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Discussion Starter #1
Several months ago, I asked you all about how some of you are uploading ebooks to KDP in such a way that buyers download AZW3 files, whereas the way I had been doing it (making a mobi file in Calibre and uploading that to KDP), it was a mobi file that was downloaded. I cared because AZW3 files treat images slightly differently when you zoom in on them, and AZW3 files seemed to have wider line spacing, which I can't seem to change when I make the mobi files in Calibre.

Someone suggested I make ePubs in Calibre and then use Kindlegen to create a mobi file, which... I'm not 100% sure of how it works, but it seems to create a mobi file that is twice as large and delivers slightly different versions of the ebook to older and newer kindles. It seemed to work great - when I uploaded the Kindlegen files to KDP, and bought my own book, I was delivered an AZW3 file that had the wider line spacing and better treatment of zooming in on images. I then made the next several ebooks in this way.

Today I happened to put out my K3 and to my horror, those books don't have a table of contents! You click menu, then Go To, and table of contents is faded out! To make matters worse, I recently redid some of the images in one of our older Oz books (making them larger) and fixing a few other things. I asked KDP to push this to users because there were several important changes (including one illustration that had been missing), and the did! So now, my readers who have older kindles, had a book with a TOC replaced with one that doesn't have a TOC! ACK!

I did notice a few weeks ago that my cheapo windows phone kindle app wasn't showing a TOC for one of those books, but I thought it was just the bare bones app - there are a lot of things you can't do in the Windows Phone app that you can do on other platforms.

So, does anyone use Kindlegen (http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000765211) to create their ebooks? If so, have you tested them on a K3? So, to summarize, the same book, downloaded to a Voyage has a TOC, downloaded to a K3 does not.
 

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Kindlegen puts two files in the output mobi - a KF8 format file for devices which can use those features and a conventional mobi for older devices.

When you say there is no TOC, did you mean the html TOC or the NCX navigational TOC (the one that works with the four-way controller button on some kindles)?

Also the server side on Amazon post-processes the mobi file from kindlegen. You should always download the converted file from KDP BEFORE the book goes live. You have this option before you continue on the various menus after it says the file has been uploaded and properly converted. Do this even for an uploaded mobi file. 

I also keep one book always in draft, just for checking uploaded files. The purpose of that book is to simply check the Amazon post-processing of the uploaded file.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
555aaa said:
Kindlegen puts two files in the output mobi - a KF8 format file for devices which can use those features and a conventional mobi for older devices.

When you say there is no TOC, did you mean the html TOC or the NCX navigational TOC (the one that works with the four-way controller button on some kindles)?
It seems that on K3, it is the... well, "table of contents" is faded out, but the 4-way controller does jump to the next chapter. So based on how you worded it, the html TOC is missing but the NCX must be fine (and EVERYTHING is fine on the Voyage). But there IS a clickable TOC in my front matter that I created with anchors and links in Word. (My process is Word, saved as filtered HTML, tweak HTML in an HTML editor, import to Calibre, and then old version was make mobi in Calibre, new broken version is make ePub in Calibre and convert ePub to mobi with kindlegen). I'm probably freaking out more than necessary - the TOC probably isn't that important to someone reading fiction (and the 4-way does jump, and there is a functional, clickable TOC near the beginning, and "go to --> beginning" does work, so they could go to the beginning, page through the frontmatter and get to TOC.

But I'm bummed because I personally prefer how the kindlegen-made books look (both on K3 and Voyage) in terms of line spacing. I'm trying to figure out the best and fastest way to rectify the problem. The first thing I'm trying (on the least popular of the 3 books that have this problem) is uploading a zip file of the HTML + images. This was recommended here: https://kdp.amazon.com/community/thread.jspa?threadID=25408&start=0&tstart=0

That 2nd post in that thread said to add tags for the start and TOC to the html file - I did that just now before uploading the zip file. I never had to do that before - it just worked right when I made mobi files in Calibre, and it worked on Voyage with the kindlegen version. So, I'm wondering if another solution would be if I put those tags in my HTML before I made the ePub in Calibre, and ran it through kindlegen. I guess/think I can try that and sideload the kindlegen-made file to my K3...
 

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Which book?  Also which kindle, basic, touch or keyboard.  I can look for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The three books are these, though none of them are currently free.


But I already know, from purchasing the books myself and viewing them on K3 (kindle keyboard) and Voyage - NO TOC on K3, YES TOC on Voyage.
 

