Monday, July 20, 2015

Zbooks Tutorial - Bullet Points and Footnotes, The Best Way + FREE Ebook download

By Eric Z get more from him here SUBSCRIBE
This is a two part tutorial to demonstrate the differences in devices and how they render bullet points and footnotes.  The main problem is that UTF-8 characters are not recognized by all devices. In the Kindle publishing guide it is specifically called out: “Avoid bullet points”.
However, when we make an Ebook in Calibre: it automatically encodes everything as UTF-8! Indeed the internet is predominantly UTF-8 nowadays.
The problem is the ASCII versus the UTF-8 character set. In 2007 the internet ‘powers’ decided to use UTF-8, and not all device manufacturers have followed by including this functionality.

When it comes to footnotes, you can use the kindle notes tool, but then you are dealing with .html. I will show you a way to “hack” the footnotes and get good results without learning .html and coding.


Properly rendered  ordered list:

Improperly rendered ordered list:

Here is an ordered list, added the normal way, with the list function in the toolbar:
  1. This is an ordered list i.e. numbers or letters:
    1. sub-order
      1. sub-sub-order
  2. Gee golly, isn’t this fun?
    1. No, not really because we are not sure if this will render correctly across all devices.
    2. Do we really want to do this to our readers?
    3. Sure 95% of them will render correctly, but what about the 5% or more that use Chromebooks? THEY WILL SAY WTF IS THIS CRÄP IN MY BOOK?! — AND THEN GIVE YOU  A BAD REVIEW!
    4. So don’t do it: If you absolutely must make a bulleted or ordered list, do it manually. Like below.

This is an “unordered” list, our venerable BULLET POINTS:
  • I really dig bullet points!
  • Problem is:
    • If we drill down,
      • Too many levels,
        • They will NOT render in all devices, sorry. :-(

Here is a list I did the old fashioned way, the “typewriter way”:
1.) Top level. You actually write/type “1.)” instead of using the toolbar.
a.)  Do NOT use the Tab key,  but indent with the toolbar and then make this level.
b.) Another one.
A. Again, use the indent button in  the toolbar, otherwise the margin will not be adjusted correctly:
Screenshot 2015-04-08 at 21.jpg

Here we go again with our pretty bullet points, the “automatic” way:
  • Top level
    • sub-level
      • sub-sub-level

  • Let’s get fancy
    • and see how these
      • render across all devices.

Now make your own version of this section, convert it to .mobi or .epub in Calibre and upload it to your KDP dashboard.
Test it in the online previewer — see the results, especially when you choose the iPad!
And much more importantly, test it on all of your own devices before you upload anything.


I uploaded my new psyche book cheatsheet BE FREUD as an .epub to my KDP dashboard.  Additionally I loaded this on all the devices manually, with the good old usb cable, here are the results:

1.    Kindle Keyboard
o   Bullet points = OK
o   ToC = FAIL
2.    Kindle Paperwhite
o   Bullet points = OK
o   ToC = OK
3.    Android Tablet – Google Play Book Viewer
o   Bullet points = OK
o   ToC = OK
4.    Android Tablet – Kindle Reading App
o   Bullet points = OK
o   ToC = OK
5.    Android Tablet – Aldiko Ebook reading App
o   Bullet points = FAIL
o   ToC = FAIL
6.    iPhone 4 – Kindle Reading App
o   Bullet points = OK
o   ToC = OK
— Compare to Amazon online previewer(!):
o  Bullet points = FAIL
o  ToC = OK
7.    Linux Laptop – Kindle Cloud Reader
o   Bullet points = FAIL
o   ToC = FAIL
8.    Chromebook – Kindle Cloud Reader
o   Bullet points = FAIL
o   ToC = FAIL
9.    Windows Laptop 1 – Kindle Cloud Reader
o   Bullet points = FAIL
o   ToC = FAIL
10.  Windows Laptop 2 – Kindle Cloud Reader
o   Bullet points = FAIL
o   ToC = FAIL

Check Summary

As you can see there is a big difference between the online previewer in Amazon KDP and the actual devices. The online previewer is “dumbed down” to the older generation devices. This is why the bullet points do not render on the iPad or iPhone. However, when we tested them on a real iPhone — they rendered perfectly!
This was also a good demonstration of what happens when you upload an .epub to Amazon. Previously KDP would only accept a .mobi file. Now they accept .epub too. They look awesome and render well across most modern devices, but you gotta watch out for that table of contents: it’s not always included.


