younger ones might need larger text or a white background. Note that any “tappable” zones you create cannot overlap.

Kindle Kid’s Book Creator

Use pop-up text in creative ways

You can use the Add Pop-Up feature anywhere on the page, not just on text. Perhaps you want to make regions of the image clickable to teach vocabulary to young readers, or to hide plot clues. The sky’s the limit!

For example, I can highlight the staff in this image so that when a reader double-taps it, they see a pop-up with the words “This is my staff.”

Kindle Kid’s Book Creator

Test your pop-ups in the Kindle Previewer

When you’re done adding pop-ups, save the file. Click on View Preview to launch the separate Kindle Previewer application, which emulates how your book will appear on different Kindle devices.

Here’s how my book would look on a Kindle Fire HD. Note the “Hi. I’m Nimpentoad” text we added with the Add Text button.

Kindle Kid’s Book Creator

Double-tapping on the ornate text at the top triggers a more legible pop-up.

Kindle Kid’s Book Creator

Double-tapping on the “Hi. I’m Nimpentoad” text triggers a pop-up that’s easier to read. Note the wrapping text, which highlights the importance of testing your book on all devices in the Previewer to ensure it displays properly. In this case, I’d have to go back in and edit the font size for a better fit.

Kindle Kid’s Book Creator

Finally, if the reader double-taps the staff, they would trigger the associated pop-up.

Kindle Kid’s Book Creator

Adding pop-up text helps you improve your reader’s experience of your book, and adds some interesting interactivity. Enjoy playing with Kindle Kids’ Book Creator!

*Want to publish illustrated books on Kindle without using this program? Simply save your Microsoft Word document as HTML, then run it through the free KindleGen application to create a .mobi format file. Don’t want to deal with conversion? Simply upload your Word or HTML files to Kindle and the platform will take care of the rest — though you’ll want to check the formatting.

Have you used Kindle Kids’ Book Creator yet? What do you think of the idea?

Looking for a quick introduction to publishing picture books on Kindle? Check out this free mini e-course from Children’s Book Insider.

Kindle Kids Mastery on Amazon

Featured resource

Kindle Kids Mastery

This course guides children’s authors step by step through publishing illustrated ebooks using Amazon’s Kindle Kids’ Book Creator tool.

26 comments

  • Elke Feuer says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Henry! I don’t write children’s books myself, however many authors in my writing group do. Telling them about this right now. 🙂

  • Henry, this was a fantastic tutorial for using this new kindle option. I downloaded it a while ago but never got around to using it. I know what I’m working on tomorrow. Thank you.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the tutorial, Richard — let us know what you think of the new tool!

      Heather
      TWL Assistant Editor

    • Sue says:

      Wow I am in the same boat you are, downloaded the item and have not had the time to view or play with it. But I really do need to do this and this post really help me see just what I am missing and what I can use.My internet at home is being rewired so after all that mess is done I hope to dive right in. Thanks so much for sharing this information. Smile

  • Max Candee says:

    Thanks for the tutorial — and the great example of the pop up use! Beautifully done.

    The biggest problem I see with this tool is the resulting file size. For a book I tested, the original EPUB created with Scrivener was 2.3 MB; re-flowable MOBI for Kindle created with Scrivener was 5 MB, and the EPUB created with this tool was…. 25 MB. Same amount of images and text of course, even lower quality of images.

    Such a huge file will simply eat up all my profits, not to mention the long download times for the customers. I believe I’ll skip it for now.

  • Joe Tracy says:

    My cat used Kindle Kids Book Creator to create a book to help pay for his medical bills after unexpected heart failure at four years old.

    We have three versions of the “Yes We Kahn” book. Print, Kindle, and Tablet (made with Kindle Kids Book Creator). We used it a bit differently (if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can see for free). What we did is made the images clickable, which would then display the text. I’m surprised Amazon hasn’t promoted this as a way of using Kindle Kids Book Creator.

    A big concern we had was File size. So I took all images into Photoshop and resized them to 1024×600 at 72dpi. This is for Landscape mode (1 page at a time). I then ran the images through an optimizer that striped all the meta data in order to bring the size down even more. That helped a lot with the whole download size.

