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Discussion Starter #41
Gessert Books said:
This makes some sense in that if they want to push ET it seems normal that they'd prefer epub, so that they can run the conversion themselves. Of note too that large tables are known for breaking ET, which is likely why they're mentioned here.
The change coming on October 27 sounds to me like Amazon is saying Starting Oct 27, if you try uploading a file that contains formatting that is disallowed in Enhanced Typesetting, such as any HTML/CSS crap, you can expect a big fat error message with a convenient auto-log entry that you can peruse to discover the uber-techy reason your file got rejected. Maybe Amazon might offer an option to upload a file without enabling Enhanced Typesetting; but then of course you risk your ebook looking like the second-class cousin with the bad haircut.

At this point I'm wondering, skeptically, why Amazon are pushing Enhanced Typesetting so hard. For uploading ebook files, Amazon has changed a bunch of stuff within the last 30 days. It appears all directed toward compliance with Enhanced Typesetting. ET is not so bad, it has better rendering and better typesetting, and it's reflowable.

That would be fine, except for two things. To my knowledge Enhanced Typesetting runs only on the new KFX format. KFX replaces the older AZW and AZW3 (KF8) file formats. The AZW and AZW3 (KF8) formats run on older Kindles. The KFX format runs on the new Kindles.

And KFX has DRM encryption. Which I believe is built-in, whether the publisher (us) wants the ebook DRM-free, or not? Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Amazon has not updated Kindlegen in at least seven years; it's been stalled on version 2.9 forever. Plus, Amazon no longer offers Kindlegen as a standalone download. Third-party ebook formatting programs like Jutoh and Vellum have to use the Kindlegen inside Kindle Previewer.

Conversely, Amazon's Kindle Create has been getting updates and Amazon recently has been herding self-publishers to use it:

With the latest release of Kindle Create, you can now upload your Kindle Create file to KDP as both an eBook and paperback of any trim size, creating both digital and print versions of your book simultaneously!
Routine but challenging paperback tasks like margins, page numbers, left/right side page layouts, widow/orphan treatment, and table of contents creation are also handled automatically.
Ready to publish your next book? Or ready to publish one of your eBooks in paperback? Download the latest version of Kindle Create today and get started.

https://the-digital-reader.com/2020/09/29/kindle-create-now-outputs-pod-book-files/

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it seems possible that Amazon's using the better rendering etc of the Enhanced Typesetting features (which really are not that much better than AZW3, imo) as a sales-pitch pretext to funnel publishers into abandoning the old KF8 format for the new KFX format. With KFX Amazon has much more control. KFX is not as open a format as KF8. And KFX has DRM encryption.

Which I suppose would mean that formatting's going to get more complicated, for everybody.
 

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Triceratops said:
At this point I'm wondering, skeptically, why Amazon are pushing Enhanced Typesetting so hard.
I think the question should instead be, "Why has Amazon waited so many years before forcing authors to abandon an inferior and outdated format?" This was only a grace period, and I'm amazed it has gone on this long. If you were dealing with Apple, the forced switch would have happened long ago.

By the way, if kindlegen has not been updated, it's because it's only a conversion engine, and it doesn't need to change unless there's a change in Kindle format. The front end, Previewer, is frequently updated. And apps, I believe, are not using the kindlegen "in" Previewer. Kindlegen is installed at the same time but separately, and Previewer and all other apps use that.

And I don't think formatting has to get any more complicated. In fact, I purposely format my ebooks so simply that they'll look great on even the oldest devices -- the MOBI7 that Brad mentioned -- while still being eligible for Enhanced Typesetting. In fact, I'd say that accommodating old formats is what's complicated, not dealing with new ones.
 

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Triceratops said:
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it seems possible that Amazon's using the better rendering etc of the Enhanced Typesetting features (which really are not that much better than AZW3, imo) as a sales-pitch pretext to funnel publishers into abandoning the old KF8 format for the new KFX format. With KFX Amazon has much more control. KFX is not as open a format as KF8. And KFX has DRM encryption.

