Author Topic: Issues Controlling File Size (using Vellum)  (Read 324 times)  

Offline msfallenkitten

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Issues Controlling File Size (using Vellum)
« on: March 12, 2018, 02:34:28 PM »
I'm using Vellum to create updated versions of a few books and the file sizes of each book has suddenly ballooned despite the fact I've only added a couple of small images and one has had a bonus story removed from the back. I'm talking file sizes of 8.8 and 7.3 MB up from 2.5 or so. When I export one of the books as an ePub (1 MB) and then use Calibre to convert it to Mobi, the file size drops to 1.1 MB. I saw a similar reduction in file size when I ran the Mobi file from Vellum through Calibre to "convert" to another Mobi File (7.3 MB to 1.6 MB). Both these conversions messed a little with my formatting and links though, so that's not ideal. I know Vellum says it downsizes images, that the Mobi files contain legacy formatting for older Kindle softwares, and that Kindle uses the "oldest" version's file size to calculate how much will be charged for delivery, but 7-8 MB seems to be too much.

Does anyone have an advice on handling this apparent file bloat? What is a reasonable file size for a Mobi file of a 80-100,000 word novel with cover, 2-3 illustrations, and 2 small advertisement images?

Thank you

Online Al Stevens

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Re: Issues Controlling File Size (using Vellum)
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2018, 02:48:03 PM »
It could depend on the file sizes of the images you import. You might be able to get a reduction by downsizing the images, either in dimensions or resolution. To see if they are the cause, remove the images, rebuild, and check the .epub file size.

I would also use Sigil to look into the .epub files to see what's changed.

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: Issues Controlling File Size (using Vellum)
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2018, 02:48:32 PM »
I seem to recall that the file size you see when you export from Vellum is not the file size that will show on Amazon. Try uploading one and seeing what the file size is when uploaded there.


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Offline ellenoc

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Re: Issues Controlling File Size (using Vellum)
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2018, 02:54:16 PM »
This is the one problem using Vellum I haven't solved for myself. If you look in the official Vellum thread here on KBoards, you see posts about it. The file Vellum generates contains 3 versions of your "mobi" ebook in 3 formats Amazon now uses for different generations of its Kindle devices. Which is fine, but if there's a way for me to get the one version I want and put it on my Kindle before publishing, I haven't figured it out. After publishing, I can download my own book from Amazon on my own devices and get a smaller, one program file.

I tried exporting an epub file from Vellum, which is a more reasonable size, and then converting through Calibre and wasn't happy with the results either, as it mashed some of the elements.

Can't help you with what file sizes should be. Pre-Vellum I didn't have anything in my mobi files except cover and one small graphic at end of book, and the way I was creating the files pre-Vellum gave me files in the 500 kb and smaller range. This was very clean html through MobiCreator. I think anything that is based on Word with all the garbage code Word has must be larger and I'm sure Vellum has to add a lot of code for its pretty styles too.

Online Al Stevens

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Re: Issues Controlling File Size (using Vellum)
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2018, 03:06:58 PM »
Which is fine, but if there's a way for me to get the one version I want and put it on my Kindle before publishing, I haven't figured it out.
A free Python script named KindleUnpack will do that for you.

Online Al Stevens

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Re: Issues Controlling File Size (using Vellum)
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2018, 03:10:34 PM »
The file Vellum generates contains 3 versions of your "mobi" ebook in 3 formats Amazon now uses for different generations of its Kindle devices.
I didn't know Vellum did that. If Vellum will produce an .epub file, use that to upload to KDP. It manages the conversions to .mobi.

Offline msfallenkitten

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Re: Issues Controlling File Size (using Vellum)
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2018, 07:48:35 PM »
I didn't know Vellum did that. If Vellum will produce an .epub file, use that to upload to KDP. It manages the conversions to .mobi.
Does the conversion generally work well? I just haven't tried it before.

Offline AmpersandBookInteriors

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Re: Issues Controlling File Size (using Vellum)
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2018, 07:56:58 PM »
The thing about inflated file sizes like these is that they're frequently not the file sizes that get delivered to kindles, nor do they count in the file size KDP warns you about when you're setting prices. For example, my partner's ebook here is listed as having a file size of "File Size: 4630 KB" according to the product page, but the KDP pricing page lists the file size as: 1.05MB (or 1050 KB). My computer file also lists the file size as 5855 KB. It's the MB amount on the pricing page you have to worry about though.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 08:18:43 PM by AmpersandBookInteriors »


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Online Al Stevens

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Re: Issues Controlling File Size (using Vellum)
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2018, 08:01:22 PM »
Does the conversion generally work well? I just haven't tried it before.
I've had no problems with it. But I always upload an optimized .epub file. It's the same one I use for wide distribution through D2D.

Offline msfallenkitten

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Re: Issues Controlling File Size (using Vellum)
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2018, 08:05:32 PM »
It could depend on the file sizes of the images you import. You might be able to get a reduction by downsizing the images, either in dimensions or resolution. To see if they are the cause, remove the images, rebuild, and check the .epub file size.

I would also use Sigil to look into the .epub files to see what's changed.

I removed the images from one of my books and the file size dropped a lot, so it does look like there is something in how Vellum is handling images in its Modi files and I guess I need to figure out better file size reduction on my end too.

I may still try submitting the ePubs and let Amazon make the conversion since the ePub does get reduced to a reasonable size.

Offline Brad West

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Re: Issues Controlling File Size (using Vellum)
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2018, 12:28:31 PM »
Some of these points have been mentioned above, but we want to clarify:
  • Vellum uses Amazon's KindleGen program to convert a file into Amazon's proprietary mobi format
  • A mobi file created by KindleGen will always be larger than an equivalent EPUB file, because it contains several files within it
  • Amazon does not use the size of this mobi file to compute delivery costs
  • The only way to determine delivery costs is to upload your file to KDP
More details about this can be found in our File Size guide:
https://help.vellum.pub/file-size/

Though KindleGen does automatically create lower-resolution versions of your images, even these low-resolution images can significantly affect delivery costs, so you do need to be mindful of including them in your Kindle ebooks.

I may still try submitting the ePubs and let Amazon make the conversion since the ePub does get reduced to a reasonable size.

This isn't something we'd recommend. In general, we only recommend uploading Vellum's Kindle output to KDP. This file includes many adjustments specific to Kindle that aren't included in Vellum's Generic EPUB output, and we can't guarantee results if you upload the Generic EPUB file instead.

If you have questions specific to your book, feel free to reach us via our contact page:
https://help.vellum.pub/contact/

Hope that helps.
Brad West. Co-founder of 180g, Creators of Vellum

Offline KennySkylin

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Re: Issues Controlling File Size (using Vellum)
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2018, 01:44:24 PM »
How big are the image file sizes? You might want to try running them through an image compressor before putting them into your ebook. A compressor should be able to decrease the total file size of the images with no visible reduction in quality.

https://compressor.io/compress
https://tinypng.com/

Offline AmpersandBookInteriors

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Re: Issues Controlling File Size (using Vellum)
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2018, 02:04:17 PM »
Some of these points have been mentioned above, but we want to clarify:
  • Vellum uses Amazon's KindleGen program to convert a file into Amazon's proprietary mobi format
  • A mobi file created by KindleGen will always be larger than an equivalent EPUB file, because it contains several files within it
  • Amazon does not use the size of this mobi file to compute delivery costs
  • The only way to determine delivery costs is to upload your file to KDP
More details about this can be found in our File Size guide:
https://help.vellum.pub/file-size/

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