Adding page number in addition to location

Hello, I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how to add page number count when compiling to the ebook (Kindle .mobi) format.


I’ve searched the forums and the Scrivener manual, but I haven’t been able to figure out how to format that into my .mobi file for the Kindle.

I believe this is done outside of Scrivener since it’s not a feature in the compile advanced options (unless I missed it). Version 2.3.1.



There’s no way to do this in Scrivener, and I don’t believe there’s any easy way to do this outside of Scrivener, either, unless you are working with a publisher.

Out of interest, why do you even want to do this? Page numbers on the Kindle are always mapped against a printed book with an ISBN (the product details give you the “page number source”). Even then, they are of limited use since they only map to a single edition of the book. If you haven’t got a printed book with an ISBN with which your .mobi file should tally, then I don’t believe page numbers are of any use. (As a reader, they drive me crazy as they are meaningless on an electronic device where “pages” shift around - I much prefer the percentage and locations and wish page numbers weren’t included at all.)

To go into the technicalities, though, it seems that internally, Kindle files that provide page numbers include a special “APNX” file for this purpose. This file format is private and has not been released for public use by Amazon - which means that Amazon don’t really want e-books that have been created elsewhere using page numbers. A MobileRead user has reverse-engineered the format: … le-format/

However, the results of using this in independently-created ebooks are patchy at best, according to what I’ve read.

So, in other words, to the best of my knowledge, page numbers aren’t something you should worry about in books that you publish from Scrivener (or from anywhere else if you are self-publishing). They are solely for books that need cross-referencing with print books and which have been created by publishers working in conjunction with Amazon to achieve this.

This is all based on what little information I’ve been able to glean from online investigations into this matter, so if anyone knows better, please feel free to put me right. :slight_smile:

All the best,

Different strokes for different folks: I hate it when a book doesn’t have page numbers. They may be virtual in an ebook, but conceptually they work well for me–when they exist.

Too bad about the technical issues that limit their use. At least now I understand why I don’t have them as often as I’d like.

Not that I’m trying to persuade you - “different strokes”, as you say - but pages don’t even exist in an e-book. On the Kindle, for instance, you can go forward a page and then back a page and a different range of text can be displayed. When you change the default font size, all the pages will be laid out differently. Those virtual “pages” are just windows on the text and note pages at all, so any page numbers at the bottom of the screen have no meaning other than to tell you where you would be in the book if you were reading a particular print edition. That’s why they drive me crazy - they are trying to superimpose something from a different medium. They are definitely useful if you are reading an academic text and need to refer to page numbers with other students or in a paper, but for a novel or something that isn’t standing in for a definitive print edition, they are utterly pointless.

Not true for me. A page is a conceptual unit of text - screenwriters, in particular, are often obsessive about pages and page counts, and many other types of writers are not far behind. So I think being able to define a virtual page (e.g., 250 words is common for long-form fiction) is a useful thing from the writing side.

But we are talking about reading. Maybe because I’m a writer, and one aged 60 to boot, the concept of ‘page’ is deeply embedded in my psyche. That ‘location’ business on a Kindle is far, far too fine-grained to be a useful concept. But pages are digestible chunks, and even if I may land on different text every time on page 321, I still know where I am well enough to feel my way around the content and structure of the book. Likewise, chapters serve a useful purpose both as navigation destinations and chunkifiers.

Obviously, I’m not religious about this, and will read ebooks that don’t have page numbers. I have no idea how many others feel as I do, but since it’s such a strong concept for me, I thought it was worth posting a dissenting opinion for at least informational purposes. Word counts, page counts, chapter and section divisions - they are all part of the concept of ‘book’, be it physical or virtual, at least for me. I’m quite content to move beyond the literal in this regard; familiar road signs are valuable to those of us who rely on them for whatever reason.

It’s all academic anyway, since there’s no way for third-parties to provide page numbers, but I should add that if adding page numbers was something that Amazon supported via Kindlegen, then I would certainly add the option if it weren’t too difficult, for those who did want it. I’m just saying why I personally don’t care for them.

As for a page being a conceptual unit of text, I’m not sure I agree with that entirely. A page is a real-world representation of text; it’s only conceptual in software, when software tries to emulate pages, and this isn’t something that e-readers do. (Well, that’s not entirely true - iBooks goes out of its way to try to give a fake page look, but I prefer the Kindle approach.) E-readers, as I say, just provide you with a window on one scrolling piece of text; it’s more like looking at part of a scroll through a piece of cardboard with a rectangle cut out.

Screenwriters are obsessive about pages and page counts because of the old one-page-per-minute rule, and the general principle that a 120-page screenplay equals a 120-minute film. It’s not because those pages are going to be visible in the final production (of course), just that they are useful for the production stages.

I agree that “location” is a bit too fine-grained, although the concept is useful for saving locations and returning to an exact spot later. I much prefer percentages - these allow you to navigate the structure of a book easily and I get some satisfaction seeing how far through a book I am as a percentage (don’t ask me why).

Of course chapters are useful, but they are a fundamental part of a book’s structure, unlike pages, which are just a physical fact of one medium in which a text can be embodied.

That said, I’m not religious about any of this either - as long as I’ve got some way to find my way through a book and find something again, the exact mechanism doesn’t matter all that much.

All the best,

Hi Keith,

It’s just a feature that readers like to have. It was one of the big complaints when Amazon first released the Kindle which is why they eventually added that feature to the Kindle.

So even though the actual page number might be off or not mean much, for many readers it’s something they like to have. I’m one of them. I like to have the page number count available on my Kindle as I read along. Doesn’t make much sense from a programming/technical standpoint, it’s just a warm/fuzzy feature that readers seem to enjoy.

I now realize it’s not something that can be done by checking a box somewhere on a software program (Scrivener or any other). :slight_smile:



Fair enough! If there was a simple way of adding it, I’d certainly add it as an option, but as I say, Amazon don’t provide a way of doing this outside of books on which they work with the publishers to achieve it. Calibre has reverse-engineered the page numbering format, and I know another user has used that to add page numbers to a .mobi file, and I’m waiting with interest to see if Amazon will accept that or not.

All the best,

I would imagine in the future, readers reared in digital, will ask, “what’s a page number, gramps?”. :laughing: