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Thread: Formatting for Kindle Cloud Reader. What's the trick?


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Permlink Replies: 9 - Pages: 1 - Last Post: Dec 11, 2017 3:25 PM Last Post By: Notjohn Threads: [ Previous | Next ]
David

Posts: 2
Registered: 06/08/14
Formatting for Kindle Cloud Reader. What's the trick?
Posted: Dec 7, 2017 3:12 PM
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I've been loving all of the great advice I've gotten on this forum just lurking, so I'm thrilled to make my first post. Hope I can get help, and that it helps someone.

My problem is with formatting on the Kindle Cloud Reader.

I formatted my book in Sigil using HTML/CSS, and exported to mobi via KindleGen. I'm a retired web designer, so I generally know what I'm doing there. But my formatting on Kindle for Desktop looks like this:



And on Cloud Reader it looks like this:



Looking at some books from some top publishers, I can see that you can't get the formatting exactly the same, but here are the main things being modified:
– Fonts being made way bigger
– Indents being put onto paragraphs
– Alignment modified (notice quotes are supposed to be centered and are flush left)
– Rule line removed (created by "border" attribute, can live with this)
– "Chapter" removed (was inserted via "content" attribute, can live with this)

Anyone know what might cause these bugs? Is there ANY reliable way to get a Cloud Reader preview before uploading and waiting for approval?

cdalebrittain

Posts: 11,287
Registered: 03/05/11
Re: Formatting for Kindle Cloud Reader. What's the trick?
Posted: Dec 7, 2017 3:37 PM   in response to: David in response to: David
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You'll need to get Hitch of booknookbiz to give you a more high-tech answer, but I can tell you about the paragraphs.

Kindles assume that paragraphs should be indented (as indeed they should be!). So if you don't specify an indent, one is "helpfully" provided. If you really don't want an indent, you'll need to specify 0.01 inches as the indent. This will keep the bots happy, and it will look like flush left.

The font can be made larger or smaller by the reader, so don't worry too much about that. Putting your material in with 12-point letters gives you a middle-ground starting point.

I see that what had been all-caps had become caps and regular lower-case. This (like the word Chapter) is because you were trying to "call" things that weren't there. The problem with testing a KDP file on your desktop computer is that the file can call up things/files/fonts/processes that are sitting there on your computer. A Kindle (or a phone or whatever else is reading from the cloud) doesn't have access to those things. It has to be literal. What you tell it is what it does.

Good luck!
William Thompson

Posts: 1,069
Registered: 07/06/14
Re: Formatting for Kindle Cloud Reader. What's the trick?
Posted: Dec 7, 2017 4:55 PM   in response to: David in response to: David
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The reason you are having all these problems is probably because you haven't explicitly declared defaults as you should do in your css for the following property values in all your text/heading styles:

text-indent: 0;
font-size: 100%;
text-align: justify;
line-height: 1.2em;

If you don't explicitly declare the above as defaults for all text styles then the Kindle overrides(via cascading stylesheets) will take over resulting in unintended defaults and screwed up formatting.

For example, this is what I put at the very end of my css in my epubs for KDP upload as a precaution, which should give you compliant and accurate styling for your ebook-for-sale, Look Inside version and Kindle Cloud version:

p {
text-align: justify;
text-indent: 0em;
line-height: 1.2em;
font-weight: normal;
font-style: normal
}
h1 {
font-size: 1.25em;
font-weight: bold;
text-align: center;
text-indent: 0em
}
body {
font-family: serif;
font-size: 100%;
margin: 3% 3% 3% 3%
}

Since you're OK with html, I shouldn't really have to describe why the above works, but please note how I have explicitly and deliberately declared all important and relevant default style properties within various inherited presets and globals used in my css to cover all the bases. This should work to help you avoid interference from all the offending Kindle overrides to solve all your problems, in other words

You should also format your "Chapter" header just like all epub headers. Normally, simple pre-styled <h1> or <h2> tags are used in the html for this. And don't use the "content" property for headings because that property is probably not in the supported list of html tags/attributes for Kindle ebooks, which is probably the main reason why all your headings are disappearing when you use it. See working example below:

<h1>CHAPTER 10</h1>

To draw a centered line under your heading, this might work:

<hr style="border-top: 2pt solid;width: 30%; margin: 0 auto;"/>

Why not try my free Sigil plugins now available on MobileRead?

OpenDocHTMLImport - converts ODT HTML(Writer) docs directly to epub.

GoogleZipImport - converts Google Doc HTML directly to epub format.

NormalizeScrivEpub - reformats, finishes-off and normalizes Scrivener epubs.

You can download all these free plugins from The Sigil Plugin Index on the MR Forum

William Thompson

Posts: 1,069
Registered: 07/06/14
Re: Formatting for Kindle Cloud Reader. What's the trick?
Posted: Dec 7, 2017 7:07 PM   in response to: cdalebrittain in response to: cdalebrittain
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@cdalebrittain...The OP isn't talking about formatting a Word doc for KDP upload. He's talking about formatting an epub for upload:

David said:
I formatted my book in Sigil using HTML/CSS, and exported to mobi via KindleGen...
booknookbiz

Posts: 4,076
Registered: 03/04/10
Re: Formatting for Kindle Cloud Reader. What's the trick?
Posted: Dec 7, 2017 7:17 PM   in response to: David in response to: David
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David wrote:
I've been loving all of the great advice I've gotten on this forum just lurking, so I'm thrilled to make my first post. Hope I can get help, and that it helps someone.

My problem is with formatting on the Kindle Cloud Reader.

