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Old 02-13-2022, 01:00 PM   #1
nucl3ar
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[Kindle + Calibre] Covers not showing when sideloaded via USB

Greetings!

I'm new to Calibre. I am a bit of a control freak and like to have my library organized and looking pristine.

I have some epubs that I converted to azw3 to read on my Kindle. Took my sweet time to make the conversion perfect. Adjusted line height, paragraph spacing and indentation, headings, etc.

Then, last but not least, added the covers. I like to choose the best looking cover designs, and I get the highest quality possible (within reason; not some 5000px 300dpi monster).

When loading my books to the Kindle (via USB, using the "send to device" option on Calibre), some books display their cover, while others don't.

I read in many topics that you can just unplug and plug the Kindle again, and Calibre will load the covers for you. Did not work.

Here's what I've tried:
- Added the asin number to some books. Did not work. And some of the books that do show cover don't even have the asin number.
- Deleted the book from the Kindle and reloaded them. Did not work.
- Lowered the dpi of some covers from 96dpi to 72dpi. Did not work. BTW, I thought about lowering the resolution of the cover, but some of the books that do display cover on Kindle have high resolution cover on Calibre.
- Made sure "sharing content via Facebook" option was disabled.

Some people said that when you convert the book, Calibre already makes the cover ready for Kindle by default. I added the covers after the conversion (stupid). But I didn't want to convert again, because I don't want to risk losing all the work I put into the layout. Converting is always risking changes. I know, I've tried. It fixed the cover, but it screwed the layout.

Is there a way to fix it without converting the books again? I have noticed that Calibre added the covers of the working titles on a folder on my Kindle (amazon-cover-bug). All the covers there are low resolution (max of 500px). But on Calibre they were higher resolution, and Calibre handled the image rescaling during sideload. Is there a way to force this?

I am Using Calibre 5.22.1 and the Kindle Paperwhite 3 with latest software.
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Old 02-13-2022, 08:47 PM   #2
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https://manual.calibre-ebook.com/faq...-generic-cover
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Old 02-14-2022, 11:49 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, kovid!

Unfortunately, that was not my case. It's not that the covers were being erased by the Kindle; they were not showing at all. Connecting and disconnecting didn't do the trick.

Reconverting the books worked. I am doing that to each book. Fortunately, I am getting familiarized with the conversion tool, and it's getting easier to tweak the layout to my liking.

I just hoped there was an easy way. For instance, if you change the covers of a book, can you just reload the cache, or something? Or do you have to delete the book from Kindle, reconvert the book and upload it again?
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Old 02-14-2022, 12:34 PM   #4
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I'm having similar/related missing cover issues with multiple .mobi books.

Used Calibre Win x64 (calibre-64bit-5.36.0.msi) to send unmodified .mobi's to the Kindle (PPW 2018).

Covers initially appear on the Kindle, and a few seconds later are replaced with generic blank covers. Kindle contains the "amazon-cover-bug" directory, so Calibre is doing "its thing" to try to fix the covers, but it is not resolving the issue.

What I think is going on: J. Bezos has taken time off from his party yacht to check every .mobi on people's devices, and if he notices that a .mobi is not "genuine" (i.e. it's sideloaded), the Kindle removes the cover and displays its standard <blank> cover to annoy readers who care about seeing nice covers (that would be 99% of all readers).

What I've already tried - "everything".

Tried setting tags, for example:
isbn:1234567890, mobi-asin:B012345567, asin:B012345567
Left the original asin as it was, AND also tried using the asin from the Amazon.com store

Tried using Amazon's Kindle Previewer 3 tool hoping to "re-write" the mobi, but the tool doesn't have this feature - can only work with .epubs.

Looked for python and other CLI tools on github and elsewhere. Nope - everyone and everything recommends Calibre (which is great), but when Calibre fails to do the thing you need, there are no other options.

There's a tool https://github.com/kevinhendricks/KindleUnpack that claims to unpack mobis, but then you need different tool (MobiPocket) to attempt to re-pack the mobi, and that tool is dead and the site equally deceased. Other tools/scripts have not been updated in a few decades.

