The eBook Quality Assurance Checklist
Reviewing eBook files
Along with automated technical validations and confirmation of retailer file type support, all eBook files should be manually reviewed.
Quality issues with your eBook files result in customer complaints, returns and bad reviews. Retailers can also block or pull titles from sale due to perceived quality issues.
BE WARNED: Quality assurance related rejections cause severe delays to your live status because the titles are placed in a review queue at retailers for manual review by a technician. Consistent failure to comply can also result in a retailer banning your titles from distribution or the termination of an imprint’s distribution contract.
The following rules come directly from retailers.
Internal eBook Cover Images
The internal cover image (the cover within the eBook file) must match the external cover image (the separate .jpg image file of the cover that is used on retailer websites and apps, for those rules see: Cover Images for Retailers and File and Cover Image Validations).
The title and author on the cover must match the metadata you are submitting.
No remnants of the printed book: The eBook is a freestanding product and is considered a separate edition of the book (it is NOT a digital copy of the print edition). For example, no bar codes, prices, “large print”, “includes CD”, etc.
No remnants of the printed book: Make sure the eBook exists as a freestanding product.
No spelling or grammatical errors: Extensive errors result in customer complaints, returns, and the title being taken down from the store. Be especially thorough when copy editing any titles that have been OCR’d via print to digital scanning because OCR is not 100% accurate.
Text must be legible and formatted correctly: no ALL CAPS, all italics, random bold fonts, tiny fonts, or images of text (unless they are unsupported characters).
No scanned body text or “burnt in” coded text over full scanned pages. Title pages and tables may be scanned images to preserve formatting that otherwise may be lost in an EPUB file. Books of drawn text can use scanned images of that text. Fixed Layout MOBI files for Amazon can have full scanned body text, see special Amazon rules below.
Tables must be legible and aligned correctly. Make sure tables are not split vertically or cut-off when text is enlarged.
Links to websites within the text should be functional and correct. (Cited websites for reference purposes that are no longer live are allowed.).
eBooks do not have page numbers. Page numbers cannot be embedded in the text. If you do want physical page numbers represented: EPUB 3.0 does allow for the related print page to be noted in the code.
Front matter should include copyright information, ISBN, and a title page.
Index and end or chapter notes must be functional: These elements must be linked to their location in the eBook (Learn more about indexes in eBooks).
Non-functional fields or forms are not allowed in the eBook edition: Quizzes, games, notes sections, blank fillable spaces for text, and any other type of non-functional interactive sections are not allowed. For example, no “Write your answers here” instructions and no “Journal” pages because text cannot be entered into the eBook file like this.
Special Amazon rules for MOBI files
For all rules, see: Kindle Publishing Guidelines
Fixed Layout MOBI font sizes: Check that text is not too small, pop-up text is often required so that small text can be “popped up” and enlarged.
The Table of Contents must be embedded in the file. Make sure you are following the rules explained in Section 3.3 of the Guide.
Advertisements within the eBook
No advertising or direct links leading to other eBook retailer websites. If you want to use retailer buy links, unique files per retailer must be created, see eBooks: Direct Buy Links and Retailer Specific eBook Files.
No advertisements for non-book related products: You may link to your website but you may not directly advertise products within the eBook.
Optional: If present, move the author bio or book description to the front of the eBook because only the first few pages of the eBook appear in the sample file at retailers.
All images in the file must be clear. No pixelated images. Go back to your source file or designer to get larger high res images if needed.
Text within images such as maps or plans must be clear and legible: zoom in and check.
No split or cut off images. Images must be coded to fit within the boundaries of the device screen.
Make sure the metadata matches the title, author, and edition of the book (both the embedded OPF file within the eBook and the metadata that is being provided for retailers).
The language you have assigned to the book in the OPF file must match the language the book is written in and it must match the language you have assigned to the book in the metadata that is being provided for retailers.
The BISAC code must be related to the content of the book and double check all books with a Juvenile BISAC to make sure they are intended for that audience.
Retailers can ban titles from distribution if they find them objectionable and this is at their discretion: Pornographic or objectionable images or content are not allowed at many retailers, including: nudity, sexually explicit imagery, pedophilia, bestiality, incest, non-consensual sex, underage sex, Nazi symbols for propaganda, etc. Please place a ticket if you have any questions or concerns.
Large eBook files (over 100MB)
Remember that large files are often not accessible to mobile customers. Though not required, try to compress the images and any enhancements as much as possible to keep the file under 100MB.
The file must load well and function without lagging or error. Review the file on a device to confirm this. If needed, break up Chapters so that the HTML files are not too large (this can cause lagging on devices).
Make sure that the retailers you are distributing the file to accept large files. See our Retailer Quick Guide for full details.
Enhanced file rules (eBooks with audio or video)
Audio: No skips or inaudibility. Audio files must be correctly placed and not duplicated (same audio appearing in the file more than once).
Video: No static or pixilation. Video files must be correctly placed and not duplicated (same video appearing in the file more than once).
Read Along or Read Aloud: Sound must follow the text and there must be no skips or inaudibility.
Make sure that the retailers you are distributing the file to can support the enhancements: See our Retailer Quick Guide for full details.
Custom sample files for enhanced books are required by retailers, see below.
iBooks Author files
The eBook must be fully functional with no missing images, broken widgets, or repetition of template images.
Export a .ibooks file from within the iBooks Author tool. Do NOT send the .iba file.
For more help see: iBooks Author Support
Custom sample files are required for iBooks files.
Sample files for eBooks
The following iBooks store file types require custom sample files: iBooks Author, Read Along, and Interactive.
Sample files for all other types of files are auto-generated by the retailer unless a custom sample file is sent.
iBooks store custom sample files must not contain any version information. The sample inherits the version of the asset.
Optional: If present, consider moving the author bio or book description to the front of the eBook because only a percentage of the first pages of the eBook will appear in the sample file at retailers.