Which I suppose would mean that formatting's going to get more complicated, for everybody.
Amazon's never obsoleted a kindle device as far as I know, but they'd really have to if they wanted to force the latest format. And they may at some point, but there really are a ton of older devices out there. Who knows what they're thinking, but I'm guessing it's moreso that they want to make sure new titles at least support ET, partly since they brag about it so much, and partly because even basic stuff like hyphenation and justification options land under that umbrella.

FWIW Amazon has some of the most lenient specs I've seen and it's sort of nice to see some shift there, though I don't much like ET-compliance becoming sort of like a validation spec. Would have much rather they'd found a way to tie Enhanced Typesetting to a successful epubcheck pass or something.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
Gessert Books said:
Amazon's never obsoleted a kindle device as far as I know, but they'd really have to if they wanted to force the latest format.
To my knowledge, older Kindles up to around 2012/2013 can process Extended Typesetting/KFX files, albeit the hardware screen resolutions may not do the higher-res ET justice. But new Kindles will not run the older AZW and AZW3 (KF8) file formats.

And that of course offers Zon the excuse to force the change, for uploading new ebooks. "Well the old AZW and AZW3 (KF8) file formats won't work on the new Kindles, so of course we have to mandate Extended Typesetting/KFX." So to me it seems there's file format flexibility going backward, just not forward.

Gessert Books said:
FWIW Amazon has some of the most lenient specs I've seen and it's sort of nice to see some shift there, though I don't much like ET-compliance becoming sort of like a validation spec. Would have much rather they'd found a way to tie Enhanced Typesetting to a successful epubcheck pass or something.
Agreed. But it appears to me that Zon wants tighter control over its ebook files going forward. Unless I'm mistaken, the compliance hurdles will only get higher.

KF8 was basically Webkit, which itself was basically an open-source browser, AFAIK. OTOH, KFX is in-house proprietary. With DRM encryption.

Control, control, control...
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Pursuant to the October 27 deadline -- when publishers self- and otherwise will no longer be permitted to upload an ebook file without correcting Enhanced Typesetting "errors" -- those folks who want to know in advance just how their epub and mobi files will fare under the new regime, can try the following.

- Download Kindle Previewer, whose version today is 3.46. Note: this latest version runs only on Windows 8.1 and above (64-bit Intel/AMD), and Intel macOSX 10.13 (High Sierra) and above.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=amb_link_5?&docId=1000765261

- See if your file fails Enhanced Typesetting. First, import your eBook into Kindle Previewer. If your eBook supports Enhanced Typesetting, the Enhanced Typesetting label is displayed in the Preview and Navigation Options pane.
https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G202087570

- If the file fails Enhanced Typesetting, check the conversion log. Amazon added KP's conversion log feature around March 2020.

The error message(s) you see in the conversion log may be identical to any error messages you might encounter on and after October 27.

 

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Discussion Starter #46
Last night, new language was inserted into KDP's "Update Your Book Details" verbiage.

Details you can't edit after publishing

There are certain book details you won't be able to change after publishing. Which details you can change also depends on whether you published an eBook or a paperback. Regardless of format, if you significantly change your book, it's considered a new edition and should be published as a new book.

eBook

You won't be able to change:

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Publication date: The Kindle Store automatically enters the date you first published your book through KDP

Title and/or Author name: If you make changes to your main title and/or author name after publication, your eBook will be considered as a new book, you will need to upload a new submission.

To improve the shopping and reading experience for customers, if you significantly change your book title or author name when submitting it as a new book, you're required to include the following disclaimer at the top of the description field: "Previously published as [book title] by [author name]." Significant changes to both book title and author name aren't allowed.

Note: Your publication date isn't the same as your release date. You can change your release date if you want to make new books available for pre-order in Kindle Stores worldwide.

[bolding mine]
https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200736410?fbclid=IwAR2SfAb0RZdBOcgyzbjsFekFHM9u0meIvGSP9uxJ_oxB0hg1JniipZHkYT0

The new don't-ask-to-change DRM is almost certainly cause and/or consequence of the new KFX ebook file format.

Weird is the don't-ask-to-change title and/or author name. That's new. Perhaps the KFX file format embeds them in the file metadata and Amazon can't or won't change it following upload? Anybody know?
 

