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Old 07-06-2012, 10:45 AM   #1
nathanielrb
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Start Reading not working on Kindle 4

Hi Everyone,

I'm having a problem converting an EPub to Mobi with Kindlegen 2.4.

I'm using the <guide> section to specify the start point. I've tried every combination imaginable, but basically:

<guide>
<reference href="Text/part0001.xhtml" title="Start Reading" type="text" />
<reference href="Text/part0000.xhtml" title="Table Of Contents" type="toc" />
</guide>

The resulting .mobi works on the Kindle Keyboard, but not on Kindle 4: the book opens up in the middle of the TOC (not even in the beginning!).

I unpacked the .mobi, and found that there are TWO "text" elements in the mobi8 EPub:

<guide>
<reference href="Text/part0001.xhtml" title="Start Reading" type="text" />
<reference href="Text/part0000.xhtml" title="Table Of Contents" type="toc" />
<reference href="Text/part0001.xhtml" type="text">
</guide>

Could this be the problem? Or perhaps something else?

Thank you for any ideas!

Nathaniel
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:16 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanielrb View Post
Hi Everyone,

I'm having a problem converting an EPub to Mobi with Kindlegen 2.4.

I'm using the <guide> section to specify the start point. I've tried every combination imaginable, but basically:

<guide>
<reference href="Text/part0001.xhtml" title="Start Reading" type="text" />
<reference href="Text/part0000.xhtml" title="Table of Contents" type="toc" />
</guide>

The resulting .mobi works on the Kindle Keyboard, but not on Kindle 4: the book opens up in the middle of the TOC (not even in the beginning!).

I unpacked the .mobi, and found that there are TWO "text" elements in the mobi8 EPub:

<guide>
<reference href="Text/part0001.xhtml" title="Start Reading" type="text" />
<reference href="Text/part0000.xhtml" title="Table Of Contents" type="toc" />
<reference href="Text/part0001.xhtml" type="text">
</guide>

Could this be the problem? Or perhaps something else?

Thank you for any ideas!

Nathaniel
<guide>
<reference href="Text/part0001.xhtml" title="Start Reading" type="other.start" />
<reference href="Text/part0000.xhtml" title="Table Of Contents" type="toc" />
</guide>

That might work as it's now valid ePub code.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:43 PM   #3
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Code:
<manifest>
        <item href="Text/part0001.xhtml" media-type="application/xhtml+xml"/>
        <item href="Text/part0000.xhtml" media-type="application/xhtml+xml"/>
</manifest>

<guide>
        <reference type="text" title="Beginning" href="Text/part0001.xhtml" />
        <reference type="toc" title="Table Of Contents" href="Text/part0000.xhtml" />
</guide>
Note the use of title="Beginning" rather than title="Start Reading".

Last edited by jswinden; 07-18-2012 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:33 AM   #4
jorbas
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I've been banging my head against this exact problem all morning. Using KindleGen to turn my ePub into a mobi, the file opens fine in the Previewer, goes right to the correct starting page. On the Kindle 4 it will open to a page in the TOC. I have just 2 entries in the guide section:

Code:
<reference type="text" title="Beginning" href="Text/part0001.xhtml" />
<reference type="toc" title="Table of Contents" href="Text/part0000.xhtml" />
After unpacking the mobi however, there is a third:

Code:
<reference type="text" title="Beginning" href="Text/part0001.xhtml" />
<reference type="toc" title="Table of Contents" href="Text/part0000.xhtml" />
<reference type="text" href="Text/part0001.xhtml" />
I've been trying countless different things all morning, many different reference types, different titles, using anchors, the lot and nothing seems to work.
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:45 AM   #5
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You can ignore the extra text reference in the guide. That's just a quirk of mobi_unpack as far as I know. And even if it's not ... well then Kindlegen is introducing it and you can't do much about it anyway. All evidence points to this being a MOBI vs KF8 issue with regard to the handling of the "Start Reading" feature on the latest K4 firmware.

For what it's worth. I've never used anything other than 'title="Start" type="text"' or 'title="Text" type="text"' to mark my desired Start Reading point when using Kindlegen. But I don't have a K4 device to check it on. Also make sure you download the very latest version of the Kindlegen/Previewer (v2.5.1).

