Formatting displayed incorrectly in Kindle KF8/Mobi files when side-loaded onto iPhone

aj
ajdegan
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Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:13 pm Post

I have noticed a problem with the formatting in ebook files that I have created in the Kindle KF8/Mobi format when they are loaded into the Kindle iPhone app (version 6.9.1) via email (i.e. not downloaded directly from the Kindle store). Chapter titles are not formatted correctly, images don't seem to be sized properly, and, most significantly for readability, paragraphs are not indented on the first line. Here are some screenshots that show what I mean. This is from the book as published on Amazon, and shows the correct formatting for the beginning of a chapter:
IMG_0751.PNG
IMG_0751.PNG (122.98 KiB) Viewed 1729 times

This is the same file side-loaded onto the same phone:
IMG_0749.PNG
IMG_0749.PNG (250.92 KiB) Viewed 1729 times

This is how the paragraphs throughout the book appear when the file is side-loaded. When it is published on Amazon, they are indented normally:
IMG_0750.PNG
IMG_0750.PNG (226.5 KiB) Viewed 1729 times


I have tested the files on a Kindle Paperwhite, and I don't see the problem there, nor does it appear in the Kindle app on my Mac. I wouldn't be concerned about it, except that I send out advance copies of my books to reviewers, who might well be reading on their phones, and I would hate for them to have to deal with bad formatting. I love the control Scrivener gives me over formatting my ebook files, and I don't want to have to switch to another piece of software.

Thanks for everything you do, and for any help you may be able to offer!

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kewms
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Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:39 pm Post

If the same file displays differently on different Kindle devices, that's an Amazon issue, not anything that Scrivener can control.

Katherine
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aj
ajdegan
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Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:34 pm Post

I don't see this problem with files that were not created in Scrivener, no matter how they are loaded into the Kindle app, so doesn't that suggest it's a problem with the files compiled by Scrivener?

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kewms
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Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:15 pm Post

ajdegan wrote:I don't see this problem with files that were not created in Scrivener, no matter how they are loaded into the Kindle app, so doesn't that suggest it's a problem with the files compiled by Scrivener?


Scrivener creates an ePub file. Then it invokes Amazon software to create a mobi file, which is then viewed using more Amazon software. How does the ePub file behave if you view it with tools like Adobe Digital Editions?

Katherine
Scrivener Support Team

aj
ajdegan
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Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:38 am Post

Thanks for replying, Katherine. The epub looks great in iBooks on the phone, and like a dog's breakfast in Adobe Digital Editions, but in a completely different way that doesn't really shed light on the problem. :roll:

So if I understand what you're saying, the problem is being introduced by the KindleGen software that is external to Scrivener? And maybe it's somehow corrected during the publishing process on KDP, so that the published files look fine?

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KB
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Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:42 pm Post

Ebook files are essentially HTML styled by CSS. If the book looks right on some devices but not others, then this generally means that there is nothing wrong with the file, but that that some devices just do not support some of the CSS settings. In this case, it looks as though the iPhone app is ignoring the CSS used to add borders to the title, the image size commands, and paragraph indent commands. This suggests that Amazon's iPhone app has not been updated to support the CSS that other Kindle devices support.

All the best,
Keith
"You can't waltz in here, use my toaster, and start spouting universal truths without qualification."

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AmberV
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Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:58 pm Post

I recently came across this problem in our email tech support, and it turns out this (and potentially other CSS-related issues) are a known issue with the .mobi files KindleGen creates, and Amazon’s iOS mobile apps.

There is thankfully a simple solution, and that is to load the .mobi into Kindle Previewer 3. You will note that it takes a little while to load the file, claiming to be “Converting your book to kindle format”, which is a bit weird since Mobi is a Kindle format. But what it is doing is generating an AZK file on the fly, which it will use internally when previewing tablet and phone devices in the software. That’s the file you need to put on your devices, not the Mobi.

To get it out of Kindle Previewer, hit ⌘X or use File ▸ Export..., and save the file using the “Books - for side-loading to iOS devices (*.azk)” file format.

As for KDP, continue using the Mobi file as compiled out of Scrivener. The problem mainly has to do with that .mobi file being tuned for KDP upload, rather than being read like a normal book on devices directly.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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KB
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Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:09 pm Post

Interesting! Thanks, Ioa. Funny how Amazon's page says that AZK should only be needed for older iPhone devices:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html? ... 1000765261
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AmberV
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Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:03 pm Post

I don't quite understand it either, as I thought one of their more recent iOS app updates was to finally bring its KF8 rendering up to snuff, but maybe it has less to do with that and more to do with its inability get the right data out of the Mobi bundle format, it's almost like it is opening the legacy MobiPocket part of the bundle, but with our modern CSS that doesn't work so well with the old engine. Whatever the case the results are clear: use .mobi and it doesn't look right on Apple equipment; use .azk and all is well.

Par for the course with Amazon though. For how nicely designed their actual hardware readers are, it's like an entirely different company handles the publisher side of things. Look Inside does one thing, iOS another, Kindles yet another, a file format you aren't supposed to use directly to test with but is the format you publish with (??)... and all the while I just can't stop thinking: adopt ePub already. :mrgreen:
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

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Rankin
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Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:29 am Post

I'm having the same problem when I view the .mobi file on my iPad.
The same solution works for me. But it only works if I transfer the .azk file using iTunes. When I opened it in Dropbox and then exported it to the Kindle app, I got a "can't be opened" error message.

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AmberV
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Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:24 pm Post

I ran into a similar problem as well when I was testing this before (I was trying to AirDrop the file directly from the Mac to the iPad). It looks like Amazon has not programmed their iOS app to recognise “azk” as a file extension that it handles, so they are being very literal: you have to “side load” this file in the traditional sense, directly into its storage area.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles