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Old 10-08-2013, 08:01 AM   #586
DiapDealer
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I don't know about calibre, but once you make the changes to your html file and your opf file, you should then convert the opf file with kindlegen/previewer. What you've described is what happens when you try to convert the html file (which knows nothing about the opf file). All files must remain in their relative position to each other in the directory structure when feeding the opf file to kindlegen, too.

Quote:
It seems as though some of the requisite CSS is missing -- there are no stylesheet settings for paragraphs in the HTML anywhere in the html file, just the inline formatting on the tags themselves (which doesn't specify margins or indents).
That's mobi markup. There is no css--inline or otherwise. It's basically HTML3. Left margins are done with <blockquote> and indents are done with the "width" parameter of the <p> tag. Top-margin is achieved with the "height" parameter. There are no right margins or bottom margins in mobi.

Also, when using kindlegen, you need to make sure you're viewing the mobi part of the conversion and not the KF8 part (which will also look exactly as you described if you fed the converter mobi-only source code).

You can also use KindleUnpack to split the mobi-only portion of the resulting file from the KF8 portion.

The bottom-line is (and I know this is probably confusing): mobi-only source (html) is not suitable for building KF8 kindlebooks.
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Old 10-08-2013, 09:49 AM   #587
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I recommend working from an ePub and KindleGen, rather than converting through calibre. But it you really want to use calibre, convert to a .azw3 rather than a .mobi.
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Old 10-08-2013, 03:01 PM   #588
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Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
I recommend working from an ePub and KindleGen, rather than converting through calibre. But it you really want to use calibre, convert to a .azw3 rather than a .mobi.
n.b.: not if he's going to submit it to the KDP; he cannot use an .azw3 file for uploading. Haven't been following the thread, so I don't know the OP's purposes, but when he mentions wanting to use the GoTo function for his TOC, I suspect he's thinking about a commercial use--so he should know that creating an azw3 will result in a file that cannot be uploaded at Amazon.

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Old 10-08-2013, 03:31 PM   #589
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I suspect he's thinking about a commercial use--so he should know that creating an azw3 will result in a file that cannot be uploaded at Amazon.
But you can run an azw3 through KindleUnpack and then through KindleGen without ending up with rubbish.
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Old 10-08-2013, 03:33 PM   #590
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I don't know about calibre, but once you make the changes to your html file and your opf file, you should then convert the opf file with kindlegen/previewer. What you've described is what happens when you try to convert the html file (which knows nothing about the opf file). All files must remain in their relative position to each other in the directory structure when feeding the opf file to kindlegen, too.
Thanks for taking the time to respond to my questions.

This is the process I'm using (I'm testing with the Android Kindle app on a Nexus 10).

First Calibre to convert from DOCX to MOBI:

Code:
ebook-convert "First Contact.docx" "FirstContact.mobi" --mobi-keep-original-images --no-inline-toc --disable-font-rescaling
(I edited out all the metadata stuff).

This works great. It's the only way (so far) I have found that reliably preserves top-margins (for things like pages with Chapter headings). The paragraphs are indented correctly, and there are no gaps between them. The only problem is the lack of an active TOC link in the Kindle Goto menu. Note: it is generating, the old, Mobi version 6 (7?), format.

Next, KindleUnpack. I'm using the latest pyw file downloaded from the link in the first comment on this thread. I don't turn on any of the options, and it extracts (generates) the HTML, OPF, and NCX files, along with the single image I use, all in a mobi7 directory.

Finally, if I don't touch those three files at all, and use "KindleGen FirstContact.opf" and test the resulting mobi file, the top margins that appeared in the Calibre generated mobi file are gone, as are the paragraph indents, and the paragraphs now have what looks like the default HTML spacing between them.

NOTE: Some empty lines I use for padding in the front matter are gone too (at the top of pages only). It looks as though the HEIGHT attribute used to do this vertical spacing at the top of pages is no longer being honored at all.

Quote:
That's mobi markup. There is no css--inline or otherwise. It's basically HTML3. Left margins are done with <blockquote> and indents are done with the "width" parameter of the <p> tag. Top-margin is achieved with the "height" parameter. There are no right margins or bottom margins in mobi.
Yeah, I can see that the Calibre conversion from DOCX to MOBI (HTML) inlines all the styling for everything, which is why I don't understand why unpacking and then repacking causes the loss of some of the styling. I thought I must be missing something obvious, but I don't see it.

Quote:
Also, when using kindlegen, you need to make sure you're viewing the mobi part of the conversion and not the KF8 part (which will also look exactly as you described if you fed the converter mobi-only source code).
I was only generating the mobi part in the Calibre conversion anyway, so that was not an issue.

Quote:
You can also use KindleUnpack to split the mobi-only portion of the resulting file from the KF8 portion.

The bottom-line is (and I know this is probably confusing): mobi-only source (html) is not suitable for building KF8 kindlebooks.
Well, I've tried using the OPF multiple times (with the other files in place) and the formatting changes everytime. I can try the KF8 route, but there is no real reason for my book to use it since there is no special formatting requirement above what Calibre's MOBI conversion provides.

It's as though the Kindle app is no longer recognizing the unpacked/repacked mobi file as the same type of format. Could that be happening? Is KindleGen doing something that's changing some internal setting on the MOBI file?

I'll keep fiddling, but it looks as though my current route is stymied unless I can understand why my formatting vanishes even though I seem to be following the correct process to the letter. I may take a look at the conversion source code to see if I can hack the TOC recognition into that. Alternatively, I could give up on my formatting of the TOC (it's a list of short story titles, so I've centered them on the page) and conform it to what Calibre expects.

Thanks again for your timely reply.

Last edited by tacitus; 10-08-2013 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 10-08-2013, 03:37 PM   #591
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacitus View Post
Finally, if I don't touch those three files at all, and use "KindleGen FirstContact.opf" and test the resulting mobi file, the top margins that appeared in the Calibre generated mobi file are gone, as are the paragraph indents, and the paragraphs now have what looks like the default HTML spacing between them.
Run KindleUnpack on your second version and see what's different. Also make sure which bit of the second file you're looking at. KindleGen generates a file with m=both a mobi and an azw3 section.
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Old 10-08-2013, 04:15 PM   #592
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What pdurrant said.

When you're converting the opf with kindlegen and then viewing with a Kindle app, I think you're seeing the KF8 portion of the file--which will look very wonky and unformatted if built from mobi-only source. I think this because you just can't build a mobi-only book with kindlegen/Previewer. It always builds a combination MOBI/KF8 file. And if the Kindle App supports KF8, that's what it's going to show you.

I suggest this:

1) Take the calibre mobi (converted from docx) and extract the mobi-only contents like you have been doing.

2) Make your edits to the html and opf and then convert with kindlegen (using the opf file).

3) Take the resulting kindlebook (which is at this point a combination MOBI/KF8 file) and use KindleUnpack to split that file into its component .mobi and .azw3 files (check the "Split Combination KF8 Kindle eBooks" box ).

4) Load the .mobi file produced from step 3 into your Kindle app or the Kindle Previewer

I just checked and all paragraph indents, top margins an other original formatting were retained in this manner.

You could also go from DOCX to ePub (or DOCX to MOBI to ePub if something about the DOCX to MOBI conversion achieves a special need) with calibre, then edit the epub with Sigil and convert it back to mobi.
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Old 10-08-2013, 05:10 PM   #593
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
What pdurrant said.

When you're converting the opf with kindlegen and then viewing with a Kindle app, I think you're seeing the KF8 portion of the file--which will look very wonky and unformatted if built from mobi-only source. I think this because you just can't build a mobi-only book with kindlegen/Previewer. It always builds a combination MOBI/KF8 file. And if the Kindle App supports KF8, that's what it's going to show you.

I suggest this:

1) Take the calibre mobi (converted from docx) and extract the mobi-only contents like you have been doing.

2) Make your edits to the html and opf and then convert with kindlegen (using the opf file).

3) Take the resulting kindlebook (which is at this point a combination MOBI/KF8 file) and use KindleUnpack to split that file into its component .mobi and .azw3 files (check the "Split Combination KF8 Kindle eBooks" box ).

4) Load the .mobi file produced from step 3 into your Kindle app or the Kindle Previewer

I just checked and all paragraph indents, top margins an other original formatting were retained in this manner.

You could also go from DOCX to ePub (or DOCX to MOBI to ePub if something about the DOCX to MOBI conversion achieves a special need) with calibre, then edit the epub with Sigil and convert it back to mobi.
Is he trying to create top-margins with headers all in the same file? IOW, is he using separate files per "chapter" or section, or no? And, to save me some reading time, is this from HTML/CSS for a K8 or K7? A plain mobi?

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Old 10-08-2013, 05:30 PM   #594
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Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
Is he trying to create top-margins with headers all in the same file? IOW, is he using separate files per "chapter" or section, or no? And, to save me some reading time, is this from HTML/CSS for a K8 or K7? A plain mobi?
He's converting a docx to a mobi in calibre. It'll all be in one file, since plain mobi doesn't have multiple files.
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:32 PM   #595
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Thank you very much for your help DiapDealer and pdurrant. I'm now getting my formatting and the links to my TOC from the Goto menu. Thanks also for the development and maintenance of the unpack tools. They've come in very handy.

