How to Solve EPUB Problems on Nook & Kobo

8ballby the Boom-Books Production Team

21st-century e-book publishing is full of questions and mysteries. Some are opportunities which can become chores. For instance: back matter: that strange, ancient substance which often goes unnoticed even though it fills big chunks of the universe. Traditionally, back matter follows a book’s text and comprises anything from footnotes and index to Full Copyright Notice and About the Author. It’s a great place to tell readers about other books by the same author, publisher, or both. In an e-book, it’s a chance (and therefore an obligation) to include links to those books, and other clickable gateways for curious readers.

At Boom-Books we frequently update the links in our back matter. Lately, as the EPUB format has become more universal (that’s its purpose), paradoxically we’ve run into new glitches. Sometimes the robots-in-charge reject a book that’s been published in this same venue, in this same format, for years–with no explanation but a cryptic declaration which recalls the advice from a Magic 8-Ball:  Reply hazy. Try again. Or simply: No.

Recently we’ve had responses from Nook and Kindle to their EPUB format glitches which may be helpful to others facing the same problem.

On Kobo, our revision (repeatedly) provoked “unable to upload this e-book as expected.” Here’s Kobo’s Support’s response:

We’ve had a small number of authors report this issue to us. Our web team are currently working on a fix but in the meantime, we’ve found a work around.

Would you be able to clear the all content and submit the content file again?
1. Click the ‘Clear all’ button and to remove the content you had previously uploaded.
2. Click ‘Stop editing’
3. Go back to the ‘Add eBook Content’ section
4. Upload the saved content file and click ‘Replace File’.
5. Click ‘Next’ to save your changes.
6. Click “republish” button.

This should allow you to publish your edited file without running into any other errors.

On Nook, the formerly outstanding Previewer for uploaded e-books has evidently been replaced by a Manuscript Editor, which in our case introduced format errors to a previously successful EPUB file.

Here’s Nook Support’s response:

If you are not satisfied with the way your .epub manuscript file was imported into the Manuscript Editor or displays in the Previewer, you can instead put your .epub file on sale as a NOOK Book exactly as it was created by you.

After you submit all of the required NOOK Book details, a “Publish” button will appear in the upper right corner of the Manuscript page. Click this “Publish” button and select to put on sale “The original .epub file I uploaded”.

The “Preview NOOK Book” link displays the contents of the Manuscript Editor, so if you select to put On Sale “The original .epub I uploaded” then you can skip this preview because you are not putting the contents of the Manuscript Editor On Sale.

Once your Project is on sale as a NOOK Book, you can click “Download ePub” on the Manuscript page to view the NOOK Book file that customers download after making a purchase.

We’re committed to keeping as many book-publishing outlets open as possible. We hope this will help.

Bye-Bye Barnes & Noble Nook, or, Another Day, Another Robot?

XmasBall-wpby CJ Verburg

Some days, book publishing feels like a Vegas casino.

My 5-star noir cozy Silent Night Violent Night recently ended a 3-month stint on KDP (Kindle) Select. As part of Boom-Books’s quixotic quest not to put all its eggs in the Amazon basket, I’ve been updating back-matter links for SNVN‘s republication on Kobo, Nook, and Smashwords, among others.

OK, we’ve all heard that Barnes & Noble is sinking fast, and Nook is going under for the proverbial third time. Still, as recently as last year, Nook had the best e-book previewer and, it seemed, an impressive ability to expedite top-quality e-book production.

Apparently that’s history.

When I uploaded my revised EPUB (with nothing changed except links), lo and behold, every image in the book had vanished. In place of my title page, logo, and chapter-opening graphics, Nook displayed text with a png extension (e.g., bb small Logo.png).

Was this a problem with the Nook Previewer, or with Nook’s process to convert the uploaded files into an e-books? I couldn’t proceed with publication until I found out. So I clicked on “Chat with Customer Service.” That yielded the following exchange:


You are now connected with Marie from Nook Press

Carol Verburg: In the Nook previewer, images that are jpgs in my EPUB appear instead as text with .png extension. Will the images appear as images in the actual e-book?

Marie: Thank you for joining NOOK Press Chat Support. My name is Marie. Good day, Carol!

Marie: I understand that you are inquiring about the format of the images once it become a finished eBook.

Carol Verburg: Right

Marie: Yes, that is correct.

Carol Verburg: What is correct?

