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How do I get Amazon to approve my graphic novel for printing?

New Here ,
Feb 01, 2019

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Long story short, my graphic novel has been published successfully to digital and POD services, but Amazon's Kindle Direct consistently rejects it.

Reason given: too much complexity. Too many vectors.

I put the book together in InDesign. Each panel is an image. Each speech bubble is a text object with a bubble around it. It's 300 pages. Over a thousand images. It's going to be complex.

(Note: my previous graphic novel, created in much the same way, passed through CreateSpace without issue. While KDP is ostensibly the successor to CreateSpace, there are obviously some differences in functionality)

Been going back and forth with Kindle Direct for a few weeks. They recommend flattening the document and exporting it as CMYK and using PDF/X-1a. All of which I did before the initial submission… which they rejected. Most recently, they recommended printing to PDF rather than exporting to PDF, an option which I don't have in InDesign (I'm running InDesign 2019 on a Mac if that makes a difference).

I am tempted to give up on Amazon all together. But before doing that, I thought I would throw this question at the experts and see if you all have any experience and/or suggestions.

  • Is there a tool in Acrobat or a third party tool I should use to export the document?
  • Is there something I need to download in order to print to PDF?
  • Should I export all of the pages as JPGs and re-compile them into a fully rasterized PDF book?
  • Are there settings in the PDF export dialog in addition to flattening, CMYK, PDF/X-1a that I should know about?
  • Anyone have experience publishing a graphically intensive POD to KDP?
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Correct answer by rob day | Adobe Community Professional

Edit>Transparency Flattener Presets...>New

Just keep in mind the flattener is only used on spreads with a transparent object—if you want to rasterize all the pages you could put a small, transparent object on your Masterpage. Set the raster/Vector balance to 0. The Line Art and Text Resolution is the resolution the vector art will be converted into. Your art is fairly coarse so you may not need 1200ppi.

Also, to keep the high raster resolution you'll have to turn off Downsampling in the Compression tab.

So:

Screen Shot 8.png

Screen Shot 9.png

I'm guessing the problem Amazon has with the vectors is the POD print speed, and not whether they can get output. They might not be happy with the high res either.

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How do I get Amazon to approve my graphic novel for printing?

New Here ,
Feb 01, 2019

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Long story short, my graphic novel has been published successfully to digital and POD services, but Amazon's Kindle Direct consistently rejects it.

Reason given: too much complexity. Too many vectors.

I put the book together in InDesign. Each panel is an image. Each speech bubble is a text object with a bubble around it. It's 300 pages. Over a thousand images. It's going to be complex.

(Note: my previous graphic novel, created in much the same way, passed through CreateSpace without issue. While KDP is ostensibly the successor to CreateSpace, there are obviously some differences in functionality)

Been going back and forth with Kindle Direct for a few weeks. They recommend flattening the document and exporting it as CMYK and using PDF/X-1a. All of which I did before the initial submission… which they rejected. Most recently, they recommended printing to PDF rather than exporting to PDF, an option which I don't have in InDesign (I'm running InDesign 2019 on a Mac if that makes a difference).

I am tempted to give up on Amazon all together. But before doing that, I thought I would throw this question at the experts and see if you all have any experience and/or suggestions.

  • Is there a tool in Acrobat or a third party tool I should use to export the document?
  • Is there something I need to download in order to print to PDF?
  • Should I export all of the pages as JPGs and re-compile them into a fully rasterized PDF book?
  • Are there settings in the PDF export dialog in addition to flattening, CMYK, PDF/X-1a that I should know about?
  • Anyone have experience publishing a graphically intensive POD to KDP?
Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by rob day | Adobe Community Professional

Edit>Transparency Flattener Presets...>New

Just keep in mind the flattener is only used on spreads with a transparent object—if you want to rasterize all the pages you could put a small, transparent object on your Masterpage. Set the raster/Vector balance to 0. The Line Art and Text Resolution is the resolution the vector art will be converted into. Your art is fairly coarse so you may not need 1200ppi.

Also, to keep the high raster resolution you'll have to turn off Downsampling in the Compression tab.

So:

Screen Shot 8.png

Screen Shot 9.png

I'm guessing the problem Amazon has with the vectors is the POD print speed, and not whether they can get output. They might not be happy with the high res either.

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Feb 01, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 01, 2019

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Can you post a screen capture of a page or maybe package a page and share it via DropBox.

I doubt printing a PDF would matter because PDF/X-1a is a flattened PDF (you can still Print a PDF from CC2019/OSX, just have to use Distiller). The Flattener preset you use in the PDF/X1a Advanced tab could affect vectors if there's any transparency on the spread

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New Here ,
Feb 01, 2019

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Here is a link to a PDF file containing a few of the pages.

