Bookshelf | Reports | Community | KDP Select

Home » Amazon KDP Support » Ask the Community » Formatting

Thread: USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK


Reply to this Thread Reply to this Thread Search Forum Search Forum Back to Thread List Back to Thread List

Permlink Replies: 21 - Pages: 2 [ 1 2 | Next ] - Last Post: Oct 14, 2016 4:38 AM Last Post By: Skio
jtbigtoad

Posts: 9,273
Registered: 08/01/10
USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
Posted: Jan 1, 2013 7:08 PM
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
Note: this post is a "cleaned up version" of my older post:
WORD FILE TO KINDLE READY MOBI BOOK.

http://forums.kindledirectpublishing.com/kdpforums/thread.jspa?threadID=20267&tstart=0


USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
At present, the KDP Bookshelf has been giving some authors/publishers problems when using Word and even Word.HTM as generated using the "Webpage Filtered method.

For me, I have had great success publishing my Kindle books built with Word, converted to a Webpage Filtered, and then processed into a MOBI book with Calibre.

With this method, I can control the start position of the book, the existence of a functional, Table of Contents that is accessed by the Kindle's go to menu, and also a functioning "NCX" table of contents that will responded to the directional controls on the Kindles that possess joysticks.

It will respond TO ANY of the simulated devices in both the online and downloadable previewers. The appearance of the book is identical in a Kindle 2 as well as the Kindle Paper White – which is noted for its finicky behavior. (Unfortunately I can't find my Kindle touch, so I haven't been able to test it but the previewer indicates that it works. – and this includes the LOOK! Inside! – All the formatting is the same throughout.

I have not had any reports back from any of the I stuff, but I haven't had any complaints either.

Essentially this method seems to produce a rock stable Kindle book that does not vary across any of the platforms available.

To start with, I am using Word 2003 – But I think, any version of Word will do the same.

I used Word.doc as my working file and I avoid DOCX files entirely. I believe beginning with Word 2007 DOCX was the automatic file extension, but if you check your help files, you will find that it will also save as a Word.doc file. In spite of the fact, that DOCX is supposed to work for the KDP conversion, there continue to be complaints of problems.

When building the book, I use styles as my fundamental formatting tool.

I have several "Standard Styles"

FIRST-LINE INDENT: one The first is an indentation style that has a first-line indent of 0.38 inches. You may want to have this lager.
This is based on NORMAL style which is block text with no indent Times New Roman Font Size 12 and no space before or after applied.

All of my styles are based on NORMAL, and if you push a clear formatting icon it will convert whatever is selected Into Normal Style.

FOR NON-INDENTATION: I simply use Normal Style as described above.

IMPORTANT EDIT!

If you Are using this guide to build your kindle book in Word, and Do Not plan to use Calibre to convert it to MOBI,

You need to set the First-Line Indent to 0.01" -- that is 1/100th of an inch -- to prevent auto indent from makei a 1/2" indent in these paragraphs!

FOR HEADINGS: I will base them on Normal style and center them and usually make them bold also. I use font size 20 to 26, depending on the number of letters and the style of heading that I desire. I will also apply space before and after to get whatever effect I desire. 12 points equal one line of space, and six points is a half line, but Kindle does not do half lines so it will count as a whole line.

Be aware also that there is a little box you can check that says, "Don't add space between paragraphs of the same style. If you check this your lines will not "spread apart" due to space before and after and if you leave it unchecked it will cause your lines to spread apart. You can use this effect to change the way your text is formatted.

I do not use bullet points or numbered lists. If I need to, I will make a pseudo-bullet point or numbered list. This is accomplished with the space after of 12 points, and the paragraphs are set with a hanging indent of 0.4 inches, and the initial indent set to zero. Instead of a bullet, I like to use a tilde (~) as this is a reliable character that all Kindles will print. This sequence is to put the tilde, then two spaces, and whatever the subject matter is.

For a numbered list, I will simply substitute the number for the tilde.

Also, different effects can be achieved using the centered text button or either the left or right positioned text button.

I think it is very important to base all of your styles on NORMAL and to make sure that your NORMAL style is as clean and simple as possible. I have seen some books that are formatted with multiple, multiple layers of format styles that are chained together to create a style, and I am convinced that this is where a lot of people's problems arise when the formatting breaks down – but that is just my own opinion.

CREATION OF A TABLE OF CONTENTS:
I like to build my table of contents while I am building the book.

