Why Do Kindle Images Look So Bad?

I was reading a book the other day on my iphone (The Last Indian War, a highly recommended story of the Nez Perce Indians) and noticed a really interesting map. Zooming in, I couldn’t figure out the name of something:

bad compression in a kindle book

Toolboothhootrote Band? Toolboohoolrote Band? Horrible compression in the image there, but why? Why would an author put an image of a map in their book so corrupted their readers can’t read it?

I looked into just why do kindle images look so bad it and what I found is pretty sickening.

Well, Amazon makes publishers compress their books and charges them wildly different prices (from .01 to $9.99) to deliver that book to your kindle. Children’s book with lots of images? You might pay $9.99 to Amazon to have that book downloaded, then they get a 30-70% commission.

I wish that had to be plastered in large font on every kindle sold.

To put it another way, the publisher of this book could have chosen to make this file awesome for the reader but pay more $ from their commission more to deliver it. Amazon makes authors pay for the download of each one of their digital books (.15 per megabyte).

So Amazon’s policy on images in books: if you make them large enough for people to enjoy, we will charge you for that. When my travel book first launched I was paying almost $2.00 to have a file delivered over wifi.  $2.00 to send something you could attach as an email. That. Is. Crazy.

Now here is the kicker: if I complain to Amazon that this image in that awesome book I just read is unreadable, THEY WILL REFUND MY MONEY AND NOT PAY THE AUTHOR.

Seems fair, right?

You would think you would reward authors for providing awesome content, right?

Fix this Amazon.

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