Space Babe 113 e-comics are available from Amazon for the Kindle, iPhone, iPad, Android and PC.
Publishing an e-comic and making it available on Amazon is simple. All you need to do is sign up as a
self-publisher (details here
). Upload your comic, set the prices
and after a short while (about 24 hours for the Space Babe 113 comic), it will be up on Amazon ready for
people to buy.
This is pretty straight-forward and covered on the Amazon site and other places.
A number of formats are supported for the e-comic document, HTML being the one I was most familiar with.
Only a very basic knowledge of HTML is required - for a comic, the document is little more than a sequence of
<img> tags (one for each page) with the <html> and <body> tags around it. A few <a>
tags to specify which is the cover image and where the comic starts are also needed. This is covered
in Amazon documents and also the
Robot Comics tutorials
(NB the syntax for the table of contents <div> is <div id
There are two things that need a bit of effort:
The hardest bit is going to be marketing your product. You'll need to inform your target audience that the
comic is there and persuade them that they want it...
The other aspect you'll need to consider is the page format.
The Kindle is larger than an iPhone and smaller than an iPad. The screen is smaller than a paperback book
and so very probably smaller than your comic. Just taking a page of say US comic sized artwork and
expecting people to enjoy reading it shrunk down to Kindle page size isn't going to work, if you ask me.
The Kindle allows the user to choose from a range of font sizes but it's image zooming is rather limited
- if the image isn't already the full-screen size, the user can resize it to full-screen by clicking it.
Luckily, the format of Space Babe 113 comic pages (each page has 12 equal-sized square panels arranged in
a 4 tiers of 3 panels) made it simple to split the print-pages into 2 Kindle-pages. More adventurous
page layouts will need some consideration.
If you have a Kindle (or a friend with one), you can copy PDFs from your PC to the Kindle and see
roughly what the result would look like (I say roughly as the Amazon e-book format isn't PDF and so
your e-comic won't look exactly like your PDF).
The lettering in Space Babe 113 is fairly large and it could have been readable reduced to Kindle
size, however I wanted Space Babe to be easy to view and so decided to go for a landscape page with
2 tiers of 3 panels each - i.e. half a printed Space Babe page.
As the Kindle defaults to portrait, I included in the comic a page with brief instructions on how
to switch the Kindle to landscape and back to portrait.
I was subsequently informed by an unhappy reviewer that this didn't work on his Kindle 2 (appparently
the images didn't resize in landscape mode) - so perhaps this page wasn't a good idea... :(
There is now a new edition of the e-comic where the page now recomends landscape for Kindle 3 users.
When constructing the bitmap page images (the Kindle doesn't do vector graphics) you need to consider
the size of the image. One image is generallly one Kindle page.
If your image is too large or too small, the Kindle will resize it to fit its screen.
Searching on the net for details suggests that the aspect
ratio of the Kindle page is 11x9 (it is 11 units high and 9 units wide) with the screen being 640 pixels
high. This makes 640x520 the approximate size for a page bitmap. That might seem a huge restriction,
however my Space Babe 113 pages look nice at this size (IMHO of course).
Colour (or lack of): the current Kindle apparently has 16 levels of grey (the early ones had 4). You
can use colour images and iPad, iPhone etc. users will be able to see your comic in colour it seems,
but the Kindle shows greyscale only.
When formating the Space Babe 113 pages, I reduced the images to 16 levels of grey first (using the
posterise tool of my graphics software). This also helps reduce the image file size as there is
another restriction here...
Each image can be at most 127K in size. The Kindle supports JPEG and GIF formats. I assumed that JPEG
would give the best compression, however JPEG is famous for not exactly reproducing the original image
and I wasn't particularly pleased with my experimental results.
Browsing the Amazon forums, I noticed a post suggesting usage of the GIF format so I tried it out.
The results were amazing - the 16 levels of grey images compressed down to surprisingly small GIF files
(none of the Space babe 113 e-comic images was even 50K!). The GIF format also exactly reproduces the
Impressed with this I contemplated including a few colour pages for the benefit of iPad users, but
the GIF format didn't do so well at colour
(possibly because the pallete is limited to 256 colours) and my Space babe 113 experiments didn't
look so nice - don't let this stop you trying it though!.
So here's what "worked" for me: each kindle page is a 640x520 pixel 16-levels of grey GIF image.
Carefully consider your page layout - if you have fairly "traditional" layouts it will be easier to
convert your print comic to an e-comic. More exotic layouts will need some thought. Having access to a
Kindle to try things out helps.
This is all IMHO, of course.
All images copyright (c) 2010, 2011, 2012, John Maybury. All rights reserved.