For the table of contents, I like to "Hand Build" the Table of Contents.

One of the "Rules" is that you should never have a page break except at the end of a chapter (usually)

Word creates a new page whenever a page break is placed. I use bookmarks and hyperlinks to build the Table of Contents. In the "upper left-hand corner" of the first page of the new chapter, I will put a bookmark with the following format: ch01, ch02, ch03… I place the bookmark on the first line of the page and immediately do a line feed (enter key) to move the text down I will also do a clear formatting on that line to make it "NORMAL STYLE."

The rule is there can be only one bookmark of a particular name (I like to use lowercase letters) the bookmark must start with the letter, there can be no spaces and only alphabetical letters and numerals can be used (no "special characters." You can have as many hyperlinks that point towards a particular bookmark if you like. Also, you must create the bookmarks before you can create the hyperlinks.

To build the Table of Contents, I simply have a page (I like to put it in the front part of the book – more on this later) that has a list of all the chapter names in single file down the page. I will then hyperlink each one of the entries to the bookmark of the chapter it corresponds to.

In addition to the table of contents entries, I will also bookmark the internal cover (it is given its own private line on a single line page I place the bookmark first and then insert the cover image that I desire. – I like to have my book start on the cover, so I will bookmark this "start."
The title page is bookmark "title."

If there is a prologue, I will bookmark it "prologue."

Interestingly enough, I will bookmark the Table of Contents page, "toc." (More on this later also.)

I have found that word will let you do bold, italics, and I avoid using underlined because I think they look ugly, but they were also.

I like to make the first paragraph in each chapter, a non-indented paragraph and the first letter I have as being bold and font size of 20 this produces a nice effect.

You should never use spaces or the tab key to generate indentations. Also, you should not use linefeeds (the enter key) to generate vertical space – this is not reliable across all platforms.


I keep my formatting as "Bread and Butter" simple as possible.

For space between "scenes" (sub chapters), I will use a centered string of six tildes ~~~~~~ that are set to font size 24 and centered and bolded. This makes a nice smooth indicator of time passage (incidentally I call the style Time Span.)

When I am through with my book, and pleased with the appearance, I will convert my Word.doc file to a Word.htm file via the Webpage, Filtered method. If your brand of Word does not have "Webpage, Filtered," you can use "Webpage" instead.

There is no need to use a zip file for this.

I will then start the Calibre program:

CALIBRE FREE DOWNLOAD!

http://calibre-ebook.com/download

I will use the "Add Books" icon located on the left side of the workbench. With this, you can browse for your desired book file. You simply click on it and tell the program OK, and it will upload it and put it into your "Calibre Library" across the top of the library display, there are headings - title, author, date, size, ratings, tags, series, and publisher. Clicking on your book entry under any of these headings will allow you to edit the heading indicated. I like to go ahead and put the title of the book, the author, and the publisher ("Big Toad Publishing" – Well, I can dream can't I?) In the early stages of the book's development I would use titles like book file #1 book file number two, etc.

The next order of business is to convert the HTML file into a MOBI book click the number of the library entry of the book you wish to convert (the first book will number 1.) Next, click the Convert Books button – is a brown color you are then presented with the book conversion parameters in the upper left-hand corner it shows you the type of book you are converting (ZIP – four zipped HTML) and in the right-hand corner will be the book file type you are converting to. This should be MOBI, if it is not there is a little arrow you can click on and select MOBI from a very long list of book file types.

A window will pop up that has a list of conversion factors to select from the top button is "Metadata" – the only thing here you will do is select the cover for your book. There is a small computer screen next to an empty line about two-thirds of the way down on the page if you hover your cursor on it, it will tell you to browse for your cover. Clicking this button will allow you to browse – I like to open the image file that the HTML conversion creates and simply select the cover image that was included in the word file – more on this later.)

Each one of the icon buttons will give you a dizzying array of choices and decisions to make – I simply ignore them all and click on the "Table of Contents" button. The only thing you need to do here his click the checkbox on the top line entitled "Force creation of Table of Contents."

Next, I click the "MOBI Output" button the second line down is "name of table of contents" box. I like to use "~ Table of Contents ~" this will be the name of your "MOBI TOC." Make sure the "do not add table of contents to book" button is NOT checked or nothing will work right – also make sure the "put table of contents in the front of the book instead of the rear." Is NOT checked. This will put your MOBI TOC in the very front of your book before the title page – I think it looks creepy there!

