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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Kindle Ebook Descriptions - Amazon Changes the Rules (Again)

I know many readers of this blog are published Kindle authors, so I thought you might appreciate a heads-up about the latest changes to the formatting Amazon allows in the description area of sales pages.

Until recently, if you knew what you were doing, it was possible to add pictures, videos, and other multimedia content to your e-book descriptions. This involved adding HTML tags via the KDP editor or your Author Central page (with different rules for each!).

It appears that Amazon has now decided that they don't want authors to have this degree of flexibility where descriptions are concerned. Several authors recently received an email beginning as follows: "The book description contains unsupported HTML tags. While we’ve allowed this HTML in book descriptions before now, after November 2, 2013, we no longer support it..."

A few authors took this to mean that no HTML formatting whatsoever would be allowed, including bold and italic, but that is not the case. Amazon KDP has published a list of those tags they are still allowing, which I have copied below...

Clicking on this image will open a larger version. Click your browser's Back button to return here.

As you will see, you are still allowed to use bold and italic and some other features such as bulleted lists. What you can't do any more is add images (which some people were also using as a way of tracking visitors to their sales pages). And embedded videos and such like are definitely out!

You can, however, still use h1 to h6 weightings, which means you can get the rather snazzy-looking Amazon orange headings by simply applying h2 tags to the text in question.

One other thing to note is that the above list ONLY applies if you are using the KDP editor. At one time it was possible to get many more formatting features by editing your ebook's description in Author Central, but now you can only apply the most basic formatting there (bold, italics, and lists). As before, though, if you edit a title's description in Author Central, you can't subsequently edit it in the KDP editor.

As things stand now, therefore, the best policy seems to be to format descriptions using the KDP editor only. If you have already edited your description using Author Central and want to regain the ability to edit with the KDP  editor, you will first need to ask Amazon to delete your book from your Author Central page, there being no way of doing this yourself. Welcome to the wacky world of Amazon publishing!

Incidentally, if you would like the facility to format your Kindle e-book descriptions without having to use HTML, I strongly recommend the Better Book Tools app by Andy Makar. This will help you format your descriptions for the KDP editor with the minimum of fuss. You can also preview your descriptions within the software to see how they will look on Amazon, before uploading them via the KDP Dashboard.

Andy regularly updates his software as Amazon changes its rules, and also has a blog on which he documents changes as they occur. If you want to make the most of your e-book descriptions, Better Book Tools is a very handy resource to have at your disposal (and one I use regularly myself). It also works with CreateSpace book descriptions, incidentally.

If you have any comments or questions, as ever, please do post them below.

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Blogger Angelriya Sharma said...

So informative things are provided here about kindle ebook descriptions amazon, I really happy to read this post, I was just imagine about it and you provided me the correct information I really bookmark it, for further reading, So thanks for sharing the information.

4:16 AM  

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