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Old 03-04-2011, 08:44 PM   #1
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Inactive TOC on a Kindle-3?

Can anyone advise me why MOBI files that I have self-compiled never contain a Table of Contents? I am using Calbre to compile books from multiple html files, and the first page is always named index.html and contains the hand-made TOC completely surrounded by the ul tag with id=”TOC” correctly shown – a ul tag is never used with this id anywhere else. I use the Calibre TOC-identify Wizard for converting that into the regular expression //h:ul[re:test(@id, "TOC", "i")] which looks correct to me, and it displays correctly in the Calibre Reader simulator, but NONE of my books appear to have a TOC when viewed on my Kindle-3. All other books DO have a TOC, accessible from Menu / Goto.... Table of Contents.

What am I doing wrong here?

As a side issue: this is probably a preferential thing, but why do ebook Reader “simulators” such as the one supplied with Calbre, always open new book files on the cover, while the Kindle always skips the cover and opens on the first nominated content page. I would prefer all books to open on the cover.
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Old 03-05-2011, 06:31 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lindsayw View Post
As a side issue: this is probably a preferential thing, but why do ebook Reader “simulators” such as the one supplied with Calbre, always open new book files on the cover, while the Kindle always skips the cover and opens on the first nominated content page. I would prefer all books to open on the cover.
The Calibre ebook Reader app is not a simulator - it is simply an epub reader app. If you try any other format then Calibre first converts to epub and then loads the results into the calibre reader app.

If you want a genuine simulator then you need to use one that is designed to fulfil that role. I know that Amazon (Kindle) and B&N (nook provide such simulators, and I think a number of other suppliers od ereader hardware do so as well.
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Old 03-05-2011, 06:22 PM   #3
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I may be able answer my own question... I discovered that, in addition to setting the regular expression for locating the TOC information, it is necessary to also change the Calibre settings under the “MOBI Output” sidebar option. I un-ticked “Do not add Table of Contents to book” and gave the TOC a name (Contents), AND THEN it appeared on my Kindle-3, although several chapter files appeared twice, and out of sequence, so it’s still not right. Calibre is “finding” stuff incorrectly.
However, in my case, since my index page already has a Table of Contents, I should probably NOT activate the compiled TOC, and the TOC option under Goto... should remain greyed out. Goto... Beginning is essentially the same thing anyway. Goto... Cover works fine.

But I’m still curious as to why books do not open on the cover?
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Old 03-05-2011, 06:51 PM   #4
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Me too - I think previously unread books should open on the cover... One more reason I'm happy that I didn't buy a Kindle

On your other issue, you might want to check out this link
http://amalthia.mediawood.net/tutorials/ebooks/toc.html

It's the Calibre help page about TOCs - the general recommendation seems to be that you shouldn't go to the effort of making a TOC - Just mark up the chapter headings and let Calibre take care of it. This is the way I do it - and it works great - mind you, I make epubs for my Sony.

Good luck with your editing
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Old 03-06-2011, 01:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by lindsayw View Post

But I’m still curious as to why books do not open on the cover?
kindle design "feature" - to see the cover - open book at page 1 then navigate left.

or, if you must, add a 2nd cover image to page 1 that should fool it.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:17 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by fan of kovid View Post
http://amalthia.mediawood.net/tutorials/ebooks/toc.html

It's the Calibre help page about TOCs - [...]
No, it's not. It's a tutorial someone wrote. The Calibre help pages can be found at http://calibre-ebook.com/user_manual/, the page relevant to TOC creation is here.

Note: I'm not saying that tutorial is bad or the official Calibre resources are better- I haven't even read the tutorial. It's just that, should you have praise/criticism towards that site, you shouldn't contact the developers, but rather the person who wrote that tutorial.
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Old 03-06-2011, 05:13 AM   #7
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Hi LindsayW, and welcome to MobileRead.

The problem you're encountering re the Kindle not linking to your inline TOC in its "Go To..." menu is because the Kindle needs a pointer to the location of the inline TOC. Calibre only inserts that into the MOBI file when you set Calibre to generate a TOC from the book content - it then inserts the required pointer, but pointing to the TOC it generated. As far as I know, there isn't any way to get Calibre to create the required pointer to point to the TOC you've already created at the beginning of the book.

You can create a book with your own customised inline TOC and the required pointer to that, so that Kindle will link to it in its "Go To..." menu. However in order to do that, you need to create an OPF file to accompany the HTML files used to build the book, and include that in the package you zip up and import into Calibre. That OPF file can include the required GUIDE item pointing to the location of the inline TOC, which will then become the required pointer in the MOBI file, and the Kindle will link to the TOC in its "Go To..." menu.

