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Old 03-26-2016, 12:42 PM   #1
jhowell
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[Conversion Output Plugin] KFX Output

KFX Conversion Output Plugin

The purpose of the KFX Conversion Output plugin is to convert e-books into KFX files that can be sideloaded to newer Kindle apps and devices. This allows books obtained from sources other than Amazon to be read with Enhanced Typesetting and Page Flip.


Background:

Amazon has added support for Enhanced Typesetting and Page Flip to their Kindle devices and apps. Enhanced Typesetting allows improved rendering of e-book content using hyphenation, kerning and ligatures. Page Flip allows easier navigation within a book's contents. Only e-books in the proprietary KFX format support Enhanced Typesetting and Page Flip, and currently only Amazon sourced e-books downloaded directly from Amazon to devices are available in this format. Amazon does not provide a way for Kindle users to convert their own books to KFX format.

Amazon Kindle Previewer 3 is software that takes books in EPUB format and renders them with Enhanced Typesetting. It does this by converting the EPUB file to KDF format, which has the same content as KFX but in a different container. The plugin is able to invoke the Previewer and reformat its output to produce KFX files suitable for sideloading.

The plugin performs the following steps during conversion:
  • Convert from the original e-book format to EPUB.
  • Use the Amazon Kindle Previewer to convert from EPUB to KDF.
  • Repackage the KDF data into a KFX container.

A more in-depth discussion of the KFX format can be found in this thread.


Installation:

The Amazon Kindle Previewer 3 must be installed under the same user account that is being used to run calibre. It is available from http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/?docId=1003018611 for Windows and Mac.

Install the plugin and restart calibre as described in the Introduction to plugins thread.

You can test whether the installation is working by attempting to convert a book that is known to work. One example is this edition of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.


Usage:

The plugin is activated by selecting KFX as the output format when converting books in calibre. The Conversion Output Options tab for KFX output is the same as for EPUB output.

A command line interface is available for advanced users. (See below.)

KFX files created by the plugin must be manually sideloaded (transferred into the target device's storage). The procedure for doing this varies by device type:

Command Line Interface:
Spoiler:

The KFX Output plugin has a command line interface for advanced users.

Code:
usage: calibre-debug -r "KFX Output" -- [-h] [-a ASIN] infile [outfile]

Convert e-book to KFX format.

positional arguments:
  infile                Pathname of the LAST, EPUB, or KPF file to be
                        converted to KFX.
  outfile               Optional pathname of the resulting KFX file.

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -a ASIN, --asin ASIN  Optional ASIN for thumbnail image.
Due to command parsing limitations the infile and outfile names must contain only ASCII characters.


Conversion of the Most Recent Book from the Kindle Previewer GUI

If the infile name ends with a '.last' extension it signals the plugin to locate the most recent file converted by the Kindle Previewer GUI and use that as the source for conversion to KFX. (A file should not actually exist with this name. The '.last' extension is simply used to activate this function.)

This is useful in cases where the plugin fails to function properly within the calibre GUI.

Examples:
Code:
calibre-debug -r "KFX Output" -- anyname.last output.kfx  (Converts most recent book to output.kfx)
calibre-debug -r "KFX Output" -- "my book.last"           (Produces my book.kfx)
Follow these steps to use this function:
  • Open a book using the Kindle Previewer GUI. The Previewer should show a dialog box with "Please wait while Kindle Previewer converts your book into Kindle format" followed by another dialog box with "Your book is successfully converted into Kindle format".
  • If the book opens without showing these dialogs then the Previewer is using a cached copy of the book instead of converting it. In this case, delete the contents of the "My Kindle Books" folder and open the book again in order to force conversion to occur.
  • Verify that the Previewer shows shows "Enhanced Typesetting: Supported" on the book information screen. This is displayed using Ctrl-I or by selecting View->Book Information via the program menu. If it shows "Not Supported", you will be unable to convert it to KFX.
  • Invoke the plugin from a command prompt. For example:
    calibre-debug -r "KFX Output" -- Frankenstein.last


Conversion from EPUB

If an EPUB is used as the infile it will be passed to the Amazon Kindle Previewer for conversion to KPF/KDF and then the result will be repackaged as KFX. This bypasses any manipulation of the EPUB by the calibre conversion pipeline.

Examples:
Code:
calibre-debug -r "KFX Output" -- input.epub output.kfx  (Converts input.epub to output.kfx)
calibre-debug -r "KFX Output" -- "my book.epub"         (Produces my book.kfx)
Conversion from KPF

If a KPF file is used as the infile it is repackaged as KFX.



