Why Kindle Fire Stinks (so far) for Multimedia Enhanced eBook Publishing

Kindle Fire, you mayka me crazeeThe eBook
I’m in the midst of preparing the manuscript/videos of my multimedia eBook Camera Ready for the various outlets where eBooks are sold: Barnes & Noble (for Nook), iBooks (for the iPad and other iOS devices), and of course, Amazon (for Kindle Fire). My eBook is a How-To: how to be awesome on camera. It includes 20 demonstration videos and interviews with video experts. In other words, the videos are VITAL to the Camera Ready experience.

The Kindle Conundrum
So you can imagine my dismay when I discovered, as a first time author (and iPad owner), that Kindle Fire does not support eBooks that have videos embedded in them. I mean, they ‘support’ them philosophically but they haven’t quite finished programming their lovely new full color tablets to actually play them. What’s a video gal to do?  

Vook’s Advice
The kind folks at Vook, who are formatting and publishing Camera Ready, explained to me that they can insert a link of hypertext where the video should be in the manuscript. The reader then simply clicks on the link (as long as they are connected to the internet) and can watch the video in another window. But the video will need to be hosted elsewhere.

But Where to Put the Video?
Should I create a separate, private webpage to put all my videos for Kindle Fire readers? What about creating a Vimeo account?  Nah, Vook said, just put them all on YouTube. That way you’ll get traffic to your eBook via your YouTube watchers and then your eBook readers can become YouTube watchers, and hopefully, subscribers to my channel. And it’s free and open. Cool! But isn’t that giving away my content? Sweet Manoush, says Vook, authors, especially first time ones, should worry more about obscurity than piracy these days.

An Update
I’m still thinking it over. Putting all my eBook’s video content on YouTube all at once messes with my YouTube/Blog SEO and marketing strategy.  We’re looking into VimeoPro as a solution but Kindle doesn’t play nicely with other video websites. Can any multimedia eBook authors out there share how they solve this Kindle problem? Regardless, I’ll keep you posted. Camera Ready comes out June 12th so I can’t mull much longer…

****By the way, did I mention we are half-way through the Camera Ready Kickstarter campaign to Save Quality Video and would LOVE you to back us? Please click here to learn more: http://kck.st/JHpsTC

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  • http://1timstreet.com/ Tim Street

    Thanks for sharing your frustration. I can relate. It would be great if there was a tool like Apple’s iBook’s Author for creating an enhanced eBook that would play Video and audio in an eBook on the Kindle Fire and other non iOS devices. 

    I’m sure it will come along soon if it’s not already out there. 

    • Manoushz

      Hi Tim, 
      Thanks for the encouragement!  I decided to post all the videos on an unlisted YouTube page.  It seemed to be the easiest and safest way to go. 

  • Daniel

    I have been exploring this problem for a little while, and we have decided to publish as an app, and port to android and kindle. This requires the multimedia document to be programmed, but we can be in the app stores. This is definitely more expensive to do.

    • Manoushz

      Thanks, Daniel. How much, if you don’t mind my asking, is the difference between publishing your ebook and creating an app??

  • http://www.facebook.com/mikeboas Mike Boas

    How about youtube’s unlisted video option?  That’s what Brian Brushwood did with some videos in his Scam School book, also published via Vook.

    • Manoushz

      Hi Mike, 
      Thanks for the suggestion…I should have updated this post- that’s exactly what I ended up doing after talking to Brian’s tech guru, @jontilton:disqus . Still doesn’t look that pretty and you need to be connected to the internet with the Kindle Fire but works for now!Wish I’d talked to you sooner :)

  • Robert Person

    Does amazon have an update on when the Fire will support video enhanced eBooks?

    • Manoushz

      Not as far as I know, Robert. They keep saying it’s coming but don’t actually seem that fussed.

  • Aoleon

    I’m in the process of publishing a multi-media ebook of my own and I have run into the “kindle konundrum” ;D
    The iPad is fantastic as you can do basically anything. I think its a huge mistake that Amazon has chosen not to adopt the open epub/html5 standard as it makes it that much more difficult to deliver good content.

    • Manoushz

      I could not agree more!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kris.wilson.98892 Kris Wilson

    I just hit the Kindle embedded video/audio problem also. Since the last post (6 months) any progress? I may just move all my content to video, but ePUB would have been better!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kris.wilson.98892 Kris Wilson

    I see no recent change in status for the Kindle konundrum. Surprisingly little publicity on this. Amazon supports misinformation when they claim Kindle support, but neglect to say Kindle IOS only. Your Camera book is an excellent example of a Kindle mistake letting iPad have this important emerging market. I wish they would anounce at least their intentions

  • Jeffrey Truitt

    I am working on the same issue today. 18 small video clips that need to be high quality to show detail in my ebook. I just don’t trust YouTube being a free service not to block my account in the future due to unfounded complaints or policy changes. I see no way to go back and modify the ebooks already sold. My buyers deserve a book that works long term so I thought paid services would be safer. What issues did Vimeo have as the video quality is what I want. Also looking into Amazon S3 but I have not got it working fast which I am sure is a issue on my side. Also considering Screncast but need to research more. I know the Amazon site mentions HTML5 but I thought that is what was having issues. Hard to know without publishing a test copy to see what actually works. Any new suggestions?

    • Manoushz

      Thanks for getting in touch, Jeffrey. It does seem crazy that Kindle Fire hasn’t made publishers’ lives easier yet. I don’t have any new suggetions but get in touch with Vook (adam@vook.com)- they are on top of the newest ways of using multimedia on various platforms. Let us know what you decide to go with in the end.
      Manoush Zomorodi
      twitter: @manoushz

  • Phil

    Hi Manoushz, I’ve been researching this topic of late and your blog posts have been very helpful. I also purchased 2 copies of your book, via iBookstore and the Kindle store to see how you’d embedded video…

    You mention that Vook say you can’t embed video into a Kindle version and I understand that’s the case when downloading to a Kindle Fire (the.mobi version). However you CAN embed video into the iPad version that is available from Amazon’s Kindle store. I was surprised that your ebook only had external links to the videos.

    Is this because Vook didn’t know??? Yes, they’d have to upload 2 versions to Amazon (one with external links for people that download to Kindle and one with embedded video for those downloading to iPad) but I think you’re missing out not having your ‘true’ version available at Amazon. Here’s a list of all the enhanced ebooks currently available at the Kindle store:


    • Manoushz

      Phil! This is the first I’ve heard of there being a distinction. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, as of last week, Kindle Fire now offers embedded video for ALL versions. Hopefully that means we can put the whole issue to rest? I’m so pleased I could help at all with your project. Hope you share your final product with me and my readers :) Cheers, Manoush
      Manoush Zomorodi

      The show: www.newtechcity.org

      The book: www.manoushz.com/CameraReady
      The twitter: @manoushz