Dropbox - CL_V01_CC19_example.pdf

> I doubt printing a PDF would matter because PDF/X-1a is a flattened PDF

That's what I thought too. For some reason, whatever automated process Amazon uses to check their incoming books doesn't see PDF/X-1a as flat.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 01, 2019

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  • Should I export all of the pages as JPGs and re-compile them into a fully rasterized PDF book?
  • Are there settings in the PDF export dialog in addition to flattening, CMYK, PDF/X-1a that I should know about?

When you export to PDF/X1-a the Flattener preset you choose in the Advanced tab has an affect on spreads that include any transparent object, so it would be possible to force all of the pages (including the text) to rasters. The file size of the PDF would be considerably larger, but there would be no vectors. Something like this:

Screen Shot 22.png

For the transparency flattening to kick in there has to be at least one transparent object on each spread. It doesn't have to be visible—you could set one of the back images to Multiply.

It doesn't look to me like you are using any InDesign transparency, if that's the case there's nothing to flatten.

They may be complaining about all of the frames and bubbles, but that doesn't have anything to do with flattening and Printing a PDF wouldn't necessarily affect the vector usage.

Here I'm showing Line Art only in AcrobatPro:

Screen Shot 23.png

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Feb 01, 2019 1
New Here ,
Feb 05, 2019

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Hi Rob,

How do I get to that Transparency Flattener Preset window you have there? When I go to the Advanced tab in the PDF exporter, I only see three Flattener options and don't see how I might do anything with them.

Screen Shot 2019-02-05 at 9.19.55 AM.png

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Feb 05, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 05, 2019

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Edit>Transparency Flattener Presets...>New

Just keep in mind the flattener is only used on spreads with a transparent object—if you want to rasterize all the pages you could put a small, transparent object on your Masterpage. Set the raster/Vector balance to 0. The Line Art and Text Resolution is the resolution the vector art will be converted into. Your art is fairly coarse so you may not need 1200ppi.

Also, to keep the high raster resolution you'll have to turn off Downsampling in the Compression tab.

So:

Screen Shot 8.png

Screen Shot 9.png

I'm guessing the problem Amazon has with the vectors is the POD print speed, and not whether they can get output. They might not be happy with the high res either.

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Feb 05, 2019 0
New Here ,
Feb 05, 2019

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Well the "Raster All" setting at least got the Amazon Bot to accept the document, so that's a step in the right direction.

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Feb 05, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 05, 2019

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You probably can get a pretty accurate proof from a 1200dpi laser writer.

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Feb 05, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 01, 2019

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I think what the Kindle Direct people mean by "printing to pdf" is actually the rather archaic process of making a pdf by creating a postscript file through InDesign's Print dialog window and then using Acrobat Distiller to create the actual pdf. This was the method used back in the olden days (mostly pre-InDesign) to make pdfs before the more accepted Export to Pdf was readily available. The only reason that I could see anybody recommending this is that it can actually make a decent pdf that is much smaller in file size and probably a great deal less complex than the more modern version—which sounds like what you're looking for. I present here the method so that you can try it if you wish. I know full well that other ACPs will leap to the fray and opine that this way is too ancient to be recommended but ultimately the choice is yours.

POSTSCRIPT.png

The first step in this process is to go into the InDesign Print window and select Postcript file as your printer. Then set up everything else in the Print window in the way you would if you were printing to a physical printer (including page size, crop marks, etc.). At the point when you would normally click on "Print" you will see that it says "Save" instead. When you click on that you will get the option to save the file to a location of your choice. Then go into your Acrobat Application folder and you should see the Acrobat Distiller app there. Launch it and change your default settings to the quality level you're looking for (see screen shot). Then go File>Open and open the postscript file you created. Distiller will then create the pdf and leave it at the same location that you put the postcript file.

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Feb 01, 2019 1
Community Beginner ,
Nov 05, 2020

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Thank you for taking the time to post this Bill. My wife's book kept being rejected, KDP support specified this was because the file contained transparencies and recommended I try "Print to PDF." Never done it that way and had no idea you could make a PDF out of a Postscript file... followed your steps and success!! Huge relief. Thanks again.

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Nov 05, 2020 0
rob day LATEST
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 05, 2020

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KDP support specified this was because the file contained transparencies 

 

Just to clarify, the PDF/X-1a Export preset does not allow live transparency—all transparent objects and effects get flattened on Export. You don’t have to print a postscript file in order to get a PDF with no transparency.

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Nov 05, 2020 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 07, 2019

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I agree with my learened friends on this forum.

But the person that I am I would highly advise duplicating your file - and then making raster versions of all your vector graphics and replace them insitu within the digitial novel.