Limitations:

The KFX format is undocumented. This plugin might sometimes produce incorrectly structured KFX files that could cause a slowdown or crash of your Kindle device or app when sideloaded. Use at your own risk!

Unfortunately, the Amazon Kindle Previewer often fails to convert books and provides no guidance on how to correct the problem when this occurs. Getting a book to convert successfully may require trial and error editing of the source format. If a conversion error occurs the plugin attempts to capture the most relevant error message from temporary log files produced by the Previewer. The error messages produced are cryptic, but better than nothing. View the conversion job log after an error occurs to see the messages produced by the Previewer during conversion.

Some examples of things in the source EPUB that may cause a conversion failure:
  • Incorrect HTML or CSS files. (The calibre editor can often be used to detect and correct these problems.)
  • Tables containing captions or borders.
  • Unusual style properties or values.
  • Obfuscated fonts. (The book will be created, but those fonts will be unusable.)
  • SVG images and other image types with internal errors.
  • Miscellaneous things that trigger bugs in the Previewer software.

Kindle apps will show sideloaded KFX book covers in the thumbnail view, but Kindle devices will only show a generic thumbnail. For books that have an equivalent sold by Amazon, the cover thumbnail of that edition can be used by having the KFX file contain the ASIN of the corresponding book. If the calibre book has an asin or amazon identifier that starts with B then this will be used as the ASIN of the KFX file created.

KFX files produced by this plugin will not contain page numbers because the Kindle Previewer ignores page numbers (NCX pagelist or a page-map.xml) in the source EPUB.

The Page Flip feature shows blank thumbnails for pages far from the current reading point in the Kindle for iOS 5.0 app. Page Flip appears to work properly on Kindle devices.

This plugin has only been tested with Amazon Kindle Previewer 3.0 beta (Feb 6, 2016), 3.1 beta (Mar 22, 2016), and 3.2 beta (May 12, 2016). Older versions of the Previewer are not compatible and newer versions might also not be compatible.

It is unknown whether or not the Kindle Previewer will function under Linux/Wine. This plugin does not currently support that environment.

This plugin only converts from other e-book formats to KFX. It does not convert from KFX to other formats.

KFX files cannot be sent using Send to Kindle by E-mail or using Send to Kindle for PC/Mac. They must manually sideloaded.

The actual sideloading of files onto reading devices is not handled by this plugin.

Sideloaded KFX files will not appear in the device view in calibre.

Firmware version 5.6.5 or later is required for Kindle devices. Some e-book features, such as HTML tables and Page Flip, require firmware 5.7.2 or later for support in KFX.

This plugin requires calibre version 2.0.0 or later.

Version History:
Spoiler:


Version 1.1.2 - 08 Apr 2016

Fix inability to highlight text in converted books on Kindle devices.

Assure author names are in the correct format for sorting.

Allow conversion using the plugin within calibre under Mac OS.

Version 1.1.1 - 30 Mar 2016

Fix error from calibre when the plugin is updated from an older version.

Version 1.1.0 - 30 Mar 2016

Add command line interface for advanced users. This provides a means for Mac users to produce KFX files since conversion within calibre is not currently working under Mac OS.

Version 1.0.0 - 26 Mar 2016

Initial release.

Attached Files
File Type: zip KFX Output.zip (25.0 KB, 4160 views)

Last edited by jhowell; Today at 06:21 PM. Reason: update documentation
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:49 PM   #2
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Dealing with conversion errors

The plugin invokes a conversion function within the Amazon Kindle Previewer to do most of its work. The Previewer is very finicky about the contents of the input EPUB and often fails when something unexpected is encountered. When this occurs an error dialog box will pop up in calibre.

Some typical Previewer error messages are:

Quote:
ERROR: KFX conversion failed: Kindle Previewer error: [[STYLE_COMBINATION,SECTION,display:block,line-height:[1.0->5.0]]]
This indicates that the value of the "line-height" property was rejected by the Previewer.

Quote:
ERROR: KFX conversion failed: Kindle Previewer error: Error(YJConvValidator):E120013: Converting File: C:\Users\John\AppData\Local\Temp\calibre_y_igz6\ib at74\1x57ve167umeipdgdf2p\results\conv_tmp\qnyte_. epub; Data table found in the book
This indicates that an HTML table in the book contained disallowed formatting such as borders or a caption.

