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Old 05-04-2016, 04:59 PM   #1
intrstngtimes
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epub converted to mobi won't start in right place

Hello,

I've searched the forums previously and while some people encountered the same issue, I couldn't find a solution that worked for me. I've created an epub, but when I upload it to my KDP dashboard and then download the mobi file it generates, it won't open to the correct Start location in the Kindle for PC app. It does respect my start location (the first chapter) if I look at it in the Kindle Previewer program in "Kindle Voyage" mode...but for some reason, Kindle for PC insists on opening the book at the Table of Contents instead : (

Any idea why this is happening? I followed the Amazon KDP instructions re adding the following tag:

Code:
<a name="Start">Start location here</a>
...and again, Kindle Previewer respects it, but Kindle for PC doesn't. Any idea how I can fix this problem?

Here's the info from my content.opf file (all I've changed is identifying info about the book; everything else is the same):

Code:
  <guide>
    <reference href="titlepage.xhtml" title="Cover" type="cover"/>
    <reference href="MyBookTitle_split_002.html#calibre_toc_3" title="Start" type="text"/>
    <reference href="contents.xhtml" title="Table of Contents" type="toc"/>
  </guide>
...and here's the code from the first chapter file:

Code:
<a id="calibre_toc_3"><span class="hidden">Chapter I</span></a>
So...do I need to add something else to the <guide> code? Kindle for PC's "Go to" function is also landing in the wrong place - if I click "Beginning", instead of going to Chapter 1, it opens at my front matter Copyright page.

If it makes a difference, I also included the following when I first converted the html file in Calibre:

Code:
Start reading at (XPath expression)
//h:a[re:test(@name, "Start", "i")]
Should I have left that blank instead?

Again, if there's any way I can fix this problem, please let me know.
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Old 05-04-2016, 06:00 PM   #2
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Supposedly the KDP will unpredictably reset the SRL to whatever they feel like.
If you convert it using Amazon's KindleGen or Kindle Previewer, it will respect the SRL you set -- then upload the resulting KindleGenned mobi to the KDP and it will automagically break!

...

This isn't really a calibre problem or an issue with calibre's conversion (in fact you indicate that you haven't even used calibre's conversion feature at all, instead you uploaded an EPUB), so I have requested to have this thread moved to the Kindle Formats forum.


EDIT: theducks moved it to the Amazon Kindle forum, instead of the Kindle Formats forum. So I was able to move it from the Amazon Kindle forum to the Kindle Formats forum. It certainly isn't about the hardware Kindle device.

Last edited by eschwartz; 05-04-2016 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 05-04-2016, 06:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschwartz View Post
Supposedly the KDP will unpredictably reset the SRL to whatever they feel like.
If you convert it using Amazon's KindleGen or Kindle Previewer, it will respect the SRL you set -- then upload the resulting KindleGenned mobi to the KDP and it will automagically break!

...

This isn't really a calibre problem or an issue with calibre's conversion (in fact you indicate that you haven't even used calibre's conversion feature at all, instead you uploaded an EPUB), so I have requested to have this thread moved to the Kindle Formats forum.
This sounds more like a writer problem. Since he is trying to publish on Amazon.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:13 PM   #4
intrstngtimes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschwartz View Post
This isn't really a calibre problem or an issue with calibre's conversion (in fact you indicate that you haven't even used calibre's conversion feature at all, instead you uploaded an EPUB), so I have requested to have this thread moved to the Kindle Formats forum.
Sorry, I neglected to specify that yes, I did indeed convert my original html file to epub using Calibre (i.e. the method described by Guido Henkel in his book "Zen of ebook Formatting")

If you look at the code snippets I posted, though, you'll see the default Calibre naming conventions, so I wondered if something about them might be messing up how Kindle for PC handles the SRL...
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Old 05-04-2016, 09:05 PM   #5
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Oh well, it is still an issue on the Kindle/Amazon end of things.
The point stands.

Hopefully one of the ebook producers in this subforum has an idea for you -- I know @Hitch for one has struggled with and ranted about this issue, although any workarounds she has *might* be a trade secret.
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Old 05-04-2016, 09:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschwartz View Post
Oh well, it is still an issue on the Kindle/Amazon end of things.
The point stands.