Last edited by DiapDealer; 07-24-2012 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:15 PM   #6
nathanielrb
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Thanks everyone for your replies. I've been too busy with other projects but I'll test them soon.
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:51 AM   #7
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Start Offset Workaround

Hi there,

I've been driven nuts for days on this exact problem! My start anchor worked fine in Previewer, but on the actual Kindle device my book opened in the middle of the table of contents. Unusable!

I did some tests and found the .mobi file created by KindleGen within Previewer generated an incorrect start offset placing the start too early compared to the start anchor. I think I have narrowed it down.

It's either a Kindlegen bug or undocumented assumption depending on how generous you're feeling. Kindlegen seems to assume that the table of contents is an external html file NOT part of the main book html file. So it works out its offset startpoint unaware that the TOC is in the way at the top part of the book html. Thus where ever you add a start anchor point the actual start position is offset too high by the height (or number of lines?) of your integrated toc.

Solution = Remove your toc to a seperate html file. So you have

book.opf
book.html
toc.html
toc.ncx

You will need to change your .opf file to reflect this. You can also split your chapters into seperate html files to make it easier to edit.


NOTE : You load the .opf file into Previewer NOT the book.html (that caught me out for a long time too and stops the ncx view and toc working properly even if your code is correct).

Really hope this helps! After days of frustration I have managed to create a perfect eBook with working toc+opf+ncx+cover that works correctly in Previewer AND on a recently purchased Kindle Device.

If I can help any further I will! Cheers

Richard
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:15 AM   #8
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That would make sense. My inline TOC has always been a separate (x)html file. Which would explain why I've never experienced the problem myself.

The official "documentation" is not exactly crystal clear here (or anywhere really), but section 3.3.2 (TOC guideline #2) of the Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines does start with; "Place an HTML page with a table of contents at the beginning of the book". Perhaps it should be taken literally. More evidence that the single-html-file source approach is going the way of the dodo.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:48 AM   #9
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Hi DiapDealer,

Yes, 'add to the beginning of the book' can be taken both ways the start of the main book html, or the start of the book's opf. The fact that the internal toc works in Previewer but not on the device makes me think it's a bug. I think total newbies like me make the mistake of looking at single html templates online which claim to be a solid base to work from.

It would really help if Amazon included a simple bare bones best practice set of files for people to populate themselves without trying to cobble solutions together from all over the internet. A lot of which add problems rather than solving them.

Seems to me like a lot of pain could have been avoided if they could be bothered to write better docs, and include a few simple example files.

Thanks

Richard
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GallopingGames View Post
The fact that the internal toc works in Previewer but not on the device makes me think it's a bug.
I agree.
I'm just glad someone figured out how to work around it.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:41 AM   #11
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I tested uploading an epub directly to the KDP, as others had advised me. It converted fine except for one thing: the Go To / TOC option no longer worked in my Fire. (I don't recall whether I tested it in my K3.) I quick replaced that upload with the underlying html file, and behold! Go To / TOC worked fine again.

I don't use OPF/NCX files except as they may be generated by Sigil.

Would this be a related phenom to what's being discussed here?
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:48 AM   #12
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Thanks again for all the replies. I wish I could have come back to the thread sooner.

In my case GallopingGames' solution doesn't apply, since the ePub in question already had separate html files: cover, toc, title-page, ch1...

When I mark the title page as the "text" element in the guide, the file opens to the middle of the toc. Mark ch2, and it opens somewhere in ch1. Ch12, and it opens in ch10, and so on, with the gap widening to as much as 10 chapters (there are 70-odd chapters in the book).

The only thing that works is putting the toc at the end in the spine, so the files are ordered: cover, title-page, ... where title-page is the desired start point. But that's not what the client wanted.

Nathaniel
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:11 AM   #13
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<div id="start"></div>
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldpilot View Post
<div id="start"></div>
What does that mean? You've mentioned it before. Are you saying that simply putting that code somewhere in the (x)html of an ePub will be enough to define the Start Point?

I just tried putting that snippet at the very beginning of the chapter six html file in one of my epubs (no other Start-related entries in the OPF—no guide section at all, in fact), and when converted with Kindlegen/Previewer it did not open to chapter six. It opens to the first (x)html file.

A little more info please?
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:55 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
What does that mean? You've mentioned it before. Are you saying that simply putting that code somewhere in the (x)html of an ePub will be enough to define the Start Point?
It's the standard in a mobi file, so I've been using it for some years. But as it happens, I like my books to start at the beginning (usually the table of contents), and when I build the epub I also define the Start in Sigil. So perhaps it is, as they say, like whistling to keep the elephants away.
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