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Thread: LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer


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Chas

Posts: 8
Registered: 05/01/13
LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer
Posted: May 28, 2013 11:01 AM
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I've used the kindle previewer tool and the ebook is perfect. No issues whatsoever in formatting. No issues whatsoever in the epub file. Then, after finalizing publishing, I click on the "look inside" option, and my paragraphs are NOT indented (they were on all previews, just not on the look inside preview).
I unpublished the book.

Any suggestions? Thanks.

ETA: this book also shows up perfectly fine in the Kindle for PC app that I just downloaded. What gives?? Is it only the "look inside" preview that's messed up or what?

I decided to ask in this forum via suggestion from another.

I did not use tab or spacing to indent my paragraphs. I did everything the proper way.
Notjohn

Posts: 23,757
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer
Posted: May 28, 2013 12:18 PM   in response to: Chas in response to: Chas
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I'm sure you don't want to hear this, but your book is an html document, like a web page. It just happens that the strictest rendering of html is on the Look Inside feature.

For example, if you call for a word to be italicized, html precedes the word with a tag and follows it with a closing tag, which is the same term (in this case an i or an *em*) preceded by a backslash. If that term is omitted, as seen in a Kindle e-book reader, well, the italics will continue to the end of the paragraph but will then stop. In Look Inside, alas, they never stop. The rest of the book will be italicized.

There can also be differences between Kindle devices. Before publishing a book, you absolutely must check it out page by page in the "Kindle" emulation and in the Fire emulations in Kindle Previewer, because the defaults are different in the e-ink Kindles and in the tablets.

The Kindle for PC app is not a particularly good preview and really shouldn't be used for that purpose.

Probably you can fix this in Word, but I would go straight to the html. With a simple style sheet (one is shown on my blog) you can absolutely control what your book looks like.

The book: Notjohn's Guide to Kindle Publishing: Ten Steps to Selling Your E-book on Amazon (Or Anywhere Else)

The blog: Notjohn's KDP Guide
Jim Simon

Posts: 4
Registered: 04/18/13
Re: LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer
Posted: May 30, 2013 6:59 PM   in response to: Chas in response to: Chas
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I have the same problem. Inside sample looks terrible on Amazon site but perfect on Kindle. Same for text books (novels) and graphic novels/comic books, all images, I published on KDP . Looks great on Kindle, but lousy on Amazon website. I bet we lose sales because of the poor display on the Amazon website. Can't this be corrected???
Notjohn

Posts: 23,757
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer
Posted: May 31, 2013 3:10 AM   in response to: Jim Simon in response to: Jim Simon
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Yes, it can easily be corrected, by correcting the html.

Opening your book in a web browser should catch most of the errors that the Kindle software politely covers up when one is reading the file in an actual Kindle or app (including Kindle Previewer).

The book: Notjohn's Guide to Kindle Publishing: Ten Steps to Selling Your E-book on Amazon (Or Anywhere Else)

The blog: Notjohn's KDP Guide
Jim Simon

Posts: 4
Registered: 04/18/13
Re: LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer
Posted: Jun 4, 2013 10:20 AM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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The problem is that the poor display is on Amazon's web page for the kindle book. I cannot access their web page to correct the situation and Amazon either does not know how to fix the problem or does not care. I wish they would simply make the Kindle cover a static image on the Amazon web page. The way it is now, when someone clicks on "See Inside the Book", the display is a mess. As stated before, the book displays perfectly on an actual Kindle.
Notjohn

Posts: 23,757
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer
Posted: Jun 4, 2013 1:16 PM   in response to: Jim Simon in response to: Jim Simon
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Sigh!

The fault is in your html. When Look Inside was first made available to us, a lot of us were horrified at what we saw. The font face would change at odd intervals, or the size would. Whole sections would be bolded or italicized or centered. The reason was (and is) that Look Inside is a Cloud software and it interprets html more strictly than Kindle devices and apps do. (Speaking of Cloud, you might check your book on Amazon's Cloud Reader.)

The flaws are caused by one of two things: either you have uploaded a Word doc with hidden formatting instructions (probably not, if the book looks okay on the Fire tablet, which likewise will render mistakes that the older e-ink devices ignore) or you have unclosed html tags. The latter is what causes the runs of bolded, italicized, or centered text.

It's up to you to fix the mess, not Amazon. As I suggested, you might start by opening your book in Internet Explorer or Firefox or your choice of web browser. That will often reveal the starting point of the errors.