One hint that some fix is possible: Amazon's Kindle Previewer 3 correctly writes out a persistent book cover for mobis when I use it to convert epub -> mobi, even random epubs I've authored that don't have any asin or any other magic tag-tags. So something is possible to fix the issue, but I don't know what that speecial magic is yet.

Thanks ia for any hints. So far Amazon seems to be winning the war to <BLANK> out people's covers if they haven't personally put a few silver coins into Beeezos' pocket for each and every single mobi.
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Old 02-14-2022, 12:52 PM   #5
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I would also suggest a small change (1/4 joking) to the very useful Calibre FAQ:

Current:
Quote:
This is likely deliberate on Amazon’s part to try to force authors to sell only through them. In other words, the Kindle only displays covers for books marked as Personal Documents or books bought directly from Amazon.
Suggested change:
This is CERTAINLY deliberate on Amazon's part to force authors to sell only through Amazon, or at least on Amazon in addition to anywhere else. This is also CERTAINLY deliberate to force readers to buy only on Amazon and not even be able to buy an epub elsewhere and convert it to mobi themselves, and to prevent sideloading anything and have it actually display a nice cover instead of a <BLANK> cover that hammers readers about their lack of sufficient monerary offerings to the Amazon gods.
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Old 02-14-2022, 01:08 PM   #6
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Wrote to kindle-feedback@amazon.com

I'm sure they'll get right on it, top priority for them and all that.

=====================

Kindle is and has been for a long time overwriting book covers with a <BLANK> cover for books not officially purchased from the KINDLE AMAZON STORE. I add books to my Kindle over USB, covers show for a few seconds, then the Kindle blanks out the cover and shows its own DUMB BLANK cover.

Nobody is dumb enough to think that this is an accident, a software bug, or a small overlooked issue that only 1 reader cares about, and J. Bezos is too busy to fix (yacht parties, natch). Many many users are angry about this and have been posting about this issue for months or more on Calibre forums and elsewhere.

...

My request as an excellent Amazon customer who is severely pissed off about this purposeful broken Kindle behavior:

STOP <blanking> out covers for sideloaded books on our Kindles.

You know exactly what and why you are doing it. It is not an accident and it has been going on for a very long time.

Please fix this issue by not purposely blanking out covers.
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Old 02-14-2022, 08:41 PM   #7
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@nucl3ar: The other issue I know of is when the the jpeg cover image inside the mobi has exif metadata, the kindle refuses to display it,this can indeedbe fixed by a reconversion. As for whether you need to delete and resent, experiment. It will dependon kindle firmware version/phase of the moon.

@edr: The existence of the amazon-cover-bug folder is not enough, after sending the file you have to disconnect, let the kindle blank the cover, the reconnect. Witht hat it should work (and does for me). And yes Amazon is pretty evil, they havebeen gradually making sideloading less and less attractive over th eyears hoping no one will noticeif they do it slowly enough
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Old 02-14-2022, 09:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
@nucl3ar: The other issue I know of is when the the jpeg cover image inside the mobi has exif metadata, the kindle refuses to display it,this can indeedbe fixed by a reconversion.
Oooh! The EXIF metadata could be the thing! I Just converted every single book that had a problem before and they are now working. But I checked the original covers I used and they have EXIF data. Next time this happens, I'll delete it and see if it works. It might have been it, kovid.

Regarding edr's issue: are you connected to the wi-fi? I have not tried connecting again since I've fixed my issue. I read somewhere (maybe in the manual?) that the Kindle might take down the covers again when syncing. I hope that's not the case.
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Old 02-23-2022, 04:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
.....
@edr: The existence of the amazon-cover-bug folder is not enough, after sending the file you have to disconnect, let the kindle blank the cover, the reconnect. Witht hat it should work (and does for me). And yes Amazon is pretty evil, they havebeen gradually making sideloading less and less attractive over th eyears hoping no one will noticeif they do it slowly enough
Hi Kovid, what do you think about the possibility to automate the entire process and in particular these steps "...after sending the file you have to disconnect, let the kindle blank the cover, the reconnect..." ? I know that the problem is caused by Amazon because it's pretty evil but in this way it would be more simple for a standar user