You will note now that your book will have two tables of contents, your Word TOC and the MOBI TOC. If the Word TOC is interesting, I like to put it up near the front where it will show in the LOOK! Inside! – This is if the chapters have "interesting titles" – if it is just a "Plane Jane" table of contents – Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3,… Don't bother as this is just kind of dopey looking – put it in the rear.

The only thing else you need to check here is to make sure the type of MOBI conversion is set to "old" – not "both" or "new" – this forces the book to have a MOBI 6 conversion which will work on all Kindles. If you want to try and do the new conversion or a both conversion, you can attempt this. This, however, is what I think causes MOBI files to be rejected by the KDP Bookshelf.

Now, here are some rules about your Word Table of Contents.

The Calibre conversion uses your table of contents to create its own MOBI TOC. No matter how you list the items in YOUR Table of Contents, the MOBI TOC will rearrange them and put them in the order that they appear in the book (first to last) that first item listed, will be the start position of the MOBI Book! And your Kindle Book!

Like I said, I like to use the cover and I will bookmark it start (it really doesn't matter what you call it – you could call it sgdtryheglop and it will be the start position of your book.

I like to have the book open on its cover the first time it is viewed. – this will be the Word Cover – not the official Kindle Cover provided by the KDP bookshelf. There's no way to access this on the books start up; however, if the Go To link for Cover is clicked the "KDP Cover" will be the one displayed.

To get the MOBI Book out of the Calibre program you need to click on the little disk drive display over near the right-hand side. The little drop-down arrow has one choice that says, "Save only MOBI format to disk." – this is the choice you want.

When you click this, you get to browse for the folder you would like to put this in. I like to put it with the book file that created it. When you click on it, it will create a file there with the author's name as its title clicking on this will open it in a sub folder will have the book's title. Opening this folder, there will be three items one of these will be the MOBI book, and it will have whatever title you gave it in the Calibre program.

You can e-mail this to your Kindle appliances using the "personal document service (@Kindle.com)" and view it on your Kindle. This will give you EXACTLY the same book as if you published the MOBI book file with the KDP bookshelf. – the personal document conversion service uses a MOBI 6 conversion and that's what the KDP will use when you feed it a MOBI 6 file.

Also, you can double-click on that MOBI file and open it with the Kindle for PC (or Mac) program, if you have that installed on your computer.

You can do this as many times as you like as you "futz" with the book file.

Here is an example of some books that I created using this method:

Charlotte: A Haunted High School Adventure 1
http://www.amazon.com/Charlotte-Haunted-Highschool-Adventure-ebook/dp/B005YCZBBC

HAL O'WEENIE: A Haunted High School Adventure 2
http://www.amazon.com/HAL-WEENIE-Adventure-ADVENTURES-ebook/dp/B007DKVWHK

CASSANDRA: A Haunted High School Adventure 3
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AT650I2

I hope everyone enjoys this post.

JT

;)

writerone

Posts: 5
Registered: 12/03/07
Re: USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
Posted: Jan 2, 2013 6:07 AM   in response to: jtbigtoad in response to: jtbigtoad
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
Excellent post! Thanks so much for the easy to understand steps. I've been clueless about using Calibre to get to Kindle!
Stephanie L Kis...

Posts: 174
Registered: 09/29/12
Re: USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
Posted: Jan 2, 2013 11:06 AM   in response to: jtbigtoad in response to: jtbigtoad
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
Thank you for this... because I have the joy of reformatting my book when I get home from work. Since I checked last (about 2 weeks ago), my 'Look Inside' is now completely in italics, and I must assume that the actual book is, now, too. Didn't used to be. Damn gremlins running around in Amazon's servers.

Stevie
joeycorp

Posts: 26
Registered: 04/05/12
Re: USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
Posted: Jan 26, 2013 2:49 PM   in response to: jtbigtoad in response to: jtbigtoad
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
I've been hearing reports that Kindle is rejecting books formatted on Calibre. i used it with my last book, converting straight from an html file to .mobi with Calibre and had no problem, but apparently Amazon is rejecting a lot of Calibre-created files. Have you run into this?

Joanne
jtbigtoad

Posts: 9,273
Registered: 08/01/10
Re: USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
Posted: Jan 26, 2013 4:35 PM   in response to: joeycorp in response to: joeycorp
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
I keep the formatting of my books very basic.

