adding images into book formatting

Quick post to answer a question I’ve been getting a lot recently: many people want to add images into their ebook. IF you want to do this, you need to make them at least 1200px wide – because they need to stretch full-width, and some devices like the Kindle HD Fires are 600DPI.

So if you put a smaller image in, it will look tiny.

HOWEVER – Kindle/Amazon charges a delivery fee for delivering your ebook, and if you have a lot of images, your file size will go up, and they’ll charge you for it. If you have a lot of images, you may not be able to price at 99cents – because it won’t be enough to cover the minimum deduction they want to take from you. Worth knowing.

For print books, it’s fine to add images, and generally, if it looks good to you when previewing the PDF on your computer, it’s going to look fine in print. You’ll probably get a warning that some images aren’t 300DPI, which happens depending how you saved to PDF (you can check your settings for that), but even if they aren’t 300DPI they will probably print fine – unless they do look unfocused or blurry when previewing. Then you need better images.

Also, if you want your images to be full bleed and extend to the margins of your book, you need to check that option in Createspace. You probably don’t want to do that, but it can be fun sometimes, for example to have full page images as chapter or section breaks.

Adding images into your book formatting

If you have a historical memoir or something, maybe you’ll have a “spread” of images on a few pages in the center. If you try to add images throughout your whole book, they’ll almost always be distracting from the story and interrupt the experience. However – I’m not talking about a full page image spread behind the chapter titles, or little chapter heading graphics. Generally, those elements are repeated (same file used over and over) so they don’t make the file size huge.

Also keep in mind, printing color images print on demand (POD) will be crazy expensive and isn’t really feasible, so you’ll probably need to consider grayscale/black and white images for the interior (if you have to, you can toss a few color images on the back cover instead). Also, it’s really tricky to add images into Microsoft Word; seriously there are memes about it.

word formatting images

But there are some formatting tools that make it a lot easier; unless you want to hire someone to do the typesetting in Indesign, I recommend these:



Derek Murphy
Derek Murphy

I'm a location independent book designer (and book marketing genius) working on my PhD in Literature and shopping for a castle to use as a writer's paradise. I write non-fiction and YA.

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