I formatted my book in Sigil using HTML/CSS, and exported to mobi via KindleGen. I'm a retired web designer, so I generally know what I'm doing there. But my formatting on Kindle for Desktop looks like this:


And on Cloud Reader it looks like this:


Looking at some books from some top publishers, I can see that you can't get the formatting exactly the same, but here are the main things being modified:
– Fonts being made way bigger
– Indents being put onto paragraphs
– Alignment modified (notice quotes are supposed to be centered and are flush left)
– Rule line removed (created by "border" attribute, can live with this)
– "Chapter" removed (was inserted via "content" attribute, can live with this)

Anyone know what might cause these bugs? Is there ANY reliable way to get a Cloud Reader preview before uploading and waiting for approval?


Well, where to start?

Firstly, KCR is the lowest-functioning of the Kindle readers. It doesn't display embedded fonts, for example. I recommend that you download Kindle Previewer, and use that (KP 3.15 is fairly worthless, completely misrepresenting line-heights, and then some, so I hope you're using a PC and not a Mac).

Secondly, you're making assumptions about the HTML that's supported--for example, trying to use the "content" attribute, which isn't supported AT ALL. The border attribute is dicey coding for Kindle. Get the Publisher's Guidelines, and look at what is supported, and use that, not current HTML 5 or CSS 3 elements/coding.

You're stuck with indents, by and large. Yes, any decent coder can get rid of them, but firstly, Amazon prefers first-line indents, and so do most of the eReading public, so you may want to adapt to that. That's not to say that you can't have a nice flush-left para for a first para of a new chapter, etc.

Take a look at alignments, and how those are coded, for KF8 and KF7. Don't forget that you'll need to write media queries for KF7.

Until just a few years ago, everything we all did was HTML 4.2, at MOST. Nowadays, we can do a lot more, but it's still a long way away from HTML5. A LONG way away.

Oh, and, I think that someone else already mentioned this, but stick with heading classes for your headings. Style them as you need, but that should keep you from having this gigantic font issue.

You could try finding a book that has formatting you like, downloading it, unpacking it, and seeing the coding in that book.

Good luck.

Hitch
We produce eBooks
An Amazon Professional Conversion Service : http://amzn.to/29pWZSg
www.Booknook.Biz
Notjohn

Posts: 23,246
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Formatting for Kindle Cloud Reader. What's the trick?
Posted: Dec 8, 2017 2:40 AM   in response to: David in response to: David
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David, you are welcome to borrow my style sheet. Just swipe it off my blog.

(Don't trust KDP to publish a print edition. Don't trust CreateSpace to publish an ebook. Each does one thing well and the other thing poorly.)

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog:
http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
Notjohn

Posts: 23,246
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Formatting for Kindle Cloud Reader. What's the trick?
Posted: Dec 8, 2017 2:41 AM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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Oh, and the Kindle Publishing Guidelines are here: https://kindlegen.s3.amazonaws.com/AmazonKindlePublishingGuidelines.pdf

Good luck! -- NJ
David

Posts: 2
Registered: 06/08/14
Re: Formatting for Kindle Cloud Reader. What's the trick?
Posted: Dec 11, 2017 11:16 AM   in response to: William Thompson in response to: William Thompson
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Thank you everyone! After taking William's advice of making sure I override the defaults of text-indent, font-size, text-align, and line-height things are looking much better on Look Inside.

However, I've run into the new problem that my Cloud Reader still has the old version of the book loaded. Trying through the support channel to get the new version pushed out to existing customers (like me).
booknookbiz

Posts: 4,076
Registered: 03/04/10
Re: Formatting for Kindle Cloud Reader. What's the trick?
Posted: Dec 11, 2017 12:48 PM   in response to: David in response to: David
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David wrote:
Thank you everyone! After taking William's advice of making sure I override the defaults of text-indent, font-size, text-align, and line-height things are looking much better on Look Inside.

However, I've run into the new problem that my Cloud Reader still has the old version of the book loaded. Trying through the support channel to get the new version pushed out to existing customers (like me).


And it will always only have that version, unless/until you email the KDP and ask them to "push" the new version to you,. Amazon will no longer automatically push a new version to a device, (yours or anyone else's) because the new version will override/nuke notes, bookmarks, etc.

That means that once you've asked them to notify the reader that there is a new version, they'll just put that on the "Manage your content and devices" page, and it's up to the reader to choose to update the version. Moreover, you have to make a compelling argument, to Amazon, that the updates you made are important enough to warrant them notifying customers of your update in the first place, or at all. Suffice to say, Amazon is a bit tired of suffering all the costs of constantly, and I mean, constantly having to notify their customers that John Doe Author has released update #17 to his book, "Love's Savage Savage," and so on and so forth--so only significant updates are subject to having notifications sent. A few things like paragraph indents probably aren't going to qualify for that, but you can give it your best shot.

Good luck.

Hitch
We produce eBooks
An Amazon Professional Conversion Service : http://amzn.to/29pWZSg
www.Booknook.Biz
Notjohn

Posts: 23,246
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Formatting for Kindle Cloud Reader. What's the trick?
Posted: Dec 11, 2017 3:25 PM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
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To add to what Hitch has said, in my experience KDP is not at all interested in changes or improvements. It wants to know exactly what CORRECTIONS you have made, and if they are egregious enough, they may send out an email to purchasers saying that a CORRECTED version is available. Seriously, do you want that? After all, have you ever read a book the second time because somebody told you that the earlier version was incorrect and a correct version is now available? I doubt it.

For your own use, simply ask Support to "push" the new version to your Kindle archives, then download it again. I trust they are not too fed up with us to do that.

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog:
http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
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