Making sure images are more than 300 DPI (dots per square inch) is not easy when first publishing picture books on print on demand platforms such as Createspace or Lulu. How does the writer ensure each image is at least 300 DPI within picture books?
How to Create Great Images for Picture Books
Obviously, the pictures have to be good quality in the first place, meaning, good lighting, sharp focusing and high resolution by the use of a good quality camera. But this is different to the DPI setting, which can be lower than 300 DPI even if the images look great on screen. Print on demand publishers will also alert you of images that are less than 300 DPI. Createspace’s preflight download will inform on which images will look pixilated in print, but cannot change it. So how can this be remedied?
How to Avoid Image Compression
|How to Prevent Image Compression on Save|
Firstly a few things to avoid when creating a book with images.
1 Never copy and paste an image into the Word file. Always ‘insert image.’
2 Word will automatically compress on save unless told otherwise. To avoid this, click on any image and ‘compress image’ option will come up on the toolbar at the top of the screen. 3 Click on this and a dialogue box will come up.
4 Click on ‘options’ and untick ‘automatically compress on save.’ Ensure the ‘print’ option is selected (see screenshot above for clarification).
How to Avoid Compression on PDF
|PDF Images are Still Compressed to 220 DPI Despite Print Selection|
Fourthly, most books are submitted as a PDF file on self-publishing platforms. The standard PDF program will compress the pictures even if you don’t want it to. Despite the ‘print’ option being selected, the Adobe program will compress the images, to 220DPI which is still higher than if the ‘online’ button is selected, but is still not good enough for print books. This is why I no longer submit my book file as a PDF. Createspace’s PDF converter is of a more advanced version than standard, and images are not compressed when my book is uploaded on their platform.
Getting Images to 300 Dots per Square Inch
The only way I have found to avoid image compression is to submit my book file as the original word document. But there is a further complication here, as if I submit my book as a Word (2007) document, floating images and tables misbehave and my book file’s formatting messes up in the online book previewer. The only way around this is to save the book file on the older Word version, the Word (1997 – 2003) version. This ensures that image and text elements behave as they should once going through Createspace’s book converter. Again, make sure ‘compress images on save’ has been unticked before inserting images and saving.
How to Increase Image DPI
So once the document is created in Word (1997 – 2003) and image compression has been turned off, you are halfway there. The only thing to do now is to ensure the images themselves are at least 300 DPI before inserting them into the book file. Here’s how.
Right click on any JPEG and click ‘properties.’ This will reveal what the DPI of the image is. Chances are, it will be less than 300 DPI. To get the DPI higher, you will need an image editing program. Paintshop Pro will do, but I use Irfanview. It is free and will batch convert all images within one folder to whatever DPI you want and create a separate folder afterwards. Incidentally, ensure all the images to be inserted in your book file are in one folder before progressing further.
Free Image Software to Increase DPI of Images
|How to Batch Convert Images for DPI with Free Image Software|
Once you have installed Irfanview, open it up.
1 Now click on any image within the picture folder containing the images that will be in your book.
2 Click ‘file’. Click on ‘batch conversion/rename.’
3 A large dialogue box will pop up. Click on ‘advanced (see image above).’ More options will come up with fields you can infill to requirement. Set DPI value to 300.
4 Ensure ‘preserve aspect ratio’, ‘use resample function’ and ‘don’t’ enlarge small images’ are selected. Also tick the ‘create new subfolder option to retain the original picture folder.
5 Click OK.
6 Now click on ‘add all’ and the program will convert all the images in the folder to images of 300 DPI and create a new folder. I have provided a screenshot for guidance.
High Image DPI for Book Publishing
|Setting Pictures to High DPI|
Beware once you have created a new subfolder with images all of 300DPI as if you edit them in any way, the DPI could be altered. Paint, for instance will sometimes lower the DPI if editing has been performed and then saved. This is why I would conduct all editing before batch converting. If however this cannot be avoided, just double check the DPI has not been affected after image editing. If this has occurred, just open that image on Irfanview. Click on ‘image’ on the tool bar at the top. Click on ‘resize/resample’. You can then reset the DPI of your image.
Your images are now ready to be inserted into the Word document and all will be at least 300 DPI.
How to Get Images to High DPI
Images can look good on screen yet the DPI might be too low for print, meaning they will look pixilated and blurred in print. Firstly, avoid automatic image compression every time the book file is saved on Word by unticking ‘compress on save.’ Always insert images, never copy and paste. A free image software program, such as Irfanview can be downloaded for the purposes of increasing DPI of all images within a picture file. They can then be inserted into the book file before publishing onto a POD platform.
More about Self Publishing Books on POD