I write basic "Story Books" (just paragraphs and chapters with images thrown in.

I use Word.DOC not DOCX and render in webpage (filtered).

I also "Hand Build" my Table of Contents.

I have never had a problem.

Note I keep the conversion to MOBI(6) -- the old style, not the "Both"

I think that it is the use Both option in the conversion (found in the MOBI Output Tab) that is causing rejections, (just my theory)

The last book I uploaded was Jan 7th with No problems.

My look inside went all bold for a few days, but self corrected (thank Goodness)

JT

;)
punchygonzales

Posts: 2,853
Registered: 11/26/11
Re: USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
Posted: Mar 23, 2013 5:20 PM   in response to: joeycorp in response to: joeycorp
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
There was a brief period of time when Calibre experimented with KF8 content, and people who used THAT build were having problems uploading to Amazon. They quickly dropped it though and went back to the old way of doing things, and there were no more problems.

Calibre just recently added KF8 compatibility again, but they don't seem to be having any difficulties this time with it.

Calibre, in my opinion, works best for people who don't use styles of any kind. No indents, and regular block formatting. Let Calibre create the indents and take out the spaces between paragraphs instead. (It has options for doing that.) Keep everything in Times or Courier 12pt. Use Heading1 or Heading 2 for chapter headings and let Calibre create the TOC from those. Save out of Word as RTF. Unfortunately, RTF doesn't allow you to have photographs within the text, so if you have any (aside from the cover photo which you upload separately to Calibre) I would download OpenOffice and convert the RTF file to ODT while also adding the photos there if you have any. Calibre can open an RTF or ODT file fine, but it won't open a Word doc. Just keep everything simple and write in plain old block format like you were writing for your blog. Italics, bold, and underlining are fine to use.
katieelle

Posts: 20
Registered: 02/16/12
Re: USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
Posted: Mar 25, 2013 12:11 PM   in response to: punchygonzales in response to: punchygonzales
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
"I've been hearing reports that Kindle is rejecting books formatted on Calibre. i used it with my last book, converting straight from an html file to .mobi with Calibre and had no problem, but apparently Amazon is rejecting a lot of Calibre-created files. Have you run into this?"

Amazon will reject Calibre Mobi files (maybe all mobi files) that do not have a cover. You need to include the cover. Amazon will replace the cover inside the mobi with whatever you upload on the KDP control panel, but you have to have it included in the initial mobi, perhaps as a placeholder for the NCX TOC?

Other than that, I've never had an issue.

I have my own flavor of a guide to word/mobi conversion with Calibre on my website http://www.klerotica.com/?p=114

Edited by: katieelle on Mar 25, 2013 12:11 PM
Mrs Y S Kerr

Posts: 81
Registered: 03/08/13
Re: USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
Posted: Mar 31, 2013 1:24 AM   in response to: jtbigtoad in response to: jtbigtoad
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
Thank you for creating this page. I've learned so much!
Christine Tierney

Posts: 2
Registered: 05/18/13
Re: USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
Posted: May 18, 2013 12:08 PM   in response to: Mrs Y S Kerr in response to: Mrs Y S Kerr
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
So glad I found this thread!!! Very informative! I had JUST learned about Calibre...installed it to new computer that I got just for my writing and then stumbled upon something that said Kindle wouldn't take it! Talk about frustrated!
Thanks everyone for your information on this. Hoping this works!
Now to figure out HOW to get book off of old computer and re-work it! This is all new to me! I have wanted to write a book since I was 8 yrs old. Here's to new beginnings for this old Grandma!
jtbigtoad

Posts: 9,273
Registered: 08/01/10
Re: USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
Posted: May 18, 2013 3:33 PM   in response to: Christine Tierney in response to: Christine Tierney
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
If you have more than one book, I strongly recommend you look into the "Dropbox" system.

Dropbox is a private file share system that is free.

Basically You Have a Folder in Your Documents Called "Dropbox"

Anything you stick in the Dropbox folder will automatically be saved to the "cloud"

If you have two computers, and install Dropbox on both each computer will have a Dropbox folder, and they will share identical contents.

I work using Windows Word (2003) and keep my book files in the dropbox folder.

That way, anything I do with the book folder in one computer will also be on the other computer. I have a very goofy way of archiving (but it works)

I will save a file in the format as follows:

013 005 018 PM + the filename. Every time I open the book file, the first thing I do is save as the book file with the new date code.

