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Old 11-14-2010, 01:15 AM   #1
Tychocaine
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Kindle Formatting - Setting the opening/first page of eBook

Hello all,

I'm not sure if this belongs in the sigil forum, but it's a Kindle specific issue so I thought this was the best place... apologies if it should be somewhere else.

Can anyone provide any advice on how the kindle determines which page of a book to start on, the first time the book is opened? As in when you are formatting your book in sigil or notepad or whatever, how do you ensure the kindle will open it to a specific page?

Originally I thought it would automatically open to the TOC if you had one flagged, and it does that with most of the books I have, but there are a couple that open on the dedication or title page, and I can't seem to change that.

I've tried the <a name="start"> tag but it doesn't seem to make a difference.

(and I noticed that for some reason Sigil changes it to <a id="start"> nomatter what I do, so I ended up editing it with notepad but it still didn't make a difference).

Can anyone offer any suggestions or point me to a resource that would help?
I've read all the amazon PDFs and I couldn't find anything about it.
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:54 AM   #2
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The initial starting point is determined by a <reference type="start"> entry in the OPF. See the Mobipocket developer file format guide for details.

Also, welcome to MobileRead!
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:01 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply ATDrake, that's exactly what I was after.

I'm using Sigil (which doesn't seem to allow you to set a start page) and when I unzip my ePub files and edit the OPF there's no start item in the guide.

I added one manually and reinserted it into the ePub and it worked fine. I was using the Kindle Previewer to convert to MOBI and I guess it was adding the start tag to one of the pages using some kind of internal best guess method when it does the conversion.

Do you know if there's an easier way to edit the OPF data for an ePub file without unzipping it?
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:09 AM   #4
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Not unless someone writes a an app that will let you browse inside a zipped archive, edit a selected file, and rezip back up while keeping the ePub's structure intact. Perhaps Calibre's explode command will do this, though I'm not sufficiently familiar with using it to say for sure.

I don't use Sigil myself, but perhaps it's possible to somehow manually edit the OPF it produces before generating the final zipped ePub?
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:35 AM   #5
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Ok one last question.
(and thanks for the help so far and warm welcomes!).

I've been adding the START tag to the guide sections of my epubs before I convert them to MOBI and most of them seem to be working fine. However I have 2 ebooks that keep opening to a blank page... I can't work out why, but somehow when I convert them from ePub to MOBI a blank page is being added in before my flagged start page...

does anyone know what might be causing this and how I can get around it?
I've already checked all the HTML code to make sure there's no page or chapter breaks...
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:24 PM   #6
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I've had the same problem from time to time. I can't figure it out either.
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:54 PM   #7
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What can't you figure out?
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:36 AM   #8
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Bumping this thread...

hi -

i'm new to this, so excuse my ignorance! i googled a solution to this issue (mobi file i'm converting from ePub insists on opening at the last page, on Kindle and in Kindle Previewer).

i applied reference type="start" to the appropriate page entry in the <guide>, and just opened newly-created mobi in Previewer - to the last page

so - first issue: it doesn't seem to have worked.

then, i rechecked the Mobipocket guide linked to above, and saw that in then it talks about setting reference type="start" for books like Dictionaries to force it to *only* open at this page, because you don't want it to return to the last open page... so if this spec is correct, this is not the solution to the OP's (or mine) problem.

we want to know: how do you set the *initial* opening page of a mobi on Kindle (assuming that all subsequent openings will return the reader to the last open page).

anybody have a solution?

many thanks,
j

Last edited by jigme; 03-31-2011 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:43 AM   #9
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In the <guide> section of the opf file, add an entry like this:

<reference title="Start" type="text" href="Book.html#startpos" />

Obviously, replace Book.html#startpos with the appropriate href for the start of text in your book. Note that although the title is "Start", the type is "text".
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:20 AM   #10
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great, thanks!
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