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MOBIs, Mo’ Problems: Illustrated and Fixed Layout Book Formatting

Distributing illustrated books can be tricky. Actually, distributing any fixed layout book can be tricky, especially on Kindles and in the Kindle app.

PDFs: The Perfect Format for Illustrated Books

Your illustrated (or fixed layout) book is guaranteed to look its Sunday-best to readers if you distribute it in PDF. PDFs are designed for fixed layouts, so the format is perfect for illustrated books.

If you want to also distribute an EPUB and MOBI file alongside your PDF, there are a few things you need to know so that your readers never download a broken book.

Illustrated EPUBs

Fixed layout EPUB files aren’t usually a problem for readers. Most EPUB devices and reading apps will display your book’s formatting correctly.

Always upload a MOBI and EPUB file. Don’t upload one format and then wait for our automatic compiler to create the other file for you. Our compiler can’t convert a fixed layout file.

If you can’t upload both a MOBI and EPUB, it is better to upload only a PDF. Readers will always see your beautiful book as you designed it when you distribute a PDF.

Illustrated MOBI Files

Reading your fixed-layout Kindle file will be difficult for most readers (more below) because the Kindle app does not open sideloaded books the same way as books purchased from the Kindle store. A “sideloaded” book is any Kindle book that was not purchased from the Kindle store.

Sideloaded fixed-layout books will be broken or blank on many Kindle apps, even though the same book looks perfect when purchased from the Kindle store.

For this reason, we recommend that you only upload a PDF when you want to send your illustrated book to readers.

PDFs are designed for fixed layouts and your book will always look fantastic.

If you need to deliver your illustrated book in MOBI format:

  1. Upload your own MOBI and EPUB file. Our auto-compiler can’t generate a fixed layout EPUB or MOBI.
  2. Tick the KF8 box! When adding your book to BookFunnel, always tick the KF8 box so that your MOBI’s enhanced formatted is shipped to readers.
  3. Upload the PDF. Without it, you reader might not be able to view your book.

Broken Formatting in Illustrated Books

The Kindle For iOS app doesn’t support enhanced formatting unless the book was bought in the Kindle store. This means that your illustrated book will be broken or blank if you send it to iOS Kindle readers directly (using BookFunnel or any other distribution means).

This is a limitation in the Kindle for iOS app and there isn’t a fix. The Kindle for iOS app only supports illustrated books when the book was purchased from the Kindle store.

A very large percentage of your readers have iOS devices and will want to read your book in their Kindle app. This is why we strongly recommend distributing your book in PDF, as the iOS Kindle app will open a PDF perfectly.

How to Add a PDF

To upload a PDF to a book that you have created on BookFunnel:

  1. Click Books on your BookFunnel dashboard.
  2. Click the book title.
  3. Click the Upload Book Files button to manually locate the PDF on your computer, or simply drag-and-drop your PDF.

How to Include KF8

Tick the KF8 box when distributing a new illustrated EPUB and MOBI book through BookFunnel.

  1. Click Books on your BookFunnel dashboard.
  2. Click the Action button next to the book title.
  3. Select Edit Book Details.
  4. Tick the box to “Include the KF8 MOBI format (this will double your file size)”.
  5. Click Save And Close.

What to do if Your Illustrated Book is Busted

If you check your MOBI in the Kindle For iOS app and it is busted, don’t panic. 🙂

  1. Upload a PDF.
  2. Include the KF8 when you save your book to BookFunnel. Learn how here.
  3. Upload your own EPUB and MOBI. Some readers will download the MOBI and think the book is broken, but we will tell them in support to delete that copy and download the PDF. If you don’t want your readers to ever think your book is broken…
  4. Upload a PDF and consider deleting your EPUB and MOBI. Distributing a PDF is the best way your readers can open your book and see it exactly as you designed it.

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