Quote:
ERROR: KFX conversion failed: Kindle Previewer error: # EXCEPTION_ACCESS_VIOLATION (0xc0000005) at pc=0x5823466b, pid=7664, tid=5816

ERROR: KFX conversion failed: Kindle Previewer error: java.lang.NullPointerException

ERROR: KFX conversion failed: Kindle Previewer error: Exception in thread "main" com.amazon.kcfpositionmapcreator.d.b: ErrorCode: CONTENT_MISMATCH, ErrorMessage:Not exact match - YJ=ContentFormat:YJCANONICAL, ContentType:TEXT, TextChar:A at md pos 65,Mobi=ContentFormat:MOBI8, ContentType:TEXT, TextChar:. at 1832

ERROR: KFX conversion failed: Kindle Previewer error: Exception in thread "main" java.lang.Exception: Unable to convert the file: C:\Users\John\AppData\Local\Temp\calibre_y_igz6\bu g8n6\jct6wpojk2r4x04k5avg\results\conv_tmp\6xsra_. epub
These just indicate that the Previewer crashed in some way and are not very useful in determining the cause of the problem. Often there is nothing actually wrong with the source EPUB. The Previewer has bugs.

--

When Previewer errors occur it can be a tedious trial-and-error process to get a book to convert to KFX. One procedure is to use the calibre editor to selectively remove pieces of the source book until conversion is successful. This will narrow down what part of the book the Previewer is choking on.

A more detailed log is kept for each conversion. This can be useful when diagnosing conversion errors.

To access the log, either click on the "Jobs: 0" label in the lower right corner of the calibre window or use the Alt-Shift-J keyboard shortcut to activate the Jobs dialog. Select the failed conversion job from the list (the most recent will be first) and click the "Show job details" button. To copy the log to the clipboard under Windows, click within the log text then press Ctrl-A (select all) and Ctrl-C (copy). You can then paste it wherever you like.

You can test whether or not the plugin/Previewer combination is working properly by trying to convert a book that is known to work. One example is this edition of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

If a conversion fails and you feel that it may be caused by a problem with the plugin itself, rather than the Kindle Previewer, please report it in this thread along with the associated error message and log. If posting log contents please enclose it in [spoiler]...[/spoiler] tags.

Last edited by jhowell; 03-28-2016 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 03-28-2016, 03:28 AM   #3
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Thank you! You're a genius and inspire me to search and regain faith and trust in humanity. God bless!

...

but what IS funny is that the okugin seems to have more success converting .kfx than the previewer itself! Go figure. Why is that?!?

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Old 03-28-2016, 08:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerem0ny View Post
but what IS funny is that the okugin seems to have more success converting .kfx than the previewer itself! Go figure. Why is that?!?
The first step in the conversion process is to convert the source format to EPUB, even if the book is already in EPUB format. This process can fix some things that would otherwise cause the Previewer to fail.

For example, the Previewer fails if the source EPUB does not have UTF-8 character encoding. The initial conversion step automatically converts other encodings to UTF-8.
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Old 03-28-2016, 11:12 AM   #5
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Here's the log from my failed attempt:
Attached Files
File Type: txt kfx log.txt (23.8 KB, 49 views)
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Old 03-28-2016, 01:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
Here's the log from my failed attempt: ...
There isn't much I can tell from it. The Previewer's conversion routine, which runs under a Java installation included with the Previewer, somehow failed to launch. There is nothing in the log to indicate why. I can't tell if the problem is specific to Windows 7 or your particular PC.

I'll try to think of a way to have the plugin gather more information on this type of failure. In the mean time I have some questions to help diagnose the problem:
  • Were there any other error messages displayed on your system when the conversion failed? If so, what?
  • Have you used the Kindle Previewer to verify that it functions properly on your system? You could try opening this book and verifying that it displays with Enhanced Typesetting (hyphenation) in the Previewer. Press Ctrl-I after opening the book in the Previewer and make sure that the information dialog shows "Enhanced Typesetting: Supported".
  • If you are running an anti-virus program could you try disabling it before launching a conversion to see if that helps?
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Old 03-28-2016, 03:10 PM   #7
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Hi. I registered only for this.

First: thank you SO much for doing this!

Sadly I tried using your plugin with the latest version of calibre and Kindle previewer 3 on my mac but i got an error message and the conversion failed.
here is the log: http://pastebin.com/uUhqQWny
I'm not using any antivirus that could interfere.

It crashed with the Frankenstein book you linked. Later I tried to import the book in kindle previewer and got the "Enhanced Typesetting: Supported" message, so this seems to work.

Thank you again for your work!
Antonio

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Old 03-28-2016, 05:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amordechai View Post
Sadly I tried using your plugin with the latest version of calibre and Kindle previewer 3 on my mac but i got an error message and the conversion failed.
I was not able to test the plugin under Mac OS so it is not surprising that it failed to work.

I had to make some guesses about where files are located in the Mac version of the Previewer and I guessed wrong. I will have a new version of the plugin ready in a day or two that may fix the problem. Please post a new log if the new version of the plugin still fails for you.

