Compiled .mobi format losing BOLD formatting

I’ve looked through the forums and other Scrivener community areas, but this one is stumping me. I have my novel in Scrivener. The chapter scenes (text docs) are set to “No Style” (font Times New Roman). The text pages were copy/pasted in from Word (also using default Times New Roman, of course, with the only formatting being italics, bold, and the occasional rare table. Scrivener shows all formatting perfectly.

When I compile, the italicized text is coming through into the compiled ebook (Kindle format) as are the tables. But NONE of the bold text is in bold. Why would Scrivener be stripping out the bold but not the italics or other styles? …and more importantly, how can I fix this – I have quite a lot of bold text and it serves a specific purpose in the book.

Using the latest version of Scrivener: (1463331) 64-bit - 03 Nov 2021

This could be possible when the italics are aplied to the text itself, and the bold text through an Editor Style. The italics will pass through Compiling unchanged, but the Style would need a mirror in the Compile Styles in the Compile Format Designer.

So, either remove Bold Editor Styles and replace with Bold text, or add a Compile Style that brings the Bold formatting forward in the resulting e-book


… but the Style would need a mirror in the Compile Styles in the Compile Format Designer.

I’m not sure what you mean by that, as any style not addressed by compile settings should implement how it looks in the editor to the best of its ability. One does not have to do twice the work, in other words, to style some text. You style it, and it compiles. It would be an awful design if every style you made while writing completely vanished when compiling.

The only reason to go in and fiddle with compile settings is if you don’t want the bold text to be bold. Then you add a rule, and then you set the formatting you want it to be.

When I compile, the italicized text is coming through into the compiled ebook (Kindle format) as are the tables. But NONE of the bold text is in bold.

To the OP, there are probably too many variables involved here to give you a simple answer. For example, you might be using a font that doesn’t have a normal bold variant but is using Black or Semibold, and that is confusing things. It may be the ebook itself is perfectly fine, but what you’re reviewing it with is not. Those are just two possibilities.

What works best is to make a little sample project of what you are trying to do, show how it doesn’t work, then use File ▸ Back Up ▸ Back Up To... with the zip compression option enabled, and drag the .zip file into your response here to attach it. (138.4 KB)

That is what I have done here, to get things started. Please open this, compile it, and see if it works for you. As you should see when examining the output directly, the only real fault here is the output spraying so much redundant bold on top of everything it’s a miracle you don’t have bold. :laughing:

<h1 id="doc1" class="title">Bold Text Test</h1>
<p class="ps1">First test: <strong><span style="font-weight:5600;">This is done using direct formatting</span></strong>.</p>
<p class="ps1">Second test: <strong><span class="strong-emphasis">This is done using a proper named style</span></strong>.</p>

And yes, in case you were wondering, the CSS file has more bold for the strong-emphasis class.

.strong-emphasis { font-size: 1.00rem; font-weight: bold; }

If you are getting the same HTML, but still are not seeing bold when compiling that test, then the problem is indeed with the ebook reader. If that does work though, then I’d start looking at differences between your project and this sample.


I’m not sure I understand, because this behavior does not seem consistent. Regular text, bold text, and italic text are all done exactly the same: ALL text is via the typographical emphasis dropdown to the right of the font. It’s ALL under “No Style” in the Style dropdown, and the the font emphasis dropdown says “Regular” for regular text, “Italic” for italicized text, and “Bold” for bold text.

The italicized text comes through in the compiled output, even though there is no “italics” default entry in the Styles Panel (and Scrivener does not treat (or recognize) this italicized text in the text document of the binder like the “emphasis” character style in the style panel. Yet the italicized text gets compiled in. But if I understand what you’re saying, in order to get basic bold, I have to add a new paragraph style to the Styles Panel?

And if that’s the only way to get this most basic of formatting, I have to actually go through every page of my 650 page manuscript highlighting all such blocks of bolded text and assign them from “No Style” to my newly created “bold” paragraph style?!

That’s an interesting observation… I copy/pasted these scene documents over from Word (where I create because of collaboration requirements). The pages were all created using Word’s default document template and Times New Roman. But I’m looking at the eBook in the Amazon Kindle Windows app…which is displaying everything by default in “Bookerly” font (although changing to any of the fonts in the Kindle PC app continues to exhibit the same behavior of displaying italics fine but not showing bold text as bold.

As an experiment, I created a new chapter and page from WITHIN Scrivener, leaving the font set to the Scrivener default editing font (Sitka Text) and “No Style” in the styles dropdown. I typed out 3 lines – one regular, one italics, and one bold. Compiled and looked. The bold displayed just like the regular in every font selected in the Amazon Kindle App. Meanwhile, italicized text came out as italicized everywhere. This is crazy. Bold is too common (even in ebooks) for this to be normal behavior!

Okay, so this is interesting. I compiled your and and then loaded it into the Windows Kindle app, which required it to convert it, and the formatting came out fine.

So I compiled MY book using the ePub 3 that you used, and the formatting comes out fine. So for an ePub, the formatting is working. But if Scrivener compiles the same copy with the “Compile For” dropdown set to Kindle (.mobi), it drops the bold text.

I feel like we’re getting somewhere. But upon checking, it seems that to submit an ebook to Amazon, it needs to be in .mobi and their site does not mention accepting epub…

Okay! Well that is interesting indeed. It could be that newer versions of the Kindle reader are even worse at reading .mobi files than they were the last time I checked (it has honestly been a while as I use Calibre to convert to AZW).

For the record, the .mobi format has been deprecated for years now, and no modern Kindle reader (or desktop program) really supports it well.

I feel like we’re getting somewhere. But upon checking, it seems that to submit an ebook to Amazon, it needs to be in .mobi and their site does not mention accepting epub…

Those may be some old instructions you found. They have recommended submitting with .epub for a long time now. Here is the full page of recommendations. Note the only reason to use Mobi according to that chart, is if you are making a fixed layout book. They specifically say to use ePub instead for reflowable.


First, thank you SO much for taking the time to reply and suggest some troubleshooting. It’s been over 10 years since I last published a book to Amazon and I don’t remember having all these issues with the v1 of Scrivener, way back when! And thanks for providing an updated link to the supported file types. If I can submit in epub (and I obviously can), then all is right with the world and I’m off to the races.

Maybe instead of sending folks to Amazon to download the Kindle viewer when selecting Kindle (.mobi), Scrivener should instead flash a notice saying, “Hey, you don’t want to do this. use ePub instead!”

Thanks again!:beers:

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Ha! Yeah, well it may be getting to be time to remove that setting entirely. We only left it in because it is a bit more convenient if you’re doing your own proofing, as you can skip the conversion step in some other tool.

But if it isn’t working so well at this point, and other tools that we can’t integrate with as easily work better, then the reasons for having it are less compelling.

Hopefully they just stop being silly about it and add .epub support to their book readers like the rest of the world. There was a glimmer of hope when they set up KDP to accept them… but here we are years later.