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I have Ozma
 

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I just opened it on my kindle keyboard and the TOC is there.  Opened just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
cinisajoy said:
I just opened it on my kindle keyboard and the TOC is there. Opened just fine.
OK, this one is complicated because just a few days ago, I uploaded a NEW version with some larger images and a few typos corrected and a few other things. The old version is fine. The new version doesn't have the TOC on the Kindle keyboard (Yes... I uploaded a broken update...). You can tell which you have by looking at the Afterword at the end, and in the new version, all the books through Glinda of Oz (#14) are listed, and then after the Afterword, there's brief descriptions of a few other books with cover thumbnails. In the old version, the Afterword only lists a few Oz books and there are no descriptions of other books after that.
 

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You are right.  Mine is the old version.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
cinisajoy said:
You are right. Mine is the old version.
Yeah, so... for now, I advise you to NOT opt for the new version (I think if you look at your books on Amazon it'll show an option to update). You don't need the larger images, since the kindle keyboard is lower resolution, but there is one illustration missing, so once I sort out a solution, I'll let you know.

One option is to go back to my old method of making the mobi in Calibre. I just wish I could figure out how to make the line spacing wider - nothing I do seems to change it. I prefer the wider line spacing in the kindlegen version.

I tried some things before running the ePub through kindlegen, and nothing I did fixed the TOC on K3. I tried uploading the HTML file directly to Amazon - now I have to wait til that change is active to see how it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think I found a solution for what I want - an ebook that works right (in terms of TOC on all devices and the tic marks on the progress bar for K3), with the wider line spacing and new method of enlarging images that many books from Amazon have.

In Calibre, I created a mobi file using the mobi type of "both". The options are new, old, or both. I previously did "old" which gives the tighter line spacing. "Both" gives a file that the K3 won't read. BUT, if I upload that file to KDP, and download a preview file (which should be exactly what a buyer gets), it does everything - wider line spacing, new treatment of images, and TOC works right on both K3 and Voyage (now I'm thinking maybe I would have been justified to keep EVERY kindle I've owned...).

I tried a LOT of things with Kindlegen and NOTHING gave me a file that had both the TOC and tic marks on the progress bar (which you can jump between with the 5-way controller) on K3. I also tried a lot of different variations of uploading HTML directly to KDP.

So, moral of the story is:
  • For me, at least, I won't use Kindlegen any more.
  • Even if you're uploading a mobi to KDP, it's probably being modified in some way - don't forget to download the preview file.
  • Don't get lackadaisical, and test on EVERY device you own, EVERY time. I can't believe I let this happen through 3 books (many months) before I realized it.

cinisajoy, once the new version is approved on KDP, you should see the option to download the new version in Manage My Content and Devices. If not, you can email or chat with kindle support (doesn't have to be KDP support - just kindle support for readers) and say "The publisher has told me that a new version of "Ozma of Oz", ASIN: B0050Q9EI8, was uploaded on March 5. I'd like that new version - can you switch what version is in my account?" If you have any trouble, let me know.
 

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Yep, like you I found I didn't like the output of kindlegen and used Calibre to generate the mobi. I only test with kindlepreviewer though--do you find it accurate? I only have the voyage, so I don't have other ways of testing the other models.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
callan said:
Yep, like you I found I didn't like the output of kindlegen and used Calibre to generate the mobi. I only test with kindlepreviewer though--do you find it accurate? I only have the voyage, so I don't have other ways of testing the other models.
I've found the previewer to be pretty accurate, except for some rare quirks, mostly regarding images. For instance, if I save jpegs a certain way, they sometimes don't display right. And a long time ago I had some issues with the 5-way controller, when jumping chapters - I'd see some odd characters when I was jumping chapters in reverse (usually had to do with a chapter starting with an image.) I did have some oddities on nook that didn't show up except on an actually nook simple touch - an author kept saying it looked messed up (something with italics...) and it looked fine in the nook previewer. Also, some things like line spacing and how dark/light images look is best seen on the actual device. Unfortunately (!) the Voyage has such dark ink, some illustrations look a bit too dark, and I've tweaked some.

So, in general... yeah, the previewer is pretty good. But especially when I've had problems, I feel best when it works on a device in my own hands. I'm happy to quickly give a once-over to an book on a Kindle Keyboard - just let me know.
 

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I am glad you got it worked out.
 
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