Vellum 1.2.4

Last week, Barnes & Noble relaunched their website with many changes. Unfortunately, some of these changes have broken links to book titles, including those created by Vellum with Store Links.

In response, we’ve released a small update. Vellum 1.2.4, available today for Direct users, will generate links that work with the new Barnes & Noble site.

If you have a book you’d like to correct, simply open it with this newest version of Vellum and re-generate. No other changes are necessary.

Vellum 1.2.4 is available now for Direct users, and has been submitted to the Mac App Store for approval. You can learn more about updating from our Tips Page.

Update 7/10: Vellum 1.2.4 is now available from the Mac App Store as well.

Three Myths about Amazon Delivery Costs

Calculating Delivery Costs for books sold through Amazon KDP is not at all straightforward, and has given rise to a complex mythology about file size.

Here, then, we hope to dispel three myths about KDP Delivery Costs.

MYTH: Delivery costs are assessed on the file you upload to KDP.

TRUTH: Delivery costs are based on a smaller version of your book that is contained in the mobi file you upload.

The mobi file you create with Vellum actually contains multiple versions of your book, and can therefore seem large. Delivery Costs, however, are only computed on a single version within. This version is designed for legacy Kindles and is much smaller than the file that contains it:

Comparison of mobi size and delivery cost size

MYTH: Using higher-resolution images significantly increases KDP Delivery Costs.

TRUTH: It’s the number of images in your book, and not their resolution, that will most affect Delivery Costs.

One reason the legacy version is smaller is that it uses compressed versions of the images in your eBook. These lower-resolution images are automatically created by Vellum (via KindleGen). So, while adding images to your eBook will increase Delivery Costs, the resolution of your images in Vellum will have very little effect. To ensure your book looks its best on newer Kindles, we recommend using the highest-resolution images available.

Comparison of sizes with medium and high-resolution images

MYTH: Using custom fonts for headings and drop caps increases KDP Delivery Costs.

TRUTH: Custom fonts do not increase Delivery Costs at all.

Custom fonts embedded in the .mobi file do increase the overall size. However, these fonts are excluded from the legacy version, and therefore have no effect on Delivery Costs.

Comparison of sizes with standard and embedded fonts

As always, we recommend referring to KDP to evaluate the Delivery Costs for your book. After you upload, look for file size after conversion on your book’s Rights & Pricing page. As noted in Amazon’s Pricing Information, Delivery Costs are only applicable when selecting the 70% royalty option, and do not apply when electing to receive a 35% royalty.

For more information, see our help page about File Size Considerations, or feel free to send a question to vellum@180g.co.

Vellum 1.2.3

Today we released a minor update to Vellum that contains the following fixes:

  • A recent Amazon update for Kindles changed the way that text wrapped around floating images. This update to Vellum restores the desired formatting.
  • The context menu in Vellum’s Text Editor now displays possible spelling corrections for the selected text.
  • Alignment Blocks now work in all elements, even Copyright and Dedication.
  • Fixed bug where sometimes images wouldn’t be copied to the clipboard.

Vellum 1.2.3 requires OS X 10.9 (or newer) and is a free update. It is available now for users of the Direct version of Vellum, and has been submitted to the Mac App Store for approval.

If you don’t already have it, you can download Vellum from 180g.co or from the Mac App Store.

Update 2/16: Vellum 1.2.3 is now available from the Mac App Store as well.

Vellum 1.2.2

We’re excited to announce Vellum 1.2.2, the most major minor update yet! It includes the following, much-requested features:

Alignment Blocks allow you to center selected blocks of text, or render them flush left or right.

A centered Alignment Block in Vellum's iPad Preview

More authors are telling us that they have chosen to write entirely in Vellum. Our new Export feature makes it easy to use the text of your book in other applications – like Microsoft Word, Pages, and others – if necessary.

Export to RTF menu item

In addition, we’ve added a bunch of fixes and other small improvements, including:

  • The appearance of a book’s title page and chapter headings has been improved when viewed in Amazon’s Look Inside
  • Images used within an iBooks file can now contain up to 4 million pixels
  • Long sections of Verse no longer cause a large expanse of blank space
  • Chapter headings better adapt to the iPhone 6
  • The value for “Display Heading in Book” is now saved correctly
  • Inline images are now included when printing a manuscript

Vellum 1.2.2 requires OS X 10.9 (or newer) and is a free update, available now.

If you don’t already have it, you can download Vellum from 180g.co or from the Mac App Store.

Enjoy!

