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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, sorry if this is the wrong section but I figure that some readers of this forum will use Scrivener and have Kindles.

I am testing compiles at the moment. The only thing I am confused about is the following:

When I side load my .mobi file onto my kindle, the thumbnail on the cover view of my books is a default kindle one, rather than my cover. The cover is there in the compile, and can be seen when you open it, just not on the cover view of my books.

Anyone know if I have:

a) done anything incorrectly

b) this is a by-product of side loading a draft because the thumbnail comes from Amazon

If i've made a mistake am happy to try and figure out what but googling this issue hasn't come up with anything yet.

Cheers
 

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There are some issues I've encountered as well, and I'm pretty sure I've mapped them to the following problem: Scrivener compiles mobi files with the metadata PDOC. This also prevents it from being uploaded on certain devices (Obviously once you upload it to Amazon, everything is fixed).
To remove the PDOC metadata yourself, download calibre, and use it to export your book from mobi to mobi. Then in one of the fields, you can remove the PDOC metadata. I tried finding the "How to" I used to do this, but I can't seem to find it anywhere.

 

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I'm not sure if you did anything wrong. I can tell you that you SHOULD see your cover image as the thumbnail.
There is a 'cover' option in the compile settings in Scrivener. Did you set your cover image there?  That's the only thing I can think of that you may have missed.
 

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I would recommend that you DON'T set the cover image option in Scrivener for Kindle .mobis. This screws up the loading point for books and will likely mean that once your book is uploaded to Amazon, people buying it and loading it for the first time will find that your book loads halfway through the contents page rather than at the start of your book as intended.
Really? I've never had that problem. Could it be because I create a custom ToC?
 

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The missing cover when side-loading books is a common bug in the Kindle software across all platforms. It will go away once you upload it to Amazon. My bigger concern would be that your book might your Scrivener Export. Although it does a much better job than other word processors in creating eBooks, there are so many pitfalls that can create unexpected behavior and garbled/mis-formated ebooks that it is never a good idea to go that route.

I've written an extensive blog tutorial on the subject of eBook formatting some time ago that has since become the de facto standard for countless authors, or if you want to dig even deeper with more details and advanced features, I've also written a book on the subject called Zen of eBook Formatting. Feel free to take a look at those-particular that parts cover "Why you shouldn't use a word processor".
 

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Julian Bray said:
Hi all, sorry if this is the wrong section but I figure that some readers of this forum will use Scrivener and have Kindles.

I am testing compiles at the moment. The only thing I am confused about is the following:

When I side load my .mobi file onto my kindle, the thumbnail on the cover view of my books is a default kindle one, rather than my cover. The cover is there in the compile, and can be seen when you open it, just not on the cover view of my books.

Anyone know if I have:

a) done anything incorrectly

b) this is a by-product of side loading a draft because the thumbnail comes from Amazon

If i've made a mistake am happy to try and figure out what but googling this issue hasn't come up with anything yet.

Cheers
Create your MOBI in KDP all the time
Create your EPUB in DRAFT 2 DIGITAL
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi all, thanks for the replies.

Good to know it isn't a user error on my behalf, and at the moment it doesn't matter as i'm still writing and testing things out (just wanted to see my thumbnail on my kindle :)

But thanks also for the other pointers and tips. I chose Scrivener as it seemed to be well recommended but from the comments maybe not the best. At the moment it works well for me to achieve what I need and I will look into the other advice and weblinks to tutorials (thanks Guido) when I need to do it properly and have a ponder as to the best way forward.

Thanks all though.

