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Preparing Images for Ebooks Project (PIFEP)

Walt Whitman with Monkey Wrench (c) by Michael Pastore.

Walt Whitman with Monkey Wrench (c) by Michael Pastore.

This web page contains information that I am collecting about how to prepare images for ebooks in essential formats, for various reading systems and devices.

Important note: I am doing my best for accuracy, but I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information, due to the various file formats, devices, software updates, and so on. It is always essential to test your ebooks — on various devices and reading systems — before offering your ebooks for sale.

For more information, please consult these sites, forums, and blogs:

Ebook image experts, and ebook device makers, are welcome to contact me to help to fill in the gaps in these charts.

— Michael Pastore, Editorial Director, Zorba Press
Please email me using our Contact Form

Tables of Ebook Image Information

There is, or will be, information for each of the ebook formats listed below.

Scroll down on this page to see the tables of information.

  • Kindle AZW format
  • EPUB, no DRM
  • PDF, no DRM
  • EPUB with Adobe DRM (for Adobe Digital Editions)
  • PDF with Adobe DRM (for Adobe Digital Editions)

General Advice and Guidelines

Aspect Ratio 11:9

Aspect Ratio 11:9

If you have provided some of these tidbits of advice I will be happy to credit you here: just contact me.

  1. If the aspect ratio of your interior images is 11 to 9 (11 is the height, 9 is the width), then your images will view nicely in the Kindle, and also in EPUB reading systems. [MP]
  2. Do not make the images any larger than 600 pixels (width) x 800 (height) [JSW]
  3. Interior images for EPUB ebooks can be hi-resolution, such as 600 dpi. Formatting ebooks for Kindle ebooks, be careful that this high resolution does not cause the image to exceed the size limit of 63 KB per image. [MP]
  4. Make sure that the images scale properly to fit the page. [JSW]
  5. If your image does not show up at all, try adjusting the aspect ratio: reduce the width. [MP]
  6. Always save the original formats (for example, TIFF files and Photoshop files) and the largest sizes of the image. [MP]
  7. For your ebook images and cover, use the most commonly accepted file formats: JPG or PNG. [MP]
  8. Learn the basics about how to scale an image: an introductory article is here. [MP]
  9. A test is always needed to see if the image shows up, if the image is still sharp, if it’s in the right location, and so on. [MP]
  10. In EPUB you can embed any image in an SVG wrapper, which can make it scale to fit the available space. [PD]
  11. Scanning Ratios: It is best to scan the image at the percentage it will be used in the document. [TS]
  12. Scanning Resolution for Paper Books. If you will be publishing an edition in paper as well as ebook, then your paper edition may need images with a higher resolution, For black and white line art in paper books, check with your printing company for their guidelines. As a general rule, scan line art images [TS]:
    • 1200 ppi is the suggested scan resolution.
    • At 600 ppi, these images may be somewhat “jaggy”.
    • Some B&W line art images with fine detail may require scanning at 2400 ppi.
  13. To make a cover image for EPUB ebooks: Read this excellent article by Keith Fahlgren: Best Practices in EPUB Cover Images
  14. Jon Noring’s exemplary EPUB ebook edition of My Antonia uses the JPG format for the colorful book cover image; and uses the PNG format for the interior images, all line drawings.
  15. MobileRead Wiki’s page about PDF.
  16. Advice about Making Ebooks in the Format PDF:
    • Tag your PDF files, for optimum reading. Although ADE (Adobe Digital Editions) can read untagged PDF files, full reflow on ADE is supported only when the PDF file is tagged.
    • If you are designing PDF files for 6″ ebook reading devices (800×600 pixel), make your page size 5.24″ (width) x 6.63″ (height).
    • In addition to the PDF format, offer your ebooks in the EPUB format.
    • Use the Custom PDF settings from FeedBooks or to create PDFs for the SONY Readers, which also fit the Amazon Kindle. (Thanks to David Rothman for this shrewd tip.)
  17. Advice about Making Ebooks in the Format EPUB:


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PDF with DRM

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Preparing Images For Ebooks Project (PIFEP) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.