It would be a much cleaner more accurate way. You just don't know what will happen to an object when flattening.

I'd highly recommend going the long way round, it might be longer, slower, but it's more accurate.

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Feb 07, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 07, 2019

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I'd highly recommend going the long way round, it might be longer, slower, but it's more accurate.

Hi Eugene, you can use ArcrobatPro's Object Inspector or Preflight to get an accurate view of the raster conversion.

There could be a case made for converting the text bubbles to 1200 ppi, 1-bit line art in order to cut down on file size, but doing that 1000+ times wouldn't be trivial, and I don't see how it improves the output—there's no appearance difference between 1200ppi grayscale B&W, and 1200ppi 1-bit—and that would make the text uneditable in ID. In the end it's the resolution of the text bubbles that matters.

Here's one of Robert’s pages flattened and rasterized, and I can use Object Inspector to check the resolution of the text bubbles. This complex page is only 4Mb!

Screen Shot 27.png

Screen Shot 28.png

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Feb 07, 2019 0
New Here ,
Feb 07, 2019

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Amazon took the all-rastered file. When I looked at it, the text looked "gritty" in my screen. It may still look okay in print. I don't have a quality printer in my office to check it. I tweaked the preset a bit to have higher resolution for the rastered text, but then Amazon *didn't* take the file. Still, I think this is the answer. Going to try to figure out today if it's the larger file size that's causing the acceptance problem or something else.

But the book is live on Amazon!

Interesting to note that most POD books are fulfilled by Lightning Source. This book went through Lightning Source with no problems. So, I asked Amazon who they use for POD fulfillment and they say they're doing it mostly in house now. So, Amazon's in-house POD is not as capable (or as forgiving?) as Lightning Source.

All of you: thanks for helping me with this! Rob, Bill, Eugene, if you want a free digital copy of the comic, I'd be happy to get you one. Just message me via my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/CivilizedLands/

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Feb 07, 2019 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Feb 07, 2019

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Good luck with that!

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Feb 07, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 07, 2019

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When I looked at it, the text looked "gritty" in my screen. It may still look okay in print. I don't have a quality printer in my office to check it. I tweaked the preset a bit to have higher resolution for the rastered text, but then Amazon *didn't* take the file.

When you check the text in Acrobat zoom in to at least 800%, the grittiness might be from the low magnification when you are zoomed out.

What raster resolution did you use for the accepted file?

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Feb 07, 2019 0
New Here ,
Feb 07, 2019

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> What raster resolution did you use for the accepted file?

300. That's their preferred resolution. Works fine for images, but the text is definitely pixelated.

I re-exported at 1200. The text is clearly rasterized when viewed at 800%, but it's "fuzzy" rather than pixelated.

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Feb 07, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 07, 2019

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I re-exported at 1200. The text is clearly rasterized when viewed at 800%, but it's "fuzzy" rather than pixelated.

Right but you wouldn't see that in the print unless you looked at the text under a loupe. 300 is pretty low for black text, but it might fit in with the drawing style. It would be interesting to see if they would let 600ppi through.

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Feb 07, 2019 0
New Here ,
Feb 07, 2019

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It will be a few hours of processing (to export, upload, and run through Amazon's online checks). I'll try several PPI settings for the text, see what I can get through, and let you know.

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Feb 07, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 07, 2019

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Looking at anything at 800% is going to bring out flaws. You should be viewing this at 100% actual or at least print on any kind of printer, even if you don't have a "quality" printer available.

You can also go to an Office Max/Depot, FedEx/Kinkos or other local copy shop and have them run you a copy. The small fee may be worth the piece of mind knowing your raster version will print ok before people purchase and complain.

Kevin Stohlmeyer Adobe Community Professional/Adobe Certified Instructor

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 07, 2019

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Looking at anything at 800% is going to bring out flaws. You should be viewing this at 100% actual or at least print on any kind of printer, even if you don't have a "quality" printer available.

I only suggested a high zoom level so Robert could compare the resolution difference.

Here is 300ppi on the left and 1200ppi on the right. At 100% you can't really detect the resolution difference, but at 800ppi you can. The difference between 300ppi and 1200ppi black text will show in print if the output device's res is higher than 300. The ideal resolution requirements for line art and text are higher than for a halftoned image

100%

Screen Shot 1.png

800

Screen Shot 2.png

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Feb 07, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 07, 2019

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This is all moot unless the actual output specifications are stipulated. If it is a professional quality RIP and digital printer, it very well could be 1200x1200 or higher.

Kevin Stohlmeyer Adobe Community Professional/Adobe Certified Instructor

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Feb 07, 2019 0
New Here ,
Feb 07, 2019

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1200 PPI for the text breaks the Amazon system, but 600 PPI works. And it looks acceptable.

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