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Old 04-27-2012, 01:55 PM   #1
Steve Polansky
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Kindle Previewer reliability?

Hello,
I hope this is the proper forum for my question. If it's not, my apologies and if someone could point me toward the correct forum it'd be appreciated.

The set up - I've created an epub (exported from Indesign5.5) and converted to mobi using Calibre. Viewed with Kindle Previewer and Kindle for PC, my 'ebook' appears to display acceptably (no error messages, no bizarre formatting). Unfortunately, I don't own a Kindle nor can I access one to 'test drive' my 'Book.mobi'.

The question - is what I'm seeing with the Kindles (previewer and pc) in fact what it'll look like on a real Kindle?

Thanks in advance,
Steve
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Old 04-27-2012, 03:18 PM   #2
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...
The question - is what I'm seeing with the Kindles (previewer and pc) in fact what it'll look like on a real Kindle?...
Yes (pretty much) and no.

Yes to what you're seeing in Kindle Previewer and No to what you are seeing in Kindle for PC. Viewing in the latter is only a test for what the book will look like in that app. The Kindle Preview is a very good, but not perfect, proofing app for the way the book will render on Kindle devices.

Note that Kindle Previewer, currently v2.4, has a Device menu to select the class of device it is to replicate. You should preview your book in both the "Kindle Fire" mode and "Kindle" mode. The latter approximating the rendering on the 6" B&W eInk Kindles. It would also be advisable to checkout the book in the iPad and iPhone modes as these preview the rendering of the Kindle app for those devices.
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:52 PM   #3
Steve Polansky
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Thank you dwig, I suspected the Kindle for PC might not be useful for my purpose.

I use Previewer's Device menu constantly to check the Kindle/Kindle Fire modes. Didn't realize I should also be previewing the iPad and IPhone... thanks for that as well.

Cheers,
Steve
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Polansky View Post
Thank you dwig, I suspected the Kindle for PC might not be useful for my purpose.

I use Previewer's Device menu constantly to check the Kindle/Kindle Fire modes. Didn't realize I should also be previewing the iPad and IPhone... thanks for that as well.

Cheers,
Steve
Hi, Steve:

Previewer 2.4 is great, but a teeny-weeny bit buggy. We have found display differences, albeit minor, between the Previewer and file actually uploaded to legacy Kindle devices, dealing mostly with left-margin styling classes and vertical spacing--so keep this in mind when you are using these styles (and I can't warrant that this is everything). You may want to try to snag a used K-2 just for double-checking. I know it's a PITA, believe me--but you might want to try it.

HTH,
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:26 PM   #5
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Hi Hitch,

Left margin(s) (specifically, trying to get them to behave) has been a major PITA from the start. I've pretty much given up any hope seeing more than a 'default' margin in the finished work. As for vertical spacing, again... it's been an ongoing guessing game if what I'm seeing will bear any resemblance to the finally converted and uploaded file.

Thanks for the heads up.
I'll see if I can't find a Kindle. A used one shouldn't be too hard to find.
Cheers,
Steve
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:26 AM   #6
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...Previewer 2.4 is great, but a teeny-weeny bit buggy. We have found display differences, albeit minor, between the Previewer and file actually uploaded to legacy Kindle devices, dealing mostly with left-margin styling classes and vertical spacing...
I've seen errors in Previewer's handling of Locations and the Progress Bar at the bottom of the screen. When in the "Kindle" mode where the Progress Bar is visible its indication of position in the book is always? incorrect.

Also the Locations differ between the "Kindle" and "Kindle Fire" modes even though Locations should match in all Kindle devices and apps. I've yet to test which Location numbers match my K3 device.
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:35 PM   #7
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So... Previewer 'works', with the exception of all the exceptions??

How is it that this entire 'manuscript to kindle' process is so frustratingly inexact? and why is it tolerated? Surely getting an html page to display properly on a hand held device can't be this hard.
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Old 04-29-2012, 06:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Polansky View Post
So... Previewer 'works', with the exception of all the exceptions??

How is it that this entire 'manuscript to kindle' process is so frustratingly inexact? and why is it tolerated? Surely getting an html page to display properly on a hand held device can't be this hard.
Steve:

Sure it is. You think this is fun? Wait until you try making ePUBs, if you're not already--that will make creating and testing Kindle books look like "the good old days." I mean, in fairness to Amazon--Previewer is trying to show what a K7 will look like on, what, 8 different devices now? (With html 3.2) Plus One K8 device, plus 3 different apps running on different OS's (Fire, Droid, and K4PC/Mac), not to mention K4iPhone/iPad, which is two more (which are HTML 4.x and 5, respectively, and just for s&g's, plus CSS2 for the 8 and none for the 7). If you're making pop-up text kids' books, (Fire Fixed-Format), now you add a dash of CSS3, with a little sumpin-sumpin' JS thrown in, if you're feeling very Conan the Barbarian about your skillset. It feels a teensy-weensy bit unfair to expect one Previewer to accommodate all that flawlessly. All things considered, I think it does a reasonable, although, agreed, imperfect, job.

When you get to ePUBs, the fun really starts: you think you know how to center plain old stuff, like text or images? HA! You DON'T, just ask Apple. Think you know how to make a heading work, for a sub-header or chapter header? HA! Wait until you see it on a Nook, particularly if you, foolish puny human, tried to use a Raised Initial with smallcaps. BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!! Think ADE of FFReader will remotely reliably show you what you've created, on a KOBO? Nyet, Comrade Bookmaker. Ve Haff Vays to Make You Suffer. And there's no such thing as a Global ePUB Previewer, despite the fact that most of us use ADE as such--the simpler the layout, the easier the final resolution of conforming the copies--but it's never truly EASY, unless it's just plain-old, plain-old vanilla fiction, and even then, if you used something as simple as a drop-cap, man your battle stations.

Trust me, I have a table, right next to my desk that's 3' x 3', and it's covered with...devices. iThis and iThat and several Kindles and Nooks and a few tablets, just for good measure. I didn't buy them for fun, I truly didn't (although I like reading on both the Fire and the NookColor, FWIW).

(Aren't you glad I answered you?)

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