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Old 04-01-2012, 03:05 AM   #1
djulian
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Start Location

I'm flummoxed. I've tried several different types of html tags, but I can't manage to set the "Start Reading Location" in any of the ebooks I'm working on.

I'm dropping clean text into Notepad++ and working with HTML to set up headings, paragraphs, etc--all very basic stuff because I'm not very advanced at this. I've got my ebooks to the point where I can upload them to Calibre as HTML (ZIP) files, and the conversion to MOBI works great--table of contents, cover page, everything is working as it should. Except for the "start" location.

I've searched now for a few hours, and none of the recommended HTML tags are working. Anyone here have any experience with one that works/ideas on what I can do differently?

(I even tried creating the ebook in Word and inserting bookmarks and saving as filtered HTML, as Amazon recommends, but that didn't work either.)

My end goal is just to produce some of my own nicely formatted ebooks to replace several classics we got rid of in a move. I'm OCD, but then, who isn't?
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Old 04-01-2012, 04:52 AM   #2
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I'd recommend creating an .epub in Sigil first and converting it with Calibre or Kindlegen to a .mobi file. (You can also convert your book to an .epub file with Calbre and then edit it with Sigil.)

Either way, you'll need to add the following guide item to the .opf file:

Code:
  <guide>
    <reference href="Text/Chapter1.xhtml" title="Chapter 1" type="text" />
  </guide>
Of course, you'll need to change the file path so that it points to the start of your book.
See also this web site for more information about guide items in general.
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:57 PM   #3
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I appreciate the response--is there some benefit to creating an ePub first and converting to a Mobi rather than the other way around?

Perhaps it's foolish to start w/ HTML?
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Old 04-01-2012, 03:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djulian View Post
I appreciate the response--is there some benefit to creating an ePub first and converting to a Mobi rather than the other way around?
There are a couple of advantages:
- ePub files are .zip archives and are pretty much compatible with .mobi source files because they're based on the same standard
- if you edit your ePub with Sigil, you can easily check the ePub for syntax errors, before you convert it to the mobi format and Sigil will fix some problems without you even knowing it.
- Kindlegen, the official Amazon Kindle compiler, accepts ePub files

There are only 2 disadvantages for .mobi authors that I could think of.
- Sigil does not create an inline TOC (an .html page with links to the chapters) because ePub readers don't use them. However, if you convert the ePub with calibre, it'll generate the inline TOC for you.
- Sigil requires at least some very basic HTML and CSS skills and knowledge about the general structure of ebooks

However, there are many ways to create a .mobi file and using an ePub as an intermediate step is only one of them. I'm sure that somewhere hidden in the depths of Calibre there's a setting that'll allow you to specify an .html file in your book as the target for the Start page.
Therefore it couldn't hurt to ask this question also in the Calibre forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djulian View Post
Perhaps it's foolish to start w/ HTML?
Actually, that's what many ebook designers do. They create .html files add them to a Sigil and then customize the book.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:53 AM   #5
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@Doitsu:

Sigil is very easy to work with! Much easier than just working in Notepad++!

I'm still having trouble marking the start, but I've figured out how to correct a few other problems I was having.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:30 AM   #6
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Alright, I've managed to set the "start location" using Sigil and converting in Calibre. Now everything works as it should except for one problem--I can't get the cover thumbnail to show in Kindle for PC. Any thoughts? (I'll try posting this as a separate forum thread in the Calibre forum.)
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djulian View Post
Now everything works as it should except for one problem--I can't get the cover thumbnail to show in Kindle for PC. Any thoughts?
If you have a cover page .html file, right-click the .html file and select Add Semantics > Cover from the menu.
If you only added a cover image, do the same with the cover image file. (You can also change the cover image in Calibre in the Edit Metadata dialog box.)
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:47 AM   #8
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I was able to do those things, but for some reason none of the covers are sticking. For a time, I had a cover that stuck, but nothing else (TOC, start) was working. I just can't seem to get all three elements working at the same time.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djulian View Post
I was able to do those things, but for some reason none of the covers are sticking. For a time, I had a cover that stuck, but nothing else (TOC, start) was working. I just can't seem to get all three elements working at the same time.
This might be a Calibre issue, but it's more likely that the guide section is missing entries. BTW, I forgot to mention that Calibre doesn't support the "text" attribute. I.e., you'll have to use the "start" attribute in the guide section:

Code:
<reference href="Text/Chapter1.xhtml" title="Chapter 1" type="start" />
Also right-click in Sigil title page, toc and cover and make sure that each of the pages has the proper semantics attribute.

And finally double-click the .opf file in Sigil and have a look at the actual guide section to make sure that all guide items are present, have the correct attributes and point to the correct pages.

Also try opening the ePub with Kindle Previewer to exclude Calibre issues. (Kindle Previewer will automatically generate a .mobi file.)

If it still doesn't work, copy your complete guide section and post it here.
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:13 PM   #10
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@Doitsu: Thank you for all of your help--I was able to use your advice to get things corrected. Sigil was a huge help, and I've been learning how to work with the OPF file now. My books are coming out correctly (finally!).

Huge K your way!
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