Tomorrow the book code will be:

013 005 019 AM + the filename. The only thing you change is the 018 to 019, and the PM to AM. If you view your files in the "Details" view, they will all line up nice and even in the one on the bottom is the latest file in the dropbox folder.

Like I said, I work with word.doc files and whenever I want to check the book out I do a save as webpage filtered and use Calibre to convert it to a MOBI book, there I can view it directly on my Kindle for computer or send it to the @ Kindle dot COM address for conversion. – this is for Real Kindle owners only.

JT

;)
easyseries

Posts: 42
Registered: 02/03/11
Re: USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
Posted: Aug 14, 2013 4:09 AM   in response to: jtbigtoad in response to: jtbigtoad
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
I have a problem in that my cover on Calibre doesn't show up on my Kindle For PC Library page. Calibre's (Help section) says its a bug in the Amazon program. So I've downloaded their new KindleForPC today and it still doesn't work.

Ive used Calibre before and there's been no problems. Not sure why it's doing this all of a sudden. The cover shows up in MetaData page on Calibre AND on Conversion page.

??
jtbigtoad

Posts: 9,273
Registered: 08/01/10
Re: USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
Posted: Aug 15, 2013 8:30 AM   in response to: easyseries in response to: easyseries
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
Ive used Calibre before and there's been no problems. Not sure why it's doing this all of a sudden. The cover shows up in MetaData page on Calibre AND on Conversion page.

I have given up on using the KFPC (Kindle For PC) program to see covers.

If you purchase a Kindle book, the cover will, of course, show.

If you delete (from your archive) and re purchase the book, you will see the OLD cover!

I found a link that has a file path, but I can’t follow it!

C:\Users\<my user name>\AppData\Local\Amazon\Kindle\Cache\covers
I cannot follow this.

This MAY be the Key to correcting the problem.

I send my MOBI book to the Document conversion service and even those do not show covers, but my Kindle fire (HD) will.

JT

;)
Frederick Flynn

Posts: 1
Registered: 08/22/13
Re: USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
Posted: Aug 22, 2013 4:57 AM   in response to: jtbigtoad in response to: jtbigtoad
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
there is a free service called smashwords that runs the conversions to all formats, but there are restrictions afterwards. Has anyone heard good about smashwords?
davidwaine1

Posts: 943
Registered: 07/03/11
Re: USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
Posted: Aug 23, 2013 2:59 AM   in response to: Frederick Flynn in response to: Frederick Flynn
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
Yes, I have my books out on Smashwords as well. There are no more restrictions than there are with KDP. Obviously you can't publish a book on Smashwords if it is enrolled in KDP Select. Smashwords puts your book out in all electronic formats (including Kindle) and places them for sale on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble etc. as well as from their own website. If you already have your KDP version on sale at Amazon, I would recommend disabling distribution to Amazon to avoid confusing customers. This is easily done. You will need to download the Smashwords Style Guide free from their website because their requirements are very specific. This is because the conversion software (which they call the 'Meatgrinder') expects your file to be just so. If it isn't, the Meatgrinder won't like it. Follow the directions in the Style Guide, however, and it is straightforward enough. All uploads must be Word (.doc) files and include the cover.

My own experience with SW is that they are fine to work with, but don't expect huge sales. Kindle still dominates the ebook market. Whether that applies for evermore, however, is another matter. If it changes in the future, at least you will be available in all formats.
katieelle

Posts: 20
Registered: 02/16/12
Re: USING WORD AND CALIBRE TO BUILD SIMPLIFIED A KINDLE BOOK
Posted: Aug 27, 2013 5:04 AM   in response to: katieelle in response to: katieelle
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
I've been hearing reports that Kindle is rejecting books formatted on Calibre. i used it with my last book, converting straight from an html file to .mobi with Calibre and had no problem, but apparently Amazon is rejecting a lot of Calibre-created files. Have you run into this?

I have found that if you don't include a cover within the mobi, then KDP will reject your calibre generated mobi. The funny part is that it will substitute whatever you upload for the cover in your book, but it seems to need it to be there as a placeholder. There may be other things that make it reject it, but the idea that nothing out of it works is obviously hogwash.

I use a slightly different method than the above when I use calibre, using word styles to build the TOC. http://www.klerotica.com/?p=114
Legend
Helpful Answer
Correct Answer

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in all forums