In a possibile solution Calibre:
  • checks if the Kindle is in airplane mode. If yes it alerts the user to connect it to wifi. If it's not possibile to do this check it would be useful a simple message...
  • sends the ebook via USB with cover informations
  • ejects the device "via software"
  • waits that Amazon replaces the cover by a generic cover
  • reconnects the device always "via software"
  • fixs the cover thumbnail
  • produces a little "bip" or a message to inform the user thar the process is complete

Stefano
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Old 06-11-2022, 12:55 PM   #10
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I apologize if this is a really stupid question but how can I see whether there is .exif data in the covers? Thanks....
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Old 11-16-2023, 05:45 PM   #11
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Arrow Possible solution

Quote:
Originally Posted by nucl3ar View Post
Greetings!

I'm new to Calibre. I am a bit of a control freak and like to have my library organized and looking pristine.

I have some epubs that I converted to azw3 to read on my Kindle. Took my sweet time to make the conversion perfect. Adjusted line height, paragraph spacing and indentation, headings, etc.

Then, last but not least, added the covers. I like to choose the best looking cover designs, and I get the highest quality possible (within reason; not some 5000px 300dpi monster).

When loading my books to the Kindle (via USB, using the "send to device" option on Calibre), some books display their cover, while others don't.

I read in many topics that you can just unplug and plug the Kindle again, and Calibre will load the covers for you. Did not work.

Here's what I've tried:
- Added the asin number to some books. Did not work. And some of the books that do show cover don't even have the asin number.
- Deleted the book from the Kindle and reloaded them. Did not work.
- Lowered the dpi of some covers from 96dpi to 72dpi. Did not work. BTW, I thought about lowering the resolution of the cover, but some of the books that do display cover on Kindle have high resolution cover on Calibre.
- Made sure "sharing content via Facebook" option was disabled.

Some people said that when you convert the book, Calibre already makes the cover ready for Kindle by default. I added the covers after the conversion (stupid). But I didn't want to convert again, because I don't want to risk losing all the work I put into the layout. Converting is always risking changes. I know, I've tried. It fixed the cover, but it screwed the layout.

Is there a way to fix it without converting the books again? I have noticed that Calibre added the covers of the working titles on a folder on my Kindle (amazon-cover-bug). All the covers there are low resolution (max of 500px). But on Calibre they were higher resolution, and Calibre handled the image rescaling during sideload. Is there a way to force this?

I am Using Calibre 5.22.1 and the Kindle Paperwhite 3 with latest software.
I just created an app that helps you solve the problem in a matter of seconds. I leave you the link: https://github.com/weto91/kindle-cover-fixer
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Old 12-13-2023, 09:37 AM   #12
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Update the metadata cache via calibre's device button drop down and that's working for me rn
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Old 03-09-2024, 08:14 AM   #13
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A possibly interesting variation on this theme.
With a Kindle Calibre, there is no way I get to see the cover template in the list of books, BUT when I open the file (to read the book) and turn off the device, the cover does show correctly on the off screen.
(Maybe that is not new at all and that was already the case in this whole topic, but having only now begun to sideload just a tiny few books - the ones that will definitely not let themselves be sent via SendToKindle -, only now do I notice this.)
I should add that there is no problem at all with my Paperwhite Signature: cover shows correctly both on off screen while book is being read AND as a template in the list of books.
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Old 03-09-2024, 12:21 PM   #14
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A possibly interesting variation on this theme.
With a Kindle Calibre, there is no way I get to see the cover template in the list of books
Do you mean a Kindle Scribe? If so, the later firmware uses an MTP connection instead of an USBMS connection. Unless you feel up to donating a Scribe to Kovid or working on the issue yourself, it may be a while before sending cover thumbnails works.
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Old 03-11-2024, 09:54 PM   #15
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Had a similar issue with covers when used Kindle Previewer 3 to generate MOBI from ePub and then Calibre's plugin to extract AZW3. After sending that file to Kindle cover never showed up regardless is device in airplane mode or not.

When tried to convert ePub to AZW3 in Calibre directly - all was good on my kindle and cover was there even after it was synced over wifi.

Interesting that in Kindle Previewer the first page of each book has a cover image.
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