Jules 
 

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Julian,

Scrivener is hands-down the very best software to write books! I wrote 16 books using Scrivener, as well as a number of interactive projects, and every time it is nothing but a pleasure to work with. Its concept is simply perfect for writers. However, that's what it is. It is not an eBook generator. The EPUB exporter was an afterthought and as such it is simply not really doing what you'd need it to do to export professional, commercial ebooks from it. No software can do that yet, because the device market is way too fragmented for that and each devices has its own little quirk. What these exporters do is create an ePub file that follows the ePub standard, but the real problem comes from the fact that none of the devices in the market really follows that standard. In the real world a lot of work-arounds are needed to make an eBook commercially viable and compatible with all those platforms.
 

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Guido,

I've taken a look at your very detailed work.  Thanks for going through that effort.

However, when I compile in Scriv to mobi (and I include the cover because currently I'm just side loading them to my Voyage), everything seems to look good.  It looks good on the Voyage and it looks good in the Kindle previewer.

Are you saying that (let's say I leave the cover off for the compile to mobi for submitting to Amazon) that my mobi that looks good/works good on my Voyage, will somehow get scrambled up in the Amazon (KDP?) submit process?  So, even though it looks good, I should NOT generate my mobi files from Scrivener for submission to Amazon?

Thanks for the help.

GeoffW
 

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What I am saying is the Kindle is not Kindle. First you have the 5 generations of Kindle devices, each of them with their own limitations, quirks and firmware bugs. Then you have all the Kindle phone apps for iPhone, Androids, etc, which behave entirely differently than the devices. Then you have Kindle for the iPad, which is an entirely different beast all by itself again because it has some serious and often unexpected limitations. Then you have the Kindle desktop apps for Windows and MacOSX which are different again, and of course you have the Kindle DX, which is incompatible with virtually everything else out there.

I think you can see the problem here. The key is to write code and create eBooks that are compatible and work properly on all these platforms, and no word processor export will do that for you. Things get even hairier once you start taking ePub into the equation.

So, don't be fooled into thinking your book is great because it looks great on one or two Kindle implementations. Depending on your book and the features you may make use of, things can get weird very quickly.
 

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Hi Julian
I use Scrivener but with only two short stories I'm still a 'newbie' using it. I write my short stories in blank format as D2D will format  it but I have run into a few problems getting Scrivener to convert it to a word.doc this happened with my upload this week. I saved my story in Open Office as a .doc and had no problems. I also upload my cover separately using Amazon's cover upload button, that usually save me a few headaches, hope that helps  :D
 

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The key is to write code and create eBooks that are compatible and work properly on all these platforms, and no word processor export will do that for you.
"And yet it moves" That's a very good explanation of why it's impossible for automated converters to do the job, but yet they do and do so quite successfully. Yes, you do need to know things like "don't cut and paste Word into Scrivener" or "use Word styles for formatting and use the docx converter in Calibre" but those are pretty trivial compared to writing code from scratch.

Back to the original poster. What kind of kindle and how did you sideload it? Have you tried the downloadable kindle previewer?
 

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Sarah Aubrey said:
Yes, you do need to know things like "don't cut and paste Word into Scrivener" or "use Word styles for formatting and use the docx converter in Calibre"
And yet, many still don't know that. I didn't know that.

Sarah Aubrey said:
but those are pretty trivial compared to writing code from scratch.
I'd agree that writing the code from scratch isn't trivial but it isn't all that complicated either if you read Guido's guides. It took me about a day to learn to do it, I made up my templates after that, made up a cheat sheet to get me through the minor tweaks and I can bump out a book in no time at all.

The Scrivener conversion to .mobi took me the same amount of time to figure out and while nice, I still have this fear that a shortcut like that is going to break on me at some point. Especially since Scrivener for Windows will still hit a bump on occasion and futz everything up at random.

If I use html and my book breaks, I know how to go back into the code and look at it to see what broke it.

/derail
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hey Guido.

I too looked at your tutorial on it. I'm lucky in so much as I used to build website using html and css for myself and friends, so the notion of html isn't scary to me, and from what I read it is probably simpler code than for building a website.