Vellum 1.2.1

Vellum 1.2.1 is now available. Included in this bug-fixing and stability release:

  • Dictation can now be used in the Text Editor
  • Copying/pasting is more reliable for both images and text
  • Improved legibility of Artisanal Book Style
  • Tall, full-sized images now fill available space on Kindle and iBooks
  • Fixed bug that caused occasional artifacts in Preview
  • Long chapter numbers are no longer truncated in the Navigator
  • Addressed rare crash during eBook generation
  • Clicking in the lower section of the Text Editor now works consistently

If you haven’t configured Vellum to update automatically, here’s how to update now: Tips: Updating Vellum.

Include Images in Your Books with Vellum 1.2

We’re extremely excited to announce the release of Vellum 1.2, a major update that adds the ability to include photographs, illustrations, and any other kind of image in your eBooks.

iPad and Kindle showing example pages with images

Now you can create beautiful eBooks in even more genres. With images, you can:

  • Show the map of a world in a fantasy novel
  • Enhance a memoir with historical photographs
  • Augment a reference book with screenshots and diagrams
  • Add illustrations to a story for young readers

Vellum takes the notoriously difficult problem of using images in eBooks and makes it easy. Just drop images into your book and use Vellum’s simple controls and immediate Preview to achieve the look you desire. When it comes time to generate your eBooks, Vellum automatically resizes and reformats images to satisfy the complex requirements of each store.

Vellum 1.2 is a free update, available now. If you don’t already have it, you can download Vellum from 180g.co or from the Mac App Store.

Support for Mountain Lion Ending

Apple will soon be releasing OS X Yosemite. Like Mavericks before it, this will be a free update. If adoption of Yosemite is anything like it was for Mavericks, we expect a large number of users to upgrade to Yosemite and we expect them to do so quickly.

In order to focus our efforts on supporting Apple’s most modern operating systems and take advantage of their new features, we will be making a change to Vellum’s requirements. Vellum 1.2, which will be available before the end of the year, will require Mavericks (10.9) or Yosemite (10.10). Support for Mountain Lion will end.

Our update statistics indicate that, with the overwhelming adoption of Mavericks, this change will affect a very small percentage of our users. Of course, any users who are unable to upgrade from Mountain Lion can continue to use Vellum 1.1.4.

If you have any questions about this change, please contact us at vellum@180g.co

Vellum 1.1.4 and Justification

Vellum 1.1.4 is now available for users of our Direct and Mac App Store versions.

In addition to a selection of bug fixes and preparation for Apple’s forthcoming release of OS X Yosemite, this version makes a change to the justification of text in Vellum’s Book Styles.

Prior to this release, some Book Styles declared justified alignment for the body of the book and others declared “ragged-right.” Many users wrote to tell us that they prefer justified text on all platforms (and not just on Kindle, which can only display justified text).

We like to think that simplicity and consistency are hallmarks of Vellum, so with your feedback, we’ve changed this. With this update to Vellum, all Book Styles declare justified text. Readers using iBooks still have the ability to override this, but by default, your book will have the same justification on every platform.

Find out more about updating your copy of Vellum from our Tips Page.

Created with Vellum

One of the most enjoyable parts of our job is seeing the many different eBooks created with Vellum. We’ve long wanted a way to share some of that excitement with others. Today, we’re proud to announce a new section of our website:

Created with Vellum

Here, we will showcase a selection of the beautiful eBooks published using Vellum. We will add new books to the site every few weeks, and would love to include yours. To find out how to suggest your book, visit the About page.

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing more of the eBooks you create with Vellum!

We’d like to thank Duncan M. Hamilton, Michelle Diener, Kay Xander Mellish, Christine Pope, and Matt Bronleewe for being the first authors featured!

OS X 10.9.5 and Kindle eBooks

Apple recently released an update to OS X that may affect your ability to proof Kindle eBooks.

After upgrading to 10.9.5, you may find that .mobi files (including ones generated by Vellum) can no longer be opened in the Kindle app for Mac. We have encountered two ways this can happen.

If you downloaded the Kindle app directly from Amazon, you will find that it does not run at all on 10.9.5. You can remedy this by removing this version of the Kindle app and instead downloading the Kindle app from the Mac App Store.

You may also find that, after the update, OS X no longer knows how to open a .mobi file. If you find that this is the case, select a .mobi file, then select the Get Info item from the File menu in the Finder. From this panel, you can reassign the Kindle app as the way to open this file. Use the Change All… button to make this apply to all .mobi files:

Use the Open With… section of Get Info

Lastly, this version of OS X changes security in a way that may cause error messages about “developer identity” for older apps. Up-to-date versions of Vellum should not be affected by this change. If, however, you are using a version of Vellum that has not been updated since June of this year (a version prior to 1.1), you may see an error indicating that you cannot run the app. If you see this error, simply download the current version of Vellum and replace your old version.

Please contact us if you have any questions about these issues.