Monday, May 9, 2011

Any Of My Readers Experienced Formatting For Kindle Publication?

If so, please email me.  I have a few questions to ask you about adjusting the HTML that Kindle uses.

UPDATE: I am using Mobipocket, which does a nice job of converting Microsoft Word into a format that Kindle loves.  Unfortunately, footnotes do not seem to be active; you can't click a footnote reference in the final document to jump to the footnote, nor jump back to the reference.  It seems a bit odd that there would be no capacity for this, unless Kindle is strictly for fiction.

UPDATE 2: Even more frustrating: I discovered that it works best to read a Word document into OpenOffice, and export it as an HTML.  The footnotes work perfectly in a browser--but when I either use Mobipocket to convert the HTML to a PRC file, or do the conversion from HTML on the Amazon Kindle page, the footnotes do not work in the preview window.  I do not know if this is a problem of the preview window, or a problem that these endnotes are not working.  There does not seem to be a way to take the PRC file and load it into Kindle for PC, or to put the output of the Kindle page conversion somewhere that I can load it into Kindle for PC.


  1. Have you checked out Amazon's e-publishing FAQ? The gist I got from it is that the formatting is really stripped down (Think in terms of the ORIGINAL idea of HTML being the best a platform could render, rather than a virtual page layout language). Or think in terms of html 1.0....

  2. I've got two books published on Kindle. I've waded through formatting the HTML from the Kindle engine's conversion, and I've submitted bare HTML. Both seem to work just fine.

    There are a number of HTML features that don't seem to work in Kindle.

  3. I'm not yet familiar with E-book formats (including but not limited to the Kindle format), but I expect I'll need to become familiar soon. My plan is to read the source to Calibre (, an open-source E-book conversion and management tool written in Python. It looks like just about the best tool available, and Python source is always easy to read, which is a bonus. On Ubuntu Linux, you can download the Calibre source by doing "sudo apt-get install bzr" (if you don't already have Bazaar installed) followed by "bzr branch lp:calibre".

    I don't know if you'll find the answer to your question re: Kindle formatting in the Calibre sources or not, but more reference material is never a bad thing IMHO. As long as it's high-quality reference material, at least -- and from what I've seen of Calibre so far, it's quite high-quality.

  4. Karl: feel free to share which features don't work. Can you give some examples of a table of contents? I presume that you use NAME for the chapter headers, and then reference those names from the TOC. What about an index? Or is that just silly in a reader that lets you do searches?

  5. Kindle definitely supports "live" footnotes that you can click on to go to the note, so it's some sort of problem with the conversion.

    Might just be Mobipocket not being very good?

  6. I don't know. I wonder if the problem might be that the preview window on the Kindle conversion site does not support live footnotes. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get the PRC file from Mobipocket to load into Kindle for PC to tell for sure.

  7. I can't speak specifically to the Kindle, since I have a Nook, but Calibre's built in conversion seems to work well, and I think it can convert to Kindle format. It's a free program, so it may be worth it for you to just try it and see if it handles the footnotes correctly.

    You may also want to see if there's a Kindle conversion plugin for OpenOffice. I have one that converts any format OOo can read into the EPUB format for my Nook, and that also works well - I believe it even does footnotes correctly, but I could be wrong.

    Here's one that I found with a quick Google search. I have no experience with it, but it may be a good place to start.