Anyway, your point makes perfect sense. For example, if you use the Dreamweavers WYSIWYG part of the software to build a website, it looks nice in the app, and will probably work on a browser, but when you start testing on older browsers (I'm looking at you Internet Explorer) then issues can arise. Obviously issues can arise even if you don't use it but less so, because the code is clean... as in it doesn't have loads of bloat which Dreamweaver will add.

So by using your method and having a cleanly coded document I understand how you minimise the possibility of older readers misinterpreting code that an automated app may add.

A question about your blog tutorial. If I have that, is there any reason to buy your book? (other than as a thank you for that tutorial).

@Sarah: it is a new kindle paperwhite (still feeling sheepish about abandoning my paperbacks) and I side loaded using Amazon's Send To Kindle. It's a drag and drop app. The cover is there at the start of the ebook, just doesn't show on the cover list. Doesn't matter at the moment, it was more a curiosity as I read through drafts on the Kindle and from others have said it is probably a glitch thing and the uploaded version will resolve the issue anyway.

Cheers

Jules
 

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@Julian, thanks so much for your kind words. The book is an extension of the tutorial. The tutorial was really just meant to get people started with the most basic formatting elements. The book goes much deeper by detailing things that have not been covered at all in the tutorial. It also explains in more detail what can go wrong and why, offering specific solutions to certain formatting challenges and device glitches. Further it adds a lot of advanced formatting features that I had not touched upon at all in the tutorial. And then, finally, it is updated. After all the tutorial is a few years old and while it is still perfectly applicable, it does not touch upon the new capabilities of devices and the new KF8 and EPUB2 file formats.

So, if you want the full scoop on the subject, I'd definitely recommend giving the book a spin as well.
 

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Sarah Aubrey said:
"And yet it moves" That's a very good explanation of why it's impossible for automated converters to do the job, but yet they do and do so quite successfully.
That is an illusion and simply not true. How for example, does your exporter handle the fact that the iPad does not properly switch font families according to the EPUB specs? How does it address the fact that certain versions of iOS do not center content properly as outline in the EPUB specs? The list is endless. I'll say it again. There are so many device glitches that these exporters simply do not accommodate for, no matter how clean your manuscript is.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Guido Henkel said:
@Julian, thanks so much for your kind words. The book is an extension of the tutorial. The tutorial was really just meant to get people started with the most basic formatting elements. The book goes much deeper by detailing things that have not been covered at all in the tutorial. It also explains in more detail what can go wrong and why, offering specific solutions to certain formatting challenges and device glitches. Further it adds a lot of advanced formatting features that I had not touched upon at all in the tutorial. And then, finally, it is updated. After all the tutorial is a few years old and while it is still perfectly applicable, it does not touch upon the new capabilities of devices and the new KF8 and EPUB2 file formats.

So, if you want the full scoop on the subject, I'd definitely recommend giving the book a spin as well.
Sold :)
 

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Sarah Aubrey said:
That's a problem with send-to-kindle. Try plugging it directly into your PC or Mac and just drag the mobi onto the kindle.
I had problems with covers in send-to-kindle as well. Because I use Dropbox to save drafts and final files on, I use dropbox on my iPad to open in the kindle app. Or I email the file to my kindle email to open on my kindle fire.
 

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Julian Bray said:
Hey Guido.

I too looked at your tutorial on it. I'm lucky in so much as I used to build website using html and css for myself and friends, so the notion of html isn't scary to me, and from what I read it is probably simpler code than for building a website.
Hi again Guido,

Same here, I do websites for a living but used Scrivener for convenience. I've just looked at your tutorial, and I realise that doing the final output this way (rather than from Scrivener) might get me around the problem I have when my Editor sends me an updated version in Word. I can export from that to text and then into an HTML editor and convert to HTML for Calibre probably quicker than copy/pasting each chapter of edits back into Scrivener. Thank you.

I'll still use Scrivener for the writing, as I like its layout and features, but I'll give HTML a go for my next output.
 
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