I have a book that I designed using InDesign and it has a very specific layout where some pages refer to other pages (kind of like analogue hyperlinks).

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I need to convert it now into a Kindle-readable format (including the older B&W touch devices), so what I wanted to ask is if it's possible to keep absolutely the same layout as in my printed book and what the possible solutions to achieve that would be?

Thank you!

PS I add some pages here so you see how it looks... In the best-case scenario I want those links within the book to be clickable on Kindle. Worst-case - the user can do it themselves, but at least I want to keep the same layout. It doesn't have to be spreads.

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  • Pariah Burke in Chapter 10: "Producing Digital Replicas for Tablets" probably could help you with this problem. His new book Epublishing with Indesign is divided into sections. Chapter 10 comes under the section "Advanced ePublications with InDesign." You can purchase the whole book, sections, or chapters. Unfortunately this section is not available yet, but will be ready this month. You can go to this part of his website: iampariah.com/books/epublishing-with-indesign#epubIDalerts to sign up to be alerted when the chapter ships. I am sure you can purchase it for ePub or Kindle. Hope t Commented May 6, 2015 at 19:28
  • this site doesn't open for me. can you give an outline of the technique here? Commented May 9, 2015 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


Given the restriction of the book being viewable on the older eInk Kindles—no, you will not be able to replicate this layout perfectly. Particularly with images spanning page spreads, but also with precisely formatted blocks of floating text, your only real option for replication is a fixed layout ebook.

Fixed layout books, as you might expect from the name, lock the layout so that it cannot be changed. This allows for absolute positioning of page elements and precise control of positioning. Reflowable ebooks, on the other hand, are designed to be completely flexible, so that they can be viewed on devices of any size and so that users can change font size, typeface, margin, and any number of other display options.

Fixed layout books are largely limited to tablets; certainly, the older eInk Kindles do not support them. Instructions for creating fixed layout books are available in section 4 of the Kindle Publishing Guidelines. You may be able to use Amazon's InDesign plugin to create your file if you end up deciding to make a fixed layout ebook.

EDIT: Note that while it is theoretically possible to replicate your print book exactly by composing it entirely of screenshots of the book, Amazon mandates against this in section 3.6.7 of their guidelines: "Do not render large chunks of text as images. If an image contains whole paragraphs of text, it should not be an image. Instead, it should be HTML."

  • Thank you, Tom. What I did before was to convert the file to PDF and upload it on Kindle and it worked with the fixed layout. Isn't there a possibility to do the same with ePub or mobi for Kindle? If it displays PDF why can't it display another format? Commented May 7, 2015 at 8:54
  • So, fixed layout is a kind of mobi format--just one that gives you more control over the layout. I can't really speak to the "why"s of any of Amazon's decisions, but some odd the older eInk devices predate the fixed layout specification.
    – Tom
    Commented May 7, 2015 at 14:35
  • also hardware can be an issue. Fixed layout is much more heavier to render than reflowable one. Also classic kindle resolution is as low as 800x600 which is little too low for fixed layout - especially two pages wide.
    – Glorifind
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 11:34

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