There are THREE solutions to bullet points and ordered lists in an Ebook:
1.) Don’t use them at all.
—  Build them manually, the “typewriter way”.
a.) By manually I mean making the indents and numbers yourself (as I did in this section), typing them. This is tricky because most word processors — including google docs and word — will automatically include the bullet points or ordered list. You must hit BACKSPACE or DELETE to undo the automatic inclusion.
b.) Additionally, make sure to check this on all devices before publishing, because some readers will invariably NOT get the indents right.

2.) Build them the normal way, with the toolbar automatically inserting them. BUT ... RESTRICT them to one level only. This is definitely the EASIEST SOLUTION. One level of bullet points will render correctly. Multiple levels of bullet points will not.
— Compare this technique to the Barnes & Noble online creator.
>> If you MUST drill down a level, then use an EM “ — “ dash or arrows “>”: these are both in the ASCII character set.

3.) Build them with the toolbar any way you want(!): But RESTRICT usage of your book to approved devices:
You can simply say:  
“This book is optimized for iPad, Google Play, Android Tablets, All Gen2 and above Kindles.”
— notice how I left out the “bad” devices.
BUT: That means if your client or reader happens to use an older computer or a google chromebook— tough luck for him! Do you really want to do that?

Another example:
“This book is not optimized for older generation devices or desktop cloudreaders – results my vary.”                                           

Bullet Points Summary

  • If you want to be rock-solid, absolutely positively sure that your list renders across ALL devices, old and new, then use solution ONE.
  • If you want to use the EASIEST solution for most writing needs, use solution TWO.


Holy cow, footnotes are such a pain in the ****! I really, really, hate them. I think they literally destroy the reading experience for the reader. But if you are publishing a scientific document, or an argument document; there are three solutions:
1.) This[superscript 1 doesn't render on the web! Go get the tutorial!] is the “normal” way to make them in a document. Simply insert them with the toolbar function.
— Notice how small that little superscript 1 is. Now imagine trying to hit that with a touchscreen on an iPhone. This is why method two below is more user friendly:
2.) This (1) is the “Hacked” Kindle Notes method. I made the target note in References heading 5. Then I linked to the heading.
3.) Use Kindle Notes, BUT beware, this requires you to pick apart the .html of your manuscript. The first two methods don’t.


(1) << it’s a heading.

What you do is create a hyperlink from your reference point (1) to the “(1)” at the beginning of this sentence.  You then make this target “(1)” HEADING 5 or 6 or 7 etc. This way you can link to the Heading BUT, you must then go back and edit your table of contents. Otherwise all of those footnotes will show in your ToC.
This means that your reader can quickly access the footnote in the references section BUT(!) must then use the BACK BUTTON to get back to where he was reading. With Kindle Notes, both directions are linked. In my honest opinion I don’t think this is a big deal and this is my recommended workaround.  Otherwise you will have to take your manuscript apart with .html and upload it to Kindle Notes. This bamboozles the entire process with word and google docs. If you have to edit the .html, then why bother with word processors. You are already editing the .html!

Footnotes Summary

  • If you want the EASIEST method for authoring, use solution one (1).
  • If you want the most USER FRIENDLY solution, use solution two (2).
  • If you want the best technical solution all-around and you are indeed .html savvy, then go ahead and use Kindle Notes online tool.


Zbooks Bullet Point and Footnote Ebook Tutorial - the best FREE method to build and format your ebook!

Come join in on the fun and build your book!
I give you all you need to finish your Ebook and get professional results, even if you are a beginner.
And get this Tutorial as a FREE .pdf, .mobi, or .epub.
On top of that you will get your next tutorial for FREE the Zbooks Cheatsheet.

Additionally you gain permanent access to the Resource Center.
That's an unbeatable deal innit? the best way to format your Ebook!

What do you want me to write/make next? Let me know >>> I will make it!


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