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Old 01-25-2012, 07:39 AM   #1
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Old Mobi format broken in latest Kindle for Android.

The current (3.3.2) and just previous updates to Kindle Reader for Android have broken support for the Mobipocket format as it was prior to Amazon buying Mobipocket and releasing the original Kindle device.

IIRC, there's an asterisk where a dollar sign used to be, that's pretty much the difference between the two file formats.

The books show up in the list but try to open one and the app will either force close or it opens to location -1 of 1 and there's no text or images, just a blank screen.

The latest version I've been able to find that *doesn't* have this problem is 3.2.0.35

I *could* run over 200 books through some program to tweak the little change that's all the difference there is between pre and post Kindle Mobipocket format - but it would be far better to get Amazon to undo whatever it is they've changed which broke this.

(I checked and I have 218 old format Mobi books on my Samsung Epic 4G. 218 books Amazon has rendered unreadable with their last two updates to their android app!)

Some publishers, like Baen, still have large numbers of Mobipocket books in their catalogs that have not yet been updated to the Kindle format version.

Were I one of those publishers, I'd be complaining to Amazon- because I'd certainly be getting complaints from customers about being unable to open older books on the latest release of the Kindle app for Android. (I sent an e-mail to Baen yesterday explaining the problem and where the fault lies, with Amazon.)

To see what happens, get one of the Mobipocket books from one of the older CDs at baencd.thefifthimperium.com The old format ones have a .PRC extension. The new format ones have the .mobi extension and work properly with any Mobipocket or Kindle software.

If you've never checked out the Baen Free Library, or Baen ebooks, that publisher has included CD-ROMs in several hardcover editions and allows all the content of those discs to be freely distributed in all the formats Baen offers. The site linked above has all the contents of all the CD-ROMs, 100% free and legal.

Last edited by bizzybody; 01-25-2012 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:53 AM   #2
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I'd suggest just converting them with Calibre. Far easier than waiting for Amazon to fix the problem.

Baen now seem to have converted all their old files to the modern Mobi format, by the way. The old format is not terribly good, since it doesn't have any metadata other than the book title.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:06 AM   #3
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Ugh. I really dislike Calibre. There are other programs capable of fixing the book files.

The irritating thing is something like this should not happen. If Amazon was planning to not support the old Mobi format then it never should have been supported in the Android app. If this is planned and not a bug, then it's a half-arsed way of going about it where the books are still visible in the app but can't be opened properly.

Amazon is not Apple! They don't get to take features away from a product and have their customers applaud instead of complain. There's nobody at Amazon with a reality distortion field.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:24 AM   #4
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Do as you wish of course. The suggestion to use Calibre was merely that: a suggestion.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:27 AM   #5
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IIRC, there's an asterisk where a dollar sign used to be, that's pretty much the difference between the two file formats.
Well count me as confused. I remember a DRM PID problem that had to do with dollar signs and asterisks and such (and the resultant script to patch that issue), but that didn't have anything to do with the file format itself.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:36 AM   #6
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Well count me as confused. I remember a DRM PID problem that had to do with dollar signs and asterisks and such (and the resultant script to patch that issue), but that didn't have anything to do with the file format itself.
I'm not at all sure this is correct. The old Mobi format was very different to the current one. For one thing, the PRC tags (the two four-character strings near the start of the file that identify the file contents) are completely different: for the old format they are "TEXt", "REAd"; for current Mobi files they are "BOOK", "MOBI".
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:00 AM   #7
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Interesting info. Whatever the difference, the old format is broken in the current Kindle app for Android.
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:02 AM   #8
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I've just checked, and it still works in the current "Kindle for PC", so whatever change was made doesn't affect all the apps.
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:09 AM   #9
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I'm not at all sure this is correct. The old Mobi format was very different to the current one. For one thing, the PRC tags (the two four-character strings near the start of the file that identify the file contents) are completely different: for the old format they are "TEXt", "REAd"; for current Mobi files they are "BOOK", "MOBI".
Ah yes, I'm familiar with the older TEXtREAd ebooks. I'm just trying to get a handle on what dollar signs and asterisks have to do with rendering/not-rendering the PRCs. I don't have anything android to test on... so I'm just rather curious.

I know a lot of newer Amazon MOBIs have an empty Palm Database Name.
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:12 AM   #10
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Ah yes, I'm familiar with the older TEXtREAd ebooks. I'm just trying to get a handle on what dollar signs and asterisks have to do with rendering/not-rendering the PRCs. I don't have anything android to test on... so I'm just rather curious.
I suspect the OP may have been getting confused by the issue that affected the old Mobi DRM removal script when the Kindle came along. IIRC (and I may not be), the Kindle had a "*" is its Mobi PID which broke the script.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:38 PM   #11
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I've just checked, and it still works in the current "Kindle for PC", so whatever change was made doesn't affect all the apps.
"Current" for Mobi reader on Windows or anything that's not Kindle devices, iPhone or Android is way old. Hasn't been updated since shortly after Amazon bought Mobipocket.

The only way new bugs can happen in those programs is if Amazon ever decides they will get new versions released, which isn't likely to happen.
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:24 AM   #12
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"Current" for Mobi reader on Windows or anything that's not Kindle devices, iPhone or Android is way old. Hasn't been updated since shortly after Amazon bought Mobipocket.

The only way new bugs can happen in those programs is if Amazon ever decides they will get new versions released, which isn't likely to happen.
I was talking about Kindle for PC, not Mobi Reader. K4PC is frequently updated.
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