The book: Notjohn's Guide to Kindle Publishing: Ten Steps to Selling Your E-book on Amazon (Or Anywhere Else)

The blog: Notjohn's KDP Guide
Hugh F Woods

Posts: 1
Registered: 03/23/14
Re: LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer
Posted: Apr 13, 2014 9:17 AM   in response to: Chas in response to: Chas
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This is interesting. The problem is with my HTML content? OK, not so... at least with me. I have triple checked my source material and it's fine. On the amazon "Look Inside" feature and the cloud reader the book is perfect... except: The type of the 1st chapter's first paragraph is HUGE. This is after the type was huge on the 2nd chapter but then changed to the 1st chapter when I reloaded Amazon. The previewer on the Kindle site prior to publishing was perfect. The PDF download previewer was perfect. The Kindle viewer for PC is perfect. It's just the cloud reader that has a glitch... and it changes. Never heard of an HTML glitch that can change chapters on its own.
I've got inquiries in to Amazon and won't hear from them for a day, but... ?
Also, sure would be nice to be able to speak to a real person - that would make this process move so much faster.
Stephen Gore

Posts: 1
Registered: 11/04/14
Re: LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer
Posted: Apr 9, 2015 12:45 PM   in response to: Hugh F Woods in response to: Hugh F Woods
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Notjohn "sigh" suggests that this is the fault of the author/editor or whoever is responsible for formatting the work, however irrespective of whether Notjohn "sigh" is correct or not - Amazon needs to recognise that most authors do not work in HTML and may not even be familiar with HTML, as most are book authors and not necessarily computer techs or web developers. Amazon provides these tools for authors to validate their work and so, if indeed there are errors, then the tools that Amazon provides should duplicate those errors which is why they are provided, yet quite patently they do not, which means that the tools are ineffective. As the tools are the product of Amazon Kindle then effectively the buck stops with Amazon to correct this.

If the format checking tools that Amazon provide duplicated these errors, then I'm quite sure all authors would be happy to take the necessary steps to correct their formatting, after all which of us are happy to publish broken books. I suspect that Notjohn although trying to offer helpful advice is incorrect. I work exclusively with HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and have done so for nearly 20 years and both in HTML and in the Amazon preview tools my work looks just fine, but the look inside is broken similar to Hugh F Woods, my look inside has some miniaturised chapters.

Incidentally, in case anyone was wondering what Notjohn is referring to when he suggests that 'Look Inside is a Cloud software', I would point out that there is no such thing as 'a cloud software', I suspect what Notjohn was trying to explain is that Amazon utilises Cloud Infrastructure, which is true, but without going into detail on this subject, simply describes the infrastructure upon which Amazon stores and from which it accesses data and software and is no indicator of the type of software that Amazon utilises, in fact Amazon have developed a significant cloud network which is a part of their business model in provisioning such infrastructure for third parties.

Further investigation finds that many books are being displayed this way and it seems to be more the luck of the draw as to whether your look inside is correct or not. I have two other family members that publish with kindle, one of which uses a respected professional book formatting company and of the books formatted by this company about 10% 'look inside' incorrectly and after many attempts at correcting this, they (the formatting company) suggest only 'not to be concerned as they work just fine on kindle devices'.

Unless Amazon decide to fix this issue or provide better preview tools which will identify these apparent ghost formatting errors, then the above quoted advice is probably best considered, as you are not alone and as so many books are suffering from this issue, then it's unlikely that this will cause readers to single out your publication as badly executed. Most likely if it looks good on your kindle and in the previewer, this is what your readers will experience - correctly formatted.

I would have to agree with Notjohn that in many cases its simply bad formatting, but I am quite certain that in some cases something is going badly wrong with this process.

Perhaps Amazon should consider a look inside previewer based on the authors preview tool rather than an HTML based preview, after all Amazon Kindle is aimed at kindle owners, so how better to show a preview of your title.

Lastly, perhaps Amazon should consider Jim Simon's feedback 'I bet we lose sales because of the poor display', this may well be true to some degree and if that is the case, then Amazon are also losing sales and revenue for the very same reason.
booknookbiz

Posts: 4,189
Registered: 03/04/10
Re: LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer
Posted: Apr 9, 2015 3:40 PM   in response to: Stephen Gore in response to: Stephen Gore
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Stephen:

Well...in defense of notjohn's position, look at it from Amazon's point of view: they are providing a service for publishers, not authors. They have, in fact, since this all started, ended up providing FAR more "tech support" and the like than they ever intended to. It was their viewpoint, originally, that ALL eBooks were going to be made as eBooks--not word files. That MOBI files would be uploaded, that were built to correct standards. They've gone to extraordinary lengths to enable authors with little or no technical skills to publish a book that will look reasonably good, with a little effort.

May I ask--can you give us a link to the commercially-created ebook that's having the issue with the LITB? A proper-looking LITB should not be "luck of the draw." And frankly, not all formatting companies are created equal. Many are just people who clean a Word file, upload it, and hope for the best. Some produce zipped HTML files, give them to their clients, and if the outcome isn't what the client wants, tough. They charge to redo the ENTIRE book. It's a GIGO environment. Some use automated programs, like Jutoh. Some use Calibre. Some code by hand.

So: you say that this formatting company is "well-respected." Can you point us at the book, and tell us who did it? Maybe those of us here who really are professional formatters (there are a few here; I didn't mean whomever your family member used isn't, just that there are some fakes here) can assist your family member. Or you, for that matter. The LITB shouldn't look like garbage. And I'd be surprised if a competent formatting firm told a client to "not worry" about the LITB: those of us in the business know full well that it's a crucial aspect of the sale.