If you don't want to have to hand code an OPF file for each book, an alternative route that you might consider would be to use Sigil, first, to create an EPUB from your HTML files - as you put the book together in Sigil, and use the TOC editor (that creates the "logical" NCX TOC from the headings (h1, h2, etc) in the book content) and metadata facilities in Sigil, it will create the NCX and OPF files as part of the EPUB. If you keep your inline TOC in its own HTML file, you can designate that as the inline TOC in Sigil, and it will create the appropriate GUIDE item in the OPF file. Then, import the EPUB into Calibre, and convert it into a MOBI file. That way, you can use the TOC you created for the book, and also have the Kindle link to it in the "Go To..." menu.
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
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On your other issue, you might want to check out this link
http://amalthia.mediawood.net/tutorials/ebooks/toc.html

It's the Calibre help page about TOCs ...
No, it's not. It's a tutorial someone wrote. The Calibre help pages can be found at http://calibre-ebook.com/user_manual/, the page relevant to TOC creation is here.
It may not be calibre's official TOC page or hosted on Calibre's site, but Calibre's help page does link to this set of tutorials of which the TOC tutorial linked to above is part of this tutorial set.

Last edited by DoctorOhh; 03-06-2011 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:43 AM   #9
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TOC Tutorials

@Manichean

Yes you're quite right - it's not "the" help page or even "the" tutorial - as you pointed out it's "a" tutorial - my mistake As dwanthny pointed out I found it through a link from Calibre's help page - hence my confusion.

That being said, it is an excellent introduction to creating TOCs with Calibre - even if it does discourage the use of inline TOCs.

It does also show screen shots (outdated, but still useful), illustrating the specific way to get the thing done. For the purpose of getting started, I find that a few alternative perspectives can be more useful, than sticking to a single approach - that you didn't understand in the first place

I hadn't intended to offer praise or criticism to anyone - my intention was only to point the OP towards something that might help.
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Old 03-06-2011, 12:11 PM   #10
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I hadn't intended to offer praise or criticism to anyone - my intention was only to point the OP towards something that might help.
I was being proactively, nitpickingly cautious And I didn't notice that the site in question was linked through the Calibre homepage. (Still, it's not the official documentation, but all in all, my bad.)
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:24 PM   #11
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:42 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Donna
You can create a book with your own customised inline TOC and the required pointer to that, so that Kindle will link to it in its "Go To..." menu.
Wow! That's what I've been looking for, and I'm quite comfortable editing files, so I will experiment with just ONE of my novels ( I made the mistake of trying to prepare all 9 of them at once in MOBI format, so I won't do THAT again! ). All this editing at least keeps me off the streets... Thank you, Donna.

Can anyone advise on WHERE in the contents.opf file the extra info must be added?
I have inserted:
<guide>
<reference type="toc" title="Contents" href="index.html" />
</guide>
...but immediately AFTER the end of the <manifest> entries. It doesn't work, and I don't have any examples I can study to get a good handle on this.

Could it be because Calibre is not looking for a contents.opf file when compiling in MOBI format?

Last edited by lindsayw; 03-08-2011 at 02:16 AM.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:13 AM   #13
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This might not be helpful, but the only way I've found to consistently get a TOC in a mobi for Kindle via Calibre is to use Sigil to make an epub first from the source files, then convert that to a mobi via Calibre.

Build the TOC in that using the header tools (basically put <h3> around each chapter instead of using your own inline one. Takes less than 5 minutes.

You can sometimes get it to work the other way, but it seems more like voodoo than anything I can figure out...(mobi just seems to be a weird format to work with).
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
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...is to use Sigil to make an epub first...
Thanks, Jeremy, you echo what Donna posted before and, since I'm new at this, I'd better take stock and investigate downloading Sigil ... at least the contents.opf and toc.ncx files I have now made might be recognized by Sigil – Calibre just ignores them, but it seems to do a good enough job converting from other formats. I might have one crack at getting Calibre to make an ePub first, then convert that to MOBI, to try and force it to accept the extra files.

I wish the Kindle could read ePubs but I guess that Amazon has its own proprietary reasons not to support anything but their own format, no matter how miopic a view that may seem to external punters like us, and MOBI is the right format to go there.

Thanks everyone, for helping me out here and, with any luck, Amazon might be persuaded that a firmware upgrade for the Kindle is needed. Perhaps not for ePub support, but possibly for opening un-read books on the cover page, it surely wouldn't hurt their market position to fall into line there.

...ONE HOUR LATER: OK, that works. Set Calibre by default to make an ePub during all the file importing phase, then go in and edit all the details, page layout, metadata, etc... then convert all that to MOBI. Something is still not quite right, though, I am getting a proper TOC on the Kindle but the progress bar doesn't have any NavPoint "ticks". That will probably be some typo or omission in the toc.ncx file, since they are clearly marked up there. Another Kindle-ism, I fear.

Last edited by lindsayw; 03-08-2011 at 06:34 PM. Reason: adding postscript
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:48 AM   #15
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nav point ticks are generated from <h2> tags, not from the TOC, it seems.So if your chapter headers have those, then you should get 5 way navi button skips and chapter ticks on Kindle.
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