File Optimization for PDFs

If you are providing NetGalley with a PDF of your book, please follow the suggestions below, which will allow your book to render optimally across all reading devices and tablets.

Please note: When PDFs are sent to NetGalley members via Kindle, there may be some changes to the formatting due to Amazon’s proprietary DRM. This is why we always recommend providing an EPUB file for Kindle readers.

(The only exceptions to this are for image-heavy or illustrated files, or if a PDF is the only file available and the file formatting is critical to the reading experience. In these cases, we recommend disabling the Kindle option.)

The suggestions below will help with readability, but they will not prevent changes to the original formatting. For Kindle-enabled PDFs, we recommend testing the file using a NetGalley reader account to ensure that the file appears as you expect.

General Tips

For all NetGalley PDFs, please ensure the following:

  • Make sure all pages of the PDF are the same size. The PDF should not have a single-page cover and then double-page spreads –- each page must be single.
  • The PDF should not be protected by any other security measure (password protection or already encrypted). This will result in a processing error. You will have the option to select DRM protection for the file so that it cannot be shared or copied, when the file imports into NetGalley. Learn more about NetGalley file security options here.
  • Remove cropping and reduce margin size to help the PDF render correctly on Kindle devices.

Turning Off Ligatures

If some characters are not rendering correctly in the PDF - especially ff, fi, th - it's either because of embedded fonts, or ligatures have been enabled within the originating document. Ligatures in text do not render properly after they have been converted to Amazon's own proprietary format.

How to turn off ligatures in InDesign:

  • In Advanced Mode, go to Paragraph Styles. You can also go to Windows>Styles>Paragraph Style or press F11 to call out Paragraph Style window.
  • Edit your basic paragraph style or any other paragraph style you have.
  • Under the Paragraph Style Options window> Basic Character formats> uncheck Ligatures.

Reducing PDF Size for Web Optimization

Files should be optimized for the web.

Web optimization will make the file smaller (typically 2-10 MB vs. 50 MB not optimized). If the file is optimized for the web, it will take significantly less time for you to upload and for readers to download. The best way to reduce the size of a PDF is to do so in InDesign, before the PDF is created. See below for specific information about how to do this.

If you already have a PDF, and don’t have access to edit the InDesign file, a PDF can be optimized very easily for the web. To do so, open your PDF in Acrobat Pro, click on the Advanced tab and then click on PDF Optimizer. This shows you what is going to be optimized. Click OK, save the file and then upload to NetGalley. Once a PDF is uploaded/encrypted, the settings cannot be changed. To change settings, you must upload the PDF again.

InDesign File Optimization

As stated above, the best way to reduce the size of a PDF is to do so in InDesign before the PDF is created. Within InDesign, the details listed below should be reduced or removed in order for the PDF to be optimized for the web. you can also create an InDesign preset.:

  • Images: Reduce to 72 dpi from 300 dpi
  • Fonts: Un-embed as many fonts as possible, especially common ones such as Helvetica, Times, Garamond
  • Transparencies: Remove transparencies or reduce resolution to low. Here’s an example:
      • Transparency level: 75
      • Line Art & Text: 288 dpi
      • Gradient and Meshes: 144
      • Do NOT convert text to outlines
      • Convert all strokes to outlines – yes OK
      • Do NOT clip complex regions
      • Preserve any overprint – yes
  • Discard the below object settings:
      • Form submissions, import and reset actions
      • Flatten form fields
      • Any JavaScript actions
      • All alternate images
      • Embedded page thumbnails
      • Document tags
      • Convert smooth lines to curves
      • Detect and merge image fragments
      • Embedded print settings
      • Embedded search index
      • Bookmarks
      • Flatten images/any layers
  • Discard user related information
      • Comments, forms, multimedia
      • Document information and metadata
      • All object data
      • Fle attachments
      • External cross references
      • Private data from other applications
      • Hidden layer content and flatten visible layers
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