Hitch
2015 Top-Five Finalist, DBW Awards for EBook Formatting Excellence
We produce ebooks
Listed as an Amazon Professional Conversion Service: http://bit.ly/uFwMwb
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
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Notjohn

Posts: 23,757
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer
Posted: Apr 9, 2015 3:54 PM   in response to: Stephen Gore in response to: Stephen Gore
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Notjohn "sigh" suggests that this is the fault of the author/editor or whoever is responsible for formatting the work, however irrespective of whether Notjohn "sigh" is correct or not - Amazon needs to recognise that most authors do not work in HTML and may not even be familiar with HTML, as most are book authors and not necessarily computer techs or web developers

Sigh....

Of course it's the fault of the author/editor "or whoever is responsible." Whoever is responsible is, well, responsible.

If you can't format a book correctly, then you shouldn't be setting yourself up as a publisher of books. End of story. People have successfully uploaded Word docs, html files (zipped or unzipped), mobi files, and epubs. Indeed, I have done all those formats and have been publishing here since the DTP/KDP began in November 2007. You might start by looking at my blog.

Good luck! -- NJ

The book: Notjohn's Guide to Kindle Publishing: Ten Steps to Formatting Your E-book for Sale on Amazon (Or Anywhere Else)

The blog: Notjohn's KDP Guide
booknookbiz

Posts: 4,189
Registered: 03/04/10
Re: LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer
Posted: Apr 9, 2015 4:15 PM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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nj:

If 10% of our books didn't look right, on the LITB, I strongly suspect we'd be out of business PDQ. I can't imagine that ANY professional formatter thinks it's okay to allow 10% to look like crap. That sounds nuts to me. I'm not saying it doesn't or hasn't happened, but, really?

Hitch
2105 Top-Five Finalist, eBook Formatting Excellence, reflowable fiction
We produce ebooks
Listed as an Amazon Professional Conversion Service: http://bit.ly/uFwMwb
An INScribe Preferred Conversion Partner
http://www.booknook.biz/
Follow me on Twitter: @BookNookBiz
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
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Texan

Posts: 15
Registered: 02/04/15
Re: LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer
Posted: Apr 9, 2015 4:59 PM   in response to: Stephen Gore in response to: Stephen Gore
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Stephen, I don't often agree with NJ, however he is absolutely right in what he says.

Many of us have uploaded our books and have no problems in the Look Inside (as well as formatting being correct on all devices) I'd suggest that the problem is with your formatting. It really is a simple process and for most books even using a direct upload of a word doc will produce perfect formatting. The problem is that many authors simply aren't prepared to learn the basics of formatting using Word - or even prepared to learn how to use a few commands in word correctly. Instead they expect the "system" to adapt to them.

So as I have already said - the problem lies with you - or an incompetent "formatting" company who is making excuses - if it's as they say a problem with Amazon, how is it so many have been able to upload successfully not once, not twice but dozens of times? (inc the LI)
booknookbiz

Posts: 4,189
Registered: 03/04/10
Re: LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer
Posted: Apr 9, 2015 5:28 PM   in response to: Texan in response to: Texan
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And...

I'd also point out that it's expressly stated, several times, in the TOS (Terms of Service--the contract into which you enter, when you publish with Amazon) that it's your responsibility, not Amazon's, to provide correctly-formatted content. Directly from the Contract:

5.8 Representations, Warranties and Indemnities. You represent and warrant that: ...(d) you will ensure that all Digital Books delivered under the Program comply with the technical delivery specifications provided by us

It's simply not their responsibility. It's the publisher's job, just as it is for any other book.

I still really want to know about this unfixable LITB issue. I mean it, I'm curious.

Hitch
We produce ebooks
Listed as an Amazon Professional Conversion Service: http://bit.ly/uFwMwb
An INScribe Preferred Conversion Partner
http://www.booknook.biz/
Follow me on Twitter: @BookNookBiz
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
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Charlie S

Posts: 2,996
Registered: 01/19/14
Re: LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer
Posted: Apr 9, 2015 6:07 PM   in response to: Hugh F Woods in response to: Hugh F Woods
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If you want to send me your HTML and CSS files, I'll look at them tomorrow afternoon and tell you exactly what's wrong with them. (I'm not offering to fix them for free mind you, but I'll tell you any problems I see so that you can fix them yourself.) Include a description of what's wrong on Look Inside of the Cloud reader. And be aware that many KF8 styles will not show on either of those, nor in the first couple of generations of Kindle devices.
Charlie S

Posts: 2,996
Registered: 01/19/14
Re: LOOK INSIDE preview not the same as on Kindle Previewer
Posted: Apr 9, 2015 6:09 PM   in response to: Hugh F Woods in response to: Hugh F Woods
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