I recently noticed some very odd (and ugly) changes that seem to have been made to the Look Inside feature. This happens on books that were properly formatted using Scrivener. They were then checked using Kindle Previewer 3 and Kindle Cloud Reader. They look fine on all devices but the Look Inside looks very unprofessional. Can anyone tell me what is the latest state of things with Look Inside? I remember there being problems a while back, two years or more. Have they not been slved yet?
This is one issue with using a proprietary format based on and interpreted language without a solid worldwide standard. Device interpretation varies and the final product can look perfect on nearly all platforms yet still interpret odd on a few (the cloud reader interpretation is the worst I've found). The look inside has gone through some changes in the last 12 months and now interprets some features that it formerly ignored (embedded fonts are the most obvious). It is likely that these changes have also modified other points in the XML interpretation and display. If you are noticing the issues only in Scrivener created files I would pull up the final kindle file and begin to analyze the actual code to try and pinpoint what may be causing the issue. It is likely something specific to the style sheets exported through Scrivener, though I have not read any specific issues online lately.
books that were properly formatted using Scrivener
That's really an oxymoron. No automagical word processor can "properly format" an ebook. You can come close, just as lots of people come close simply by uploading a Word doc and trusting Amazon's automagical conversion, but it only works until it doesn't.
To answer your question about Look Inside, it has always been a bit odd. I never realized what a bad job Word was doing for me until LI was introduced, and suddenly my formatting in Word-uploaded books went crazy. So I sighed and redid them all. And there have been a couple of changes over the years, both of them for the better. (No doubt there were other changes I didn't notice.) My books now look closer than ever to how they appear in an actual Kindle or Fire tablet (though they do have a tendency to dance a bit upon first opening, as if Look Inside were saying hmm hmm yes what do we have here?
Of course they don't show chapter breaks as we would hope, but that is true of Big Five books as well, so I trust that the reading public has been properly brainwashed by now.
(Use CreateSpace for paperbacks; use KDP for ebooks.)
Do you have any advice for how I could edit the book after Scrivener? I just checked the HTML that Scrivener creates and looked at it in Safari. It's perfectly formatted. I don't see how I am supposed to be able to change what Amazon is doing in Look Inside.
Have you compared the CSS and coding of your two books to see where they differ in the affected sections. From what I see one title is interpreting a large font size across the linked LOC and both have a centering issue on the Author Name (I assume that was not intentional). Aside from that there may be other issues that are not properly displaying (I haven't compared against a bought copy) but they are not taking away from the readability of the look- inside. Often times issued such as this have to do with nested styles and the location of the classes within the nesting. While the file would pass a CSS check the nesting can still cause interpretation issues.
Worst case scenario if you can't find the issue - run the file through Calibre (I hate to say this but its a quick work around) and do an ePub conversion (not mobi) in the software. Upload the epub to KDP and "usually" it will clean up the format for look inside.
Thanks, R Butler. I opened my file in Calibre and reformatted it as ePub 2. Then I uploaded again to KDP. It seems that Calbre managed to clean up nearly all the issues I had with the file. It does look considerably better now. Not perfect but much more professional.