Hopefully one of the ebook producers in this subforum has an idea for you -- I know @Hitch for one has struggled with and ranted about this issue, although any workarounds she has *might* be a trade secret.
I didn't see you had moved it my apologies.
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Old 05-05-2016, 02:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intrstngtimes View Post
Code:
<a id="calibre_toc_3"><span class="hidden">Chapter I</span></a>
KindleGen has one really annoying bug: it can't resolve links to elements that have been hidden with:

Code:
display: none;
I your hidden class uses display: none; KindleGen will treat the whole heading as if it didn't exist. That includes ids.

If you're using KindlePrevier, click the Compilation Details link. You'll most likely get one or more of the following error messages:

Code:
Warning(prcgen):W14001: Hyperlink not resolved: <file name>
Error(prcgen):E24010: Hyperlink not resolved in toc (One possible reason can be that the link points to a tag with style display:none): <file name>
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Old 05-06-2016, 12:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
KindleGen has one really annoying bug: it can't resolve links to elements that have been hidden with:

Code:
display: none;
I your hidden class uses display: none; KindleGen will treat the whole heading as if it didn't exist. That includes ids.
I already got bitten by that bug earlier : / It was when I had done my anchor tags like this:

Code:
<a name="Start" class="hidden">Chapter One</a>
After getting a warning from Kindle Previewer, I changed the code to what you saw in my first post (i.e. wrapping the chapter name in a span with class "hidden" instead of giving the "hidden" class to the anchor tag), and the warning no longer occurred. The rest of my table of contents links work fine. It's just the SRL that's messed up.

I've done some further research and learned this is another option for the <guide> section:

Code:
<reference href="Text/Frontmatter.html#coverpage" title="Start here" type="other.start"/>
It's definitely not in my <guide> section at present, so could that be the trick? Setting type to "other:start" instead of "text"?
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Old 05-06-2016, 01:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intrstngtimes View Post
It's definitely not in my <guide> section at present, so could that be the trick? Setting type to "other:start" instead of "text"?
Nope. KindleGen will ignore "other.start"; you can only use text, toc, and cover or the corresponding ePub3 landmarks equivalents.

BTW, it looks like you're trying to define the cover page as the start reading location (SRL). Unfortunately that can't be done via guide items.

(There are countless threads about it in this forum.)
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Old 05-06-2016, 09:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
Nope. KindleGen will ignore "other.start"; you can only use text, toc, and cover or the corresponding ePub3 landmarks equivalents.
I see. I converted a book I got from Amazon - a book that opens at the first chapter - and noticed the "other.start" bit when I looked at its OPF file, so I wondered if I needed the same thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
BTW, it looks like you're trying to define the cover page as the start reading location (SRL).
Oh, that was just an example I pasted from http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/OPF - what I'm actually trying to do is set the SRL to my first chapter. It's so weird, because in my latest attempt, my Kindle Paperwhite will go to the first chapter if I choose "Beginning" from the "Go to" menu...but when I first opened the book, it starts at the Copyright page instead >_<

Obviously there's a way to do this properly, because books I've bought or KU-borrowed from Amazon open at the first chapter automatically...so what I have they got in their guide file that I don't? : (
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Old 05-07-2016, 05:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intrstngtimes View Post
Obviously there's a way to do this properly, because books I've bought or KU-borrowed from Amazon open at the first chapter automatically...so what I have they got in their guide file that I don't? : (
The Amazon default is the first page of the first chapter, ignoring all preliminary material even if that material is vital to understanding the book. As I understand the matter, the SRL is set in the actual publishing workflow, so the Kindle Previewer experience is meaningless. I suspect the way to get what you want is simply not to use a text semantic at all.

The TOC or more accurately the middle of the TOC is actually a very popular place for Amazon to begin my books in which I have labeled the title page as text. But it's not consistent. Not long ago I published a book that started -- yes! -- at the title page. However, I found some typos so uploaded a correction version, republished, and had Support push the revision to my Kindle archives . . . and the new version opened in the middle of the TOC.

I know that some people claim to have a top-secret method for beating the system, but I have tried every published one, and they all fail.

