Adding running head for ebooks?

I’m about finished with edits on my book and am researching the complicated but exciting (woohoo) task of compiling at present.

A couple of experimental compilations have proven successful, but one thing is bugging me: when I preview an epub or mobi on my phone, for example, at the top of the screen, where the running head usually is, all I see is the Book Name or file name. Many of my ebooks share a similar fate; see the attached screenshot from a Harry Potter ebook:

You can see at the top that the title is the running head; instead of the book title, I’d like the CHAPTER TITLE to be listed.

My book has several chapters. When a reader is in, say, Chapter 4, I’d like them to be able to glance up at the top of the screen and see ‘BOOK NAME - Chapter 4’ or similar (at LEAST ‘Chapter 4’). With ebooks, usually you can only see the page number you’re on, not the chapter.

Is there any way to automatically add this information when compiling?

I found a jury-rigged version that seems to put a running head on the PAGE itself, but that takes up precious screen real-estate, and I’d still have the actual file name running at the top of the screen, just now with the chapter name below it. Not what I want.

Perhaps more worryingly, when I googled this problem, I found the following response from the Scrivener twitter account to a user with a similar issue: “Could you please let me know what you mean by “running head”?”

If they don’t even know what a running head is…I fear I’m out of luck :confused:

Anyone got any advice?

David, our main Twitter watcher, is not one of the tech support team, but handles sales, marketing promotions and financials. He knows Scrivener well, of course, but passes questions like this on to the support team proper who know all the ins and outs.

In response to your question, there’s no way to define running headers for e-books. Many e-readers will put the book title at the top of the page or app, but that is not part of the file itself, it’s just a choice the e-reader makes. (I recommend taking a look at other books in the same app to confirm this.) The ePub format used to define a way of assigning headers (via “oeb-page-head” in the HTML file), but as far as I know, there were no e-readers out there that ever actually supported this. This way of defining running heads in e-books was deprecated in the ePub 3.0.1 specification (see … -head-foot ) with no replacement to the best of my knowledge.

Edit: There’s an interesting read on the issue here: … s-for-now/

All the best,

Well that’s quite depressing! Thanks for the clarification about the twitter account–I’d considered posting my query there first, then grew discouraged when googling turned up that response.

Headers seem like such a necessity, especially when you can’t easily ‘see’ where you are in a book, so the idea that they’re being blocked at the app level just strikes me as ludicrous. I assumed that none of the books I’d opened up had taken advantage of a header, not that they couldn’t display one at all.

Thanks again for the clarification; I suppose I’ll join that blog poster in the long, fruitless wait…

Some devices and software do it, others do not. My Paperwhite doesn’t put a header anywhere on screen, you can even switch off the progress / numbering stuff at the bottom and go with pure text, no page adornments (but it’s easy to tell where you are by just tapping on the top of the screen, it prints the chapter name in the footer). But on the Fire, same company even, you’ve got this static header you can’t get rid of. I guess the silver lining is that your readers will be used to whatever your book looks like on their preferred reading system.

Instead of a header, the structure of the book is what often matters. Many readers have a way of printing the current section name somehow, somewhere, but to get that they need a good list of chapter names. Scrivener does build this for you, so if you go into the ToC button on your reader and see your chapter names, most people will be able to navigate the book easily enough, depending on the various features they have available in their readers.