Thanks for your error report.
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Old 03-28-2016, 06:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhowell View Post
There isn't much I can tell from it. The Previewer's conversion routine, which runs under a Java installation included with the Previewer, somehow failed to launch. There is nothing in the log to indicate why. I can't tell if the problem is specific to Windows 7 or your particular PC.

I'll try to think of a way to have the plugin gather more information on this type of failure. In the mean time I have some questions to help diagnose the problem:
  • Were there any other error messages displayed on your system when the conversion failed? If so, what?
  • Have you used the Kindle Previewer to verify that it functions properly on your system? You could try opening this book and verifying that it displays with Enhanced Typesetting (hyphenation) in the Previewer. Press Ctrl-I after opening the book in the Previewer and make sure that the information dialog shows "Enhanced Typesetting: Supported".
  • If you are running an anti-virus program could you try disabling it before launching a conversion to see if that helps?
The converter works, yes, and it did make a couple ebooks with the enhancements. I saw the hyphenation.

Then it asked me to update to 3.1, which I did.

After that I ran the plugin again in calibre, and this time it told me that KindleImageConverter failed (twice, on one job).

And then, on the next try, it converted the ebook which had failed 4 times already.

So now it is working - sorta.
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Old 03-28-2016, 11:12 PM   #10
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How can I use the Amazon Kindle Previewer to convert from EPUB to KDF, when I open the EPUB via Kindle Previewer, it convert it to Mobi format. I have not seen any convert options to KDF.
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Old 03-28-2016, 11:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alice Green View Post
How can I use the Amazon Kindle Previewer to convert from EPUB to KDF, when I open the EPUB via Kindle Previewer, it convert it to Mobi format. I have not seen any convert options to KDF.
The easiest way is to do it via calibre.

But to be clear, that "Mobi" file you just made isn't just a Mobi file. Did you notice how it is several times the size of the Epub you started with? That's because it actually contains several different ebooks, including the original Epub, Mobi, and the new KFX.
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Old 03-29-2016, 03:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhowell View Post
I was not able to test the plugin under Mac OS so it is not surprising that it failed to work.

I had to make some guesses about where files are located in the Mac version of the Previewer and I guessed wrong. I will have a new version of the plugin ready in a day or two that may fix the problem. Please post a new log if the new version of the plugin still fails for you.

Thanks for your error report.
I wil definitely try the new version of the plugin and report back.

Thanks for your work!
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Old 03-29-2016, 04:59 AM   #13
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Wish I kept my Aura H2O! Can't remember any problems with the typography but this conversion process is so hit and miss, it's annoying! Props for the plugin however
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Old 03-29-2016, 08:41 AM   #14
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Azw3

if you use the book "Azw3", you can convert the book in KFX always. Sorry for my English, I'm Italian.
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Old 03-29-2016, 10:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
And then, on the next try, it converted the ebook which had failed 4 times already.
So now it is working - sorta.
Conversion by the plugin is dependent on Amazon's Kindle Previewer working properly and Amazon didn't do a very good job of with that software. For me it fails on more books than it works, but it does work or fail consistently on any particular book.

I don't know why it functions inconsistently for you and presumably others. It may be due to a bug in the plugin, but since I can't duplicate the problem I am unable to diagnose it further at the moment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alice Green View Post
How can I use the Amazon Kindle Previewer to convert from EPUB to KDF, when I open the EPUB via Kindle Previewer, it convert it to Mobi format. I have not seen any convert options to KDF.
You do not need to locate the KDF files created by the Kindle Previewer to make use of the KFX Output plugin. It invokes the conversion function of the Previewer and uses the resulting KDF file automatically. But for those interested, I will describe more of how it works.

After opening a book with the Kindle Previewer you will usually see a dialog box with the message "Your book successfully converted into Kindle format" with a link to a folder containing all of the MOBI files produced by the Previewer. This message is a bit misleading since it doesn't let you know whether or not allowing Enhanced Typesetting succeeded for that book.

The Previewer generates a KDF file for each book, but only if it succeeds at converting it for Enhanced Typesetting. To tell if this was successful you need to check the book information screen using Ctrl-I or by selecting View->Book Information via the program menu. If this shows "Enhanced Typesetting: Supported" then a KDF file was produced. If it show "Not Supported" then it failed to produced the KDF.

The KDF file will be in a recently created subdirectory of your TEMP directory. A different random subdirectory is used for each book. You need to locate the one created at the time that you opened your book in the Previewer. For example, on my Windows PC the TEMP directory is "C:\Users\John\AppData\Local\Temp" and I can find the most recently converted book within it named "145a-0754-be2f-1d6e\book\book.kdf".
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