Writing 101: Adding Images to an eBook

Putting the text into a book is hard enough -- adding images complicates matters significantly. Writers have all sorts of reasons for inserting images into their books. In cookbooks, travel books and children's books, pictures are an absolute must-have. But writers in other genres may also wish to add a helpful visual aid to their work. A family tree, a map -- these are a common enough sight in many types of books. So...how do you add these elements to an ebook?

Images and eBooks

So, you want to add a pretty picture to your ebook. It is possible, but if you don't know exactly what you're doing it's going to become a frustrating, tedious affair -- and you may not succeed.
  • Find/create the image. First things first: get the image you want to place in your book. Make sure you know where it's located on your hard drive, so you can get to it easily. You won't need it again until the book is finished and ready to be formatted.
  • Open your conversion software. You probably already know that the word processing document you've used to write your book isn't ebook-ready. To turn it into something an ereader can deal with, you need to convert it. For that, you need conversion software. Open up your chosen program and load the book up as usual. 
  • Add the image. Using the File settings, open the picture(s) you want to add to the book in the software program. You'll have at least two files loaded into the program: the book itself, and your image. Add all the images you want in the book.
  • Add the HTML. Use the HTML editor to add the proper code to the file so the image will appear. First, find the exact location where you'd like to place the image within the book. Now, add your code. It's <img src="the name of the image file.jpg" width=500 height=300>. Write the title exactly as it appears in the file name; the full path is not necessary. Add any extra codes to make the image appear the way you want it (<center>, </center> etc.) and adjust the width and height values as desired.
  •  Finish the conversion. Follow the rest of your conversion process normally, and preview the ebook to be certain the image is appearing the way you want.
It takes a little extra time and effort to add images to ebooks, but once you know the process it's fairly straightforward. An image can be a wonderful aid to readers, particularly if the book is set in a fantasy world or there are complex family ties for them to follow. Avoid sizing the image any wider than 600 pixels, as it may not read well on ereaders when sized larger than this.

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  1. This is great! Kindle fights me all the way when it comes to pictures, sometime I can get them up and other times I can't. Thank You!

  2. What I'm trying to find is the proper dimensions to make the image, before inserting in my ebook, can you help with this?

    Your blog is wonderful, so glad I found my way here today, with my ??? I'll be back to read more about your books etc, very soon.

  3. The image will scale to the e-reader or device that's being used to view the book, and readers will have the ability to zoom in on it. The main thing to remember is that most e-readers use a rectangular display space to resemble a page. So optimally, your images will be longer than they are wide.