Here are a couple:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho....php?t=212660

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=191387
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Old 05-08-2016, 01:26 AM   #12
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I've always used 'guide' tags by putting the epub of the book in Sigil. I'm always careful to put where I want the book to Start right after the TOC, Amazon seems to choke if your start point isn't after the TOC for some reason. They probably have a rule about that in their Formatting Guide. Then I add the guide tags beginning with Cover, Title page, TOC and then 'text' which is my Start id for Notes, Prologue, Chapter 1 or whichever point I want Amazon to flag as the Beginning. Sometimes in the content.opf the guides loose their order and I go back, take off the guide tags and re-do Cover, Title page, TOC and lastly Text. I've never had a problem with my own books or any of the books I format for others. Just saying. This is probably too simplistic, but it works for me and has for years.

Last edited by AThirstyMind; 05-08-2016 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 05-08-2016, 12:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Notjohn View Post
The Amazon default is the first page of the first chapter, ignoring all preliminary material even if that material is vital to understanding the book. As I understand the matter, the SRL is set in the actual publishing workflow, so the Kindle Previewer experience is meaningless. I suspect the way to get what you want is simply not to use a text semantic at all.
...
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho....php?t=212660

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=191387
Yes, I remember coming across your comments to this effect on the KDP forums. After trying a whole bunch of other things yesterday (including the trick mentioned in one of the threads you linked, re not putting the cover in an html file), I'm beginning to think you're right - the mobi file I get from Kindle Previewer software works beautifully on my Kindle Paperwhite (I even got the "Front Matter" drop-down in the "Go to" section), but the mobi file I downloaded from KDP - generated using the exact same epub - is a hot mess It opens to the middle of my copyright page instead.

FWIW, the file generated by Kindle Previewer is around 2 meg, whereas the KDP-generated file is nearly double in size. That's rather odd, since I figured they're both supposed to include multiple mobi formats, but who knows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AThirstyMind View Post
I've always used 'guide' tags by putting the epub of the book in Sigil. I'm always careful to put where I want the book to Start right after the TOC, Amazon seems to choke if your start point isn't after the TOC for some reason. They probably have a rule about that in their Formatting Guide. Then I add the guide tags beginning with Cover, Title page, TOC and then 'text' which is my Start id for Notes, Prologue, Chapter 1 or whichever point I want Amazon to flag as the Beginning. Sometimes in the content.opf the guides loose their order and I go back, take off the guide tags and re-do Cover, Title page, TOC and lastly Text. I've never had a problem with my own books or any of the books I format for others. Just saying. This is probably too simplistic, but it works for me and has for years.
Interesting. So does your guide code look something like this?

Code:
<reference type="cover" title="Cover" href="cover_page.xhtml" />
<reference type="?" title="Title Page" href="title_page.xhtml" />
<reference type="toc" title="Table of Contents" href="toc-filename.xhtml" />
<reference type="text" title="Beginning" href="where-to-start.xhtml" />
...if so, what type do you assign to "Title Page"?
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Old 05-10-2016, 05:04 AM   #14
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I uploaded an epub yesterday, with no semantics whatever, and no cover either. Downloaded the "mobi" at Step 7. Couldn't sideload it to my Fire tablet (this happens sometimes--the "mobi" is there, but the tablet can't see it) so used Send to Kindle instead. (Would that affect things?)

Anyhow, it opened to the middle of the TOC. Next time I'll label Chapter One as "text" and see what that does.

Quote:
I'm always careful to put where I want the book to Start right after the TOC, Amazon seems to choke if your start point isn't after the TOC for some reason. They probably have a rule about that in their Formatting Guide. Then I add the guide tags beginning with Cover, Title page, TOC and then 'text' which is my Start id for Notes, Prologue, Chapter 1 or whichever point I want Amazon to flag as the Beginning.
On the one occasion when I pointed to the included cover, the book as sold on Amazon had TWO covers.

A lot of my books begin with the TOC, followed by the title page. I tried labeling the title page as "text," but it didn't work. I find this annoying. A book should start with a cover. Even my goodwife, who has the habit of folding the dustcover in half and using it as a bookmark, begins each reading session with glimpsing the cover.
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Old 05-10-2016, 05:06 AM   #15
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Good grief, the import of the thread title just struck me. Could the problem be that we are uploading an epub to the KDP, or perhaps, more specifically, that we are building that epub with Sigil?
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