    The book is at:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NECHZZY/tag=amazonproductid-20

    It’s great to see that you did a tutorial on this as the user guide isn’t as helpful/useful as it can be.

    Cheers,

    Joe (on behalf of Kahn the Cat)

  • Thanks for the tutorial about KBC pop-ups. Could you please tell me how a reader would know where to double-tap to see the text? For example, how would a reader know to double-tap the staff on the picture of the example? Similarly, how would a reader know where to double-tap the words with pop-ups?

    Thank you.

    Debu Majumdar

    • Henry Herz says:

      Hi Debu. You have two options. You can tell the reader in the manuscript to try clicking on different image elements, making this a puzzle-like feature. Or you can use a text label “Click here”, which I don’t care for aesthetically. I suppose a third option would entail putting a border around the image element via PhotoShop as a way of bringing attention to the element and implying a click is suggested.

      • I used a different option for telling the reader where to double-tap. I colored the word in red! I mentioned this at the top of my TOC telling the reader about it. I would appreciate if you could take a look at my children’s book, Viku and the Elephant, on Kindle (done recently in Jan). And tell us what you think of the idea.

        Debu

  • Sally says:

    Thanks for this great tutorial on Kindle for Kids. I really like how you’re using the kindle creator to make the book more interactive. I’m about to assemble my first children’s book for kindle (yay) and the images are my nature photos. I’m wondering about what Joe said, up above, about file sizes for images. What is the best file size to choose so (1) the images are of good quality, (2) the images are uniform from page to page, and (3) the size of the book is optimal and quick to download? I edit all my photos in Photoshop so I have a lot of flexibility, just lacking in experience when it comes to making the Kindle product.
    Thanks for helping a newbie get a leg up,
    Sally

    • Henry Herz says:

      Hi Sally
      Frankly, if this is your first book, I’d encourage you to skip the interactivity, as there’s plenty for you to learn without it. However, if you really feel it will add to your book, I think Joe is on the right track, although I’d go even further and resize the images to 800 x 600 pixels. If your book contains a large number of images, there’s no way around the math – it’s going to have a big file size. If it’s a picture book with 28 pages of content, you probably don’t have to worry too much about file sizes. Although note that Kindle charges authors a “delivery fee” based on file size each time someone buys a copy.

      • Sally says:

        Hi Henry,
        Thanks for your suggestion on image size. Does 800 x 600 pixels apply to both landscape and portrait styles? I’m working in landscape orientation.
        The interactivity seems really simple and fun, not difficult at all, even for a kindle beginner. What seems more challenging is checking the output on various devices when all I own are iPads and a Mac laptop. I can see I’ll be doing some borrowing. On that note, I asked my former college students, who are all teaching now and/or raising kids what devices they use. The majority said “IPad.” So that’s another question: which devices do most people read a children’s book on?
        Sally

  • Amy A says:

    I’m thrilled to find your post! I have a short illustrated children’s book that I’ve been laboring over and I think this tool will help me. Your step by step instructions make it seem so much easier than I imagined. Thanks again!

    -A

  • Cactuspatchgal says:

    Can anyone tell me if there is a way to include a clickable TOC? This software would work very well for the type of books I’m publishing but it’s important to have the TOC.

    • Hmm, I’m not sure, and I don’t see anything on Amazon’s KKBC page. Perhaps someone here can comment on that feature? Another option is to try asking in Amazon’s KDP forum. Best of luck!

      Heather
      TWL Assistant Editor

  • Thank you for such a clear tutorial!

  • Rashi Garg says:

    Hello. I am Rashi Garg. I have prepared the book on Mathematics and Logical Reasoning for Class 2. The book is complete and I had loaded the book also. But in the preview the setting is not correct and there is space between the questions, in all the kindle devices. The book has lots of colored images along with the text and it is in simple word format, html form, compressed zip form and pdf form.I have tried all these forms. Should I download the kindle kids book creator and then import as pdf. For images it should be in png form or any other form. Please guide me what I have to do for the correct formatting of the book

  • Glenda says:

    I found the tutorial very enlightening as well as the helpful comments and responses. This concept of pop-up text is giving me ideas for other non-children’s book projects I am working on. Thanks so much!

Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *