Compiling for Kindle, page numbers and indents


First off, I’m amazed that the “compile for Kindle” (version 1.7.1) works so good. Took me a little while to figure out the basics, but right now it’s “good enough.” At least, it looks that way when using the kindle reader, kindle previewer, and my Kindle Voyage.

However, I do have a couple of questions:

  1. Page numbers - No matter my “reader” (see above), I see no “page numbers.” On my Kindle Voyage, I can select to show page numbers (in the “reading progress” options) for other ebooks. But I don’t get that option when reviewing the mobi file I copied over to my Kindle from my PC. My question is, when I actually “publish” the book (in KDP), will they do something to the mobi file so that “reading progress” options will then show “page numbers” as something to select?

  2. Indenting both right and left to make a column in the middle of the page (or, a number of lines that are “centered”). - Even if I use “preserve formatting”, the left and right indents go back to the default for the rest of the book when I compile for mobi. Based on all the reading and searching I have done, I “think” that there is nothing I can do in my version of Scriviner to change this (and I am NOT going to learn HTML (or use MS Word) just to get that to work : ).
    However, my question is, does Scrivener for the Mac provide for this functionality? I have the license for the Mac version (and the ability to “borrow” a Mac) and would consider migrating my book over to the Mac if it could preserve custom indents when compiling for mobi.

Anyway, appreciate the great program. The organizational benefits are so great, I’d use it even if it could only compile to rtf.



What´s that ´"compile for Kindle" (version 1.7.1)´you´re talking about? I only know “KindleGen” to convert text into the “mobi”-format in Scrivener.
Excuse me for asking and not answering the question (I am just interested in an answer, too) - because what I try to find out is how to position the first line of text without indent. And you are asking about indents - so may be I will get som information here … later :slight_smile:

Sorry, I wasn’t very clear on that. What I meant is that I am currently using Scrivener version 1.7.1 (for Windows). So, not the newest version, but not too old.

When in Scrivener, you can go to File/Compile. In there, in the “Format As” dropdown list, you can select “EBook (or, EBook with parts)”. This is one of several pre-defined templates of formatting, etc.

Then select “Kindle-mobi” under the “Compile For” dropdown list.

When you click on “Compile” button, you will end up with a mobi file that can be read by the Kindle for PC app, the Kindle Previewer, and (if the mobi file is copied over to it) on a Kindle reader (I have the Voyage). I think the mobi file is also ready for uploading to KDP on Amazon, but I haven’t gotten that far yet.

In order for the “compile” to Kindle-mobi to work, you will need to first install Kindlegen on the PC. The first time you do the compile, it asks for the location of the Kindlegen installation.

Basically, Scrivener packages it all up and then uses Kindlegen to create the mobi. You can also compile to an ePub file format which Kindle Previewer will open and convert to mobi. Or, you can compile to pdf, word, html, etc. I actually compile to rtf format a lot. I do it for the entire book and then email it to myself. One of my “multiple” backup strategies that I use.

As far as the “what I try to find out is how to position the first line of text without indent”, here is how I got it to work (probably a few other different ways).

  1. In the editor pane of one of the project scenes/chapters (you have to do this to every individual scene/chapter), put the cursor into the first line. I place it after the first character of the first line of the first paragraph.
  2. Then move the top slider on the ruler all the way to the left. This will move your first line all the way to the left (get rid of the indent).
  3. Select the first character (so it’s highlighted as if you are going to make a change to it).
  4. Go to Format/Formatting and select “Preserve Formatting”.

The character will now be highlighted in green and outlined.

When you compile it, the “zero” indent will be retained for the first paragraph.

Normally, I also increase the font size to 18 and “bold” before I do the preserve formatting (only for the first character). That makes the first word of my chapter standout.

The great thing is you can try all sorts of different changes, compile to mobi, and then check the results in previewer/etc. It all only takes a few minutes.

Very cool : )

Hope all that made sense.


Thank you very much! I will try that.

I used KindleGen already, but I did not like the result, because of the first line indent. All possible solutions I encountered on the net included both HTML and css formatting.
I mean - I know both HTML and css, but it would be nicer some easier way … :slight_smile:

Greetings and a happy new year!

There are no page numbers in ebooks (Kindle, ePub, etc). The text reflows to match the device, font face, and font size used. Page numbers have no meaning. Mobi files do have a location indicator. Guess its appearance might differ from device to device.

You can certainly centre text in the Mac version of Scrivener (see screenshot from Kindle book). I would imagine it must be the same in Windows. Hopefully a Windows user will be along soon to let you know what to do.



Thanks for the info about the Mac version. Since I have the Mac license, I think I’ll give it a test next week. If it works good, I’ll just do my final mobi compile on the Mac. Otherwise, I’ll just live with what the Windows version can produce for my first book (I plan on purchasing a Mac laptop in the near’ish future and will use it for my second book).

Correct about the page numbers. On my Kindle I just like using page numbers instead of location (see attachment for what I’m trying to describe; first time I did an attachment, hope it works).

Not that I really need either since the Kindle keeps track of my location (and creating a bookmark is simple and quick). Amazon just “fakes” the page numbers somehow (page number shows up as “progress options” on two books I purchased from Amazon). Even Amazon states to NOT set page numbers on the document/book/mobi file that is uploaded for KDP (I “think” I got that correct : ) due to the exact reason you stated.

Since I haven’t done an upload to Amazon yet, I just wondered if during the upload process there is an option that says something similar to “Select this option if you wish Amazon to allow fake page numbers for a reading progress option.” Guess I’ll find out.



To be clear these are not fake page numbers. Amazon’s Real Page Number [RPN] system maps their proprietary Location codes to a physical paper edition (linked by ISBN; typically the hardcover edition since the paperback doesn’t exist yet when the e-book is uploaded), to facilitate those who read in both mediums, book clubs, academic usage for citations, classroom reference and so forth. They do not allow you to make up your own mapping file, presumably because they do not want to dilute the reliability of the feature—if one can’t trust that pg. 67 in the Kindle version of a book that they are looking at will definitely map to a paper copy out there somewhere, then you won’t end up using that information for anything reliable in the future.

I have heard, that for self-publisher, all you need to do is the same thing a publisher would do and provide the ISBN to the print edition you wish to map the page numbers to. That of course rules out anyone that chooses to skip traditional paper versions of their book and registering the book with an ISBN.

A hefty disclaimer: this whole topic is rife with confusion (many people do not even know how the ISBN system works, making the whole conversation even muddier) steady doses of solid misinformation, with a stubborn lack of clarity being provided by Amazon on the matter and a huge array of technically difficult to follow forum threads across the ’net. Do they generate the RPN mappings to Kindle Locations themselves 100% of the time? Is the publisher responsible for doing so? Does the .apnx file that KindleGen can generate from an Adobe page-map.xml file allow one to provide their own RPN mapping (it seems the answer to that is a firm negative, though it should work if you plug in your own Kindle and drop the files onto it manually, and Calibre can fake it automatically when using the Send To Device feature).

But whatever the case, unless you have a registered paper edition w/ ISBN, everyone pretty much agrees that you cannot provide your readers with an RPN enhanced .mobi. The question is whether it is possible at all for anyone other than, say… HarperCollins.

Given that there is nothing but speculation and unsubstantiated assertions to be found out there, my guess is no, don’t even bother trying and definitely don’t buy an ISBN just to do this, unless you hear directly from Amazon KDP otherwise.

Wow. That all makes sense and is great information. I’m not sure I want to purchase an ISBN just to test it out, although I’ve read that if you purchase a block of 10, it drops the cost down a lot. At least this gives me some info to start with (so, I can do some searches, contact Amazon, etc.).



Assuming that you mean you want more of a block quote style, with left and right indents but justified text, rather than centre-aligned text, you’ll need to do this post-compile in a tool like Sigil. Compile to ePUB so you can edit it in Sigil, then use Amazon Previewer (or the command line) to convert it to an Amazon-approved .mobi file.

The instructions here explain setting the left indent; to set the right so as to centre the column of text, just add a “margin-right” line of the same amount.