Marie: The whole manuscript will be converted as ePub since it will be saved as a whole.

Carol Verburg: It is already EPUB. That’s the form in which I uploaded it. That’s why I don’t understand why my jpgs are now showing as text with a png extension.

Marie: If you want to make sure that your images will appear perfect on the eBook, please use the “Preview” option on Manuscript Editor.

Carol Verburg: Are you a robot? or just not paying attention? It is the Preview I’m talking about.

Marie: If the image looks fine on “Preview” it is what you can also expect on the actual eBook when you take it on-sale.

Carol Verburg: If it looked fine, I wouldn’t be asking why the images have been converted into text. IT DOES NOT LOOK FINE. The images have DISAPPEARED.

Marie: I am a real person. I am sorry for my previous responses.

Carol Verburg: Is there a tech support rep who can answer this question?

Marie: Alright, please it seems like the images were not accepted by the Manuscript Editor.

Marie: Please format your ePub using the guidelines on Support page “Formatting Guidelines for ePub”.

Carol Verburg: I did. The images match the Nook specs. The EPUB passes epub check. For some reason, either the Nook process or the Nook previewer is converting my jpg images into text. I need to know if it is the previewer or the process, because there is nothing more I can do, since the images are already done correctly.

Marie: If this will not answer your question, I will be glad to raise your question to our next level of support for further assistance.

Marie: Please provide the title of your project.

Carol Verburg: Silent Night Violent Night

Marie: I see, it seems like the issue really needs to be escalated. Thank you for the information.

Marie: I will forward your concern to them. You can expect to receive a response in approximately two business days.

Carol Verburg: Then evidently it is in my best interest not to publish this book as a Nook book.

Marie: We apologize for the inconvenience this have caused you. I appreciate the time you’ve given us. Will that be all for now?

Carol Verburg: yes

Marie: By the way, to learn more about the exciting features we offer, please visit us at and explore our FAQs. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you. Thank you for contacting NOOK Press™ and have a wonderful day!

The chat session has timed out and is now closed.

Left Coast Crime conference, Pt II: Six Valuable Tips

Random House first edition (1967) of the Marshall McLuhan CJ Verburg

Four days of panel discussions by a whole kaleidoscope of experts in the book business led to an equally kaleidoscopic range of conclusions, predictions, and advice. Here are some highlights:

1. Don’t waste your time seeking an agent and a traditional publishing contract.  It takes forever to get an agent, if indeed you can find one at all; then it takes her/him forever to find that one editor who “gets” your book. Advances–up-front payments against future royalties–are history. You’ll still have to do most or all of your own marketing; the publisher will only support your book for its first few months out the gate; and they and your agent will take most of your earnings.

2. Don’t self-publish.  You’re a writer, not a designer, editor, and marketer. Take advantage of professional help! Your agent isn’t just your negotiator, but your career manager–objective and irreplaceable.  Without one, most serious publishers won’t even look at your manuscript.  And without a traditional publisher, you can’t join guilds such as Mystery Writers of America, so you’re not eligible for the Edgar and other awards that can propel your book to the top.

3.  Blurbs are crucial.  Before you publish a book, spend at least 3-6 months sending out ARCs (advance review copies) to big names in your field, to garner some quotable praise you can feature on your cover, website, social media, etc.

4. Nobody believes blurbs anymore.  It’s well known that many people quoted on book covers and in other PR haven’t read the book. On Amazon and other social media, reviews are constantly bought and sold.  Even reputable reviewers pick and choose from a tiny selection of books prescreened by their editor.

5. Brick-and-mortar bookstores are a dying breed.  More and more people every day switch to e-books, and even those who prefer print books usually buy them online.

6. Independent bookstores are thriving.  For the past two years, more bookstores have opened than closed. They’re changing their focus, adding more events and long-distance orders; they’re successfully adapting to the changing industry.

What everyone agrees is that it’s the Wild West out there. Publishing is in upheaval. The e-book and print-on-demand revolution mean that more books are being published every year than the year before. Amazon is the 800-pound gorilla in the room. How all this will shake down is a question being asked every five minutes, and answered with new start-ups, apps, and how-to guides which come and go as fast as books themselves.

It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times. It’s the age of wisdom, it’s the age of foolishness; it’s the spring of hope, it’s the winter of despair. We have everything before us, we have nothing before us. Where have we heard this before?