I still get the feeling that I'm just close to getting the direct Calibre conversion working too -- the converter sees that I have the TOC (there is a message that shows it's going through the right code path), but doesn't generate the necessary metadata to enable the Goto links.

Other quirks have also appeared -- the starting point of the book has changed to after the front matter instead of being the title page (I think I know how to fix that), and all my transparent gifs now have a black background on Kindle devices. I believe that's something to do with the native resolution of the images -- which should be fixable -- but it only shows up when I put the Calibre created mobi through the unpack/kindlegen/unpack process.

(Edit: Well, that was not true -- I forgot I made the GIF background transparent while I was testing on my tablet. That works fine, but I had since learned that transparent GIFs are not well supported on eInk Kindle devices. I got them to work, but they look nasty.)

I knew the book creation process was quirky, but I didn't quite appreciate just how quirky it is when you're dealing with the confluence of quirks involving Word, Calibre, KindleGen, and the Kindle devices!

Last edited by tacitus; 10-08-2013 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:38 PM   #596
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Is he trying to create top-margins with headers all in the same file? IOW, is he using separate files per "chapter" or section, or no? And, to save me some reading time, is this from HTML/CSS for a K8 or K7? A plain mobi?
No, just one file, as per the Calibre converter. It's not a long book (60k words) and I read somewhere recently that the performance of all but the oldest of Kindles is good enough for that size of document not to be a problem performance-wise.

I had all but given up on using top-margins until I tried the latest DOCX calibre converter. It's a quirky workaround to the lack of real top-margin support, but seems to work well with the devices I have tested it on. It also preserves empty paragraphs (blank lines in Word) which gives you a lazy (and probably not recommended) way to pad out the front matter pages, like the dedication and quotation pages.
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:54 PM   #597
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He's converting a docx to a mobi in calibre. It'll all be in one file, since plain mobi doesn't have multiple files.
Well...FWIW, when I was making mobis back in the day (as the kids say), I think I used separate HTML files. {shrug}. OTOH, I only made mobis, sans any ePUBs, for a short period of time, so I could be mis-remembering. I do remember the infamous mbpagebreak coding, so I'm possibly lying.

The problem with "real top-margin support" is simply that: top-margin from what, exactly, when you have one big file? The lack of top-margin support for mobi (of all kinds) when working in a single file is legendary. I'm not sure I even remember what we used to do to fake top-margins, sans separate files. Diap, do you remember? Or you, Great Mouse?

And won't K8 ignore those empty paras? If not given some type of element, even an nbsp?

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Old 10-08-2013, 10:04 PM   #598
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The problem with "real top-margin support" is simply that: top-margin from what, exactly, when you have one big file?
Yeah, I guess my terminology was inaccurate. Really what I mean (in MS Word terms) is for the "before" paragraph spacing attribute to be honored after a page-break (i.e. at the start of a new chapter). KF8 seems to handle that just fine, and by the time my next book is ready, I guess it may be time ditch the old format altogether.

(Does Amazon keep stats on the number of old-format-only devices out there, in the same way Google tracks the different versions of Android?)

Quote:
And won't K8 ignore those empty paras? If not given some type of element, even an nbsp?
FWIW, this is what Calibre generates for mobi7:

Code:
 <p height="0pt" width="0pt" align="center">
  <font size="2">*</font>
 </p>
The * is actually 0xa0 (which is the ASCII version of correspond to &nbsp; )

I assume if you specify KF8 instead, it will generate something different, but I suspect they will try to preserve the spacing in some way. They did a passable job of faking small caps for mobi7 (not good enough for me to want to use, but still...) by capitalizing the text and setting the appropriate font sizes.
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Old 10-09-2013, 02:47 AM   #599
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Well, the book is posted (not yet available, so no link!). Thanks again to everyone who took the time to reply to my queries. In the end, I just forgot about the GIFs and replaced them with JPEGs. The rest of the formatting looks great (well, it's what I wanted anyway ), and the TOC now works on both Kindle devices and Android tablets. I have to assume the other device categories are likely to work too.

Calibre's TOC processing actually did work for my eReader, but I needed to make that edit to the OPF and HTML to get Android Kindle to enable the Contents page.

Next up -- ePub (well, in a few days, maybe).
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:50 AM   #600
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Next up -- ePub (well, in a few days, maybe).
If you had started with ePub, you'd likely be all done now.


Glad you got things working to your satisfaction!
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