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Old 07-12-2014, 01:00 AM   #1
mjlamb
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How to set Beginning page for Kindle

I have published my first book on Amazon for Kindle but so far have been unsuccessful in achieving the Beginning page I want. New downloads always open on the first page of text, but I want the reader to see my front matter first, as in a traditional book. Amazon tech support is of no help at all. They say the problem is fixed, and it appears to be fixed in their emulators, but still does not work in the actual physical readers. I have tried the following hints from online forums: (1) In Sigil I assigned "Add Semantics 'Text' " to the desired Beginning page; this works for older original Kindles but not Kindle Fire models; (2) In Calibre I found a March 2011 thread titled "Changing "Beginning" Location"; Calibre must have changed a lot since then because "Tweak Epub" is not found on my Calibre for Mac v1.44.0, but I tried entering the suggested " <reference type="start" etc. >" directly in the content.opf html code and that did nothing for me except create an odd truncated duplicate of my first page.

Do I have the right forum for publishers, and can anyone help with this please??
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Old 07-12-2014, 01:14 AM   #2
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Do I have the right forum for publishers, and can anyone help with this please??
You might get an answer here, but you might get more if you have a Mod (click on report this post) move the thread to the Kindle Formats section.


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Old 07-12-2014, 01:06 PM   #3
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Thread moved to Kindle Formats. Pay the man at the door on your way out.
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Old 07-12-2014, 07:36 PM   #4
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I'll be honest: it's just not worth the battle trying to get it to work for every book on every device. You'll drive yourself nuts and still not get it work "correctly" 100% of the time (after it goes through KDP). Those who want to read every letter of every piece of front-matter in your book will have no issues backing up and doing so ... and those who don't want to, will page/flip/jump to the meat and potatoes anyway. Amazon wants the book to open where they want it to open, and it's just not worth the effort trying to game their system into doing what you want it to do.

Think of it this way:
Could you stop someone from grabbing the first 4-5 pages of a physical book (without looking at them), in order to skip the front-matter?

The cover, the toc, the first chapter ... does it really, really matter (except to the adamant paying client/author who wants to make your life miserable)?

Last edited by DiapDealer; 07-12-2014 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:54 PM   #5
mjlamb
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If not 100%, for now I would appreciate ANY suggestions that will help with ANY Kindle. Surely we do not have to give up on something this important!

My thoughts on your feedback:
1. Yes, I have found that it DOES matter. Really. I have polled readers and found that most either were not aware that they had to back-page or simply assumed that there was nothing worthwhile to back-page for because of where the book opened.
2. You can count on readers of a physical book at least be aware of front matter, and you can draw their attention to important material with a good design. Compare that to a Kindle that dumps the reader into the nether regions of the book so that they do not even know whether previous pages exist.
3. When you say, "Amazon wants the book to open where they want it to open," I have learned that Amazon does not know how to set the Beginning either. I have requested a different Beginning page, and they say they are happy to oblige and have supposedly changed it to that page; but although it then appears to open on that page in all of the emulators, it still does not work in the actual physical Kindles. Their tech support apparently does not have actual Kindles to test with, because they simply do not believe me.

I find this state of affairs to be ludicrous and immensely frustrating -- so again, any tips worth trying would be much appreciated.
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Old 07-13-2014, 07:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlamb View Post
If not 100%, for now I would appreciate ANY suggestions that will help with ANY Kindle. Surely we do not have to give up on something this important!

My thoughts on your feedback:
1. Yes, I have found that it DOES matter. Really. I have polled readers and found that most either were not aware that they had to back-page or simply assumed that there was nothing worthwhile to back-page for because of where the book opened.
2. You can count on readers of a physical book at least be aware of front matter, and you can draw their attention to important material with a good design. Compare that to a Kindle that dumps the reader into the nether regions of the book so that they do not even know whether previous pages exist.
3. When you say, "Amazon wants the book to open where they want it to open," I have learned that Amazon does not know how to set the Beginning either. I have requested a different Beginning page, and they say they are happy to oblige and have supposedly changed it to that page; but although it then appears to open on that page in all of the emulators, it still does not work in the actual physical Kindles. Their tech support apparently does not have actual Kindles to test with, because they simply do not believe me.

I find this state of affairs to be ludicrous and immensely frustrating -- so again, any tips worth trying would be much appreciated.
Gang:

(I've covered most of this ground in PM's with Mr. Lamb already, FWIW.)

This issue has absolutely nothing to do with emulators versus actual devices. Surprisingly, the Previewer is remarkably accurate at displaying what the devices will display.

This has to do with Amazon's a) usage data and b) decisions. As I explained to you in the PM, Amazon most certainly knows how to change the SRL, but their change, if you are trying to then re-upload something, doesn't survive the PW (Publishing workflow). You must have them change it AFTER the book is published, not before.

Amazon made a deliberate decision to have the SRL start at the first page after the TOC. Period. There are dozens of "tricks," according to all sorts of experts, and 99.99% of them don't work. The SRL is altered after you hit "save and publish."

So: harangue Amazon after you've published, and eventually, they'll change it. However, as I noted to you in my PM, Amazon's usage data indicates that, while your reader polls may tell you that the readers "don't know it's there," (that's entirely possible), it's because nearly 100% of readers flip past ALL frontmatter and "Go To" the first page of the main material. I know that this drives authors, particularly, nuts (not professional publishers, so much, because they already know it), but them's the realities. It's remarkable how many readers won't bother with things like Acknowledgments, Dedication, etc., unless/until they decide that they are interested IN the author, which is a result of being interested by the book in whatever way (intellectual, academic, entertainment, whatever).

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