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Triceratops said:
The new don't-ask-to-change DRM is almost certainly cause and/or consequence of the new KFX ebook file format.

Weird is the don't-ask-to-change title and/or author name. That's new. Perhaps the KFX file format embeds them in the file metadata and Amazon can't or won't change it following upload? Anybody know?
This is the oddest discussion. All these things being attributed to a format that is already several years old. The ONLY thing related to this format that has changed is that Amazon wants everyone to use it, because it's BETTER. Here is a list of the advantages:

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G202087570

You have NEVER been able to get rid of DRM once you've applied it. If you can't change DRM at all now, it just means you can't ADD it later.

Forbidding title and author is simply a way of avoiding confusion among customers. OF COURSE, they could allow changes if they wanted. They've been allowing them up till now in ALL formats.

Amazon is CONSTANTLY tightening its guidelines and requirements to try to improve things. There is no conspiracy, there is no new format, and everything is in plain siight.
 

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Wait, does this mean people still waste time making mobi and epub files???  That is so 5 years ago.

Unless you're using Vellum or some fancy software that makes books so pretty you spontaneously have multiple orgasms from the experience of reading such a beautiful book, just load the word file.
 

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Discussion Starter #49
AaronShep said:
This is the oddest discussion. All these things being attributed to a format that is already several years old. The ONLY thing related to this format that has changed is that Amazon wants everyone to use it, because it's BETTER. Here is a list of the advantages:

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G202087570

You have NEVER been able to get rid of DRM once you've applied it. If you can't change DRM at all now, it just means you can't ADD it later.

Forbidding title and author is simply a way of avoiding confusion among customers. OF COURSE, they could allow changes if they wanted. They've been allowing them up till now in ALL formats.

Amazon is CONSTANTLY tightening its guidelines and requirements to try to improve things. There is no conspiracy, there is no new format, and everything is in plain siight.
Actually, Amazon does have a new ebook file format, like I said: it's called KFX. No one said anything about a conspiracy. Why are you typing all caps so often? In net etiquette that comes off as shouting.
 

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Triceratops said:
Actually, Amazon does have a new ebook file format, like I said: it's called KFX. No one said anything about a conspiracy. Why are you typing all caps so often? In net etiquette that comes off as shouting.
I was analyzing and writing about this "new" KFX format and Enhanced Typesetting on my blog in December 2015. It's five years old. Over the next year, most Kindle books were converted to KFX and Enhanced Typesetting, and it's been that way ever since.

Frankly, given the advantages of Enhanced Typesetting, I'm shocked there are still KDP authors who are submitting incompatible files. I'm also shocked that Amazon has let them do it for this long.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
AaronShep said:
I was analyzing and writing about this "new" KFX format and Enhanced Typesetting on my blog in December 2015. It's five years old. Over the next year, most Kindle books were converted to KFX and Enhanced Typesetting, and it's been that way ever since.

Frankly, given the advantages of Enhanced Typesetting, I'm shocked there are still KDP authors who are submitting incompatible files. I'm also shocked that Amazon has let them do it for this long.
I'm sure you're very knowledgeable, but KFX is newer than the previous AZW and AZW3 (KF8) file formats. Correct? You had said that there was no new format.

We've been over this. Previously, nobody outside of techie world cared about KFX ebook format, because Amazon did not force compliance with the format. It was not an upload requirement. Starting Oct 27, it will be; KFX will be Amazon's ebook validation standard. Thus, HTML and CSS coding in epub files will register as "errors" in the intake, and Amazon won't accept the ebook file unless Amazon also offers (maybe) a workaround. Will they? We shall see. To me KFX validation seems like a problem because, just for openers, Vellum's Kindle epub uses HTML and CSS coding, as mentioned upthread.

Not sure here what your ongoing points are, other than your opinion that my interest in and concern for Amazon's new upload changes is overblown. If that's your opinion, fine. Me, I am indeed concerned, for the reasons that I've already said. If you'd like to offer counterarguments, feel free to include some evidence or citations. It helps the discussion.
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Shane Lochlann Black said:
You can't make an ePUB without HTML and CSS. They are part of the standard along with XML. If they register as errors, then you can't upload an ePUB at all.
You're right. I wasn't clear. Sorry.

What I meant to say was, in Amazon's conversion process when the epub file is converted into a KFX file, Amazon takes the HTML and CSS formatting instructions for the ebook that are inside the epub file and in effect translates them into KFX formatting language. That's my understanding, anyway. So formatting structures that are okay in KF8 files probably won't be accepted into KFX, because KFX's stricter Enhanced Formatting Typesetting gets tricky.

Again, that's my understanding. I hope I'm wrong.

*Edit: typo.
 

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Triceratops said:
I'm sure you're very knowledgeable, but KFX is newer than the previous AZW and AZW3 (KF8) file formats. Correct? You had said that there was no new format.

We've been over this. Previously, nobody outside of techie world cared about KFX ebook format, because Amazon did not force compliance with the format. It was not an upload requirement. Starting Oct 27, it will be; KFX will be Amazon's ebook validation standard. Thus, HTML and CSS coding in epub files will register as "errors" in the intake, and Amazon won't accept the ebook file unless Amazon also offers (maybe) a workaround. Will they? We shall see. To me KFX validation seems like a problem because, just for openers, Vellum's Kindle epub uses HTML and CSS coding, as mentioned upthread.

Not sure here what your ongoing points are, other than your opinion that my interest in and concern for Amazon's new upload changes is overblown. If that's your opinion, fine. Me, I am indeed concerned, for the reasons that I've already said. If you'd like to offer counterarguments, feel free to include some evidence or citations. It helps the discussion.
You might start by just looking at some Kindle book pages. I think you'll find very few that do not already have Enhanced Typesetting, meaning they are KFX. Certainly most or all EPUB books will automatically work. And certainly anything from Vellum will work. Amazon is just trying to round up the very few stragglers.

The reason it has not been an issue for non-techies is because it has been taken care of for most authors without their thinking about it -- as, for instance, in Vellum. As Shane said, EPUB is not much more than HTML and CSS. Using those is in itself no problem. The people at Vellum are very, very smart, and I assure you, they took care of any compatibility problems long ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
AaronShep said:
The reason it has not been an issue for non-techies is because it has been taken care of for most authors without their thinking about it -- as, for instance, in Vellum. As Shane said, EPUB is not much more than HTML and CSS. Using those is in itself no problem. The people at Vellum are very, very smart, and I assure you, they took care of any compatibility problems long ago.
What? We're not having a referendum on competence. Of course Vellum is great. That's not the issue. The issue is Amazon's unknowns. Right now Amazon has enacted a lot of changes in the past 30 days.

Look, if you really want to offer some empirical evidence that everything is cool, why don't you run ten or so of your ebook files through the latest version of Kindle Previewer, like I laid out upthread, and report back if Enhanced Typesetting fails, or not. And if any files fail, then what were the error messages in the KP conversion log?
 

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Triceratops said:
What? We're not having a referendum on competence. Of course Vellum is great. That's not the issue. The issue is Amazon's unknowns. Right now Amazon has enacted a lot of changes in the past 30 days.

Look, if you really want to offer some empirical evidence that everything is cool, why don't you run ten or so of your ebook files through the latest version of Kindle Previewer, like I laid out upthread, and report back if Enhanced Typesetting fails, or not. And if any files fail, then what were the error messages in the KP conversion log?
It might help allay your fears if you download the Kindle Publishing Guidelines and study them. Your concerns seem to be entirely based on misunderstanding and speculation, and that might clear things up, or at least give you direction for further research.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
AaronShep said:
It might help allay your fears if you download the Kindle Publishing Guidelines and study them. Your concerns seem to be entirely based on misunderstanding and speculation, and that might clear things up, or at least give you direction for further research.
From your response, I presume that your copy of Kindle Previewer diagnosed not one Enhanced Typesetting fail on any one of your ebook files? Files that, since you represent yourself as an ebook coding expert, you no doubt created yourself?

Congratulations.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be getting back to the thread.
 

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