Determining eBook start position for Kindle


I’ve been trying to set the book start position for MOBI files which I then upload to Amazon. The problem is that when they get uploaded, Amazon seems to be changing the start position to the middle of the table of contents (a few pages before Chapter 1).

I’ve tried using both the ebook_start tag and the ‘Book begins after front matter’ layout option. Initially the generated MOBI file seems fine, but once uploaded to Amazon via Kindle Direct the start position changes in the version that Amazon publishes.

Has anyone else come across this problem?


Is this just the Kindle’s sync-to-last-page feature? If I download a book, read through it a bit, and then remove it from the device, when I download it again in the future it will automatically scroll to where I left off.

Try using the Go To function to “Beginning”. That should go to whatever section the <$ebook_start> tag is within.

No I don’t believe it’s the Kindle’s automatic sync. When I select ‘Go To Beginning’ it still takes me to the table of contents rather than the first chapter.

Looking online I see a few other people using scrivener are having the same issue but no-one has found a solution.

Okay, and going back to your compile settings, have you double-checked to make sure “Book begins after front matter” in the Layout compile option pane is disabled? I see you mention experimenting with that, and want to make sure it is in the correct position at this point. Since this inserts its own start code based on the layout of the book, Scrivener will intentionally ignore the ebook-start placeholder you created.

Yeah that checkbox seems to have no effect when the MOBI file is uploaded to Kindle Direct.

The MOBI file that Scrivener generates works fine if loaded directly on a Kindle, but Amazon seems to mangle the book starting position when the file’s uploaded.

As far as I know we’re doing everything correct within the MobiPocket specification, as evidenced by its behaviour before uploading.

Researching the issue further, I do see postings, even on Amazon’s KDP forum, asking why this happens (including multiple reports of the middle-of-toc initial starts). It is, as far as I can see, nothing specific to Scrivener and an issue that needs to be taken up with Amazon. Even people hand-coding their Mobi source files have the same issue.

Thanks for your help AmberV. I’ll take the issue up with Amazon.

To output to kindle, I compile from Scrivener to epub, then tweak the epub using Sigil. Whatever file in Sigil has the Semantics of `Text’ has always been the Beginning on any epub I convert to mobi using Kindle Previewer.

If this is a new issue on the Kindle forums, it may be that this workaround also fails, though. Try it and see if you can’t get your book to behave properly.

  • asotir

Does anyone actually complain about a book opening on the first page? A couple of taps and you’re at the preface or chapter 1, and from there the setting never comes into effect unless your place in the book gets wiped out somehow. I, for one, would never care one way or another. If it opened half way through the ToC, I’d shrug, back up, pick the first chapter, and get on with my reading.

The only that really annoys me is when the publisher doesn’t take the time to create chapter points in the ToC, mainly because a ToC makes it easy to get to wherever you want to go when you open the book. If I can tap Chapter 1 and start reading, I’m fine, doesn’t matter where it opens. I usually save the preface and all that for after the read, since they often contain spoilers.

That said, the bug that causes the book to open halfway through the ToC is a bit annoying and I hope they do fix that.While on the KDP forums, I did note another tag that some people are using to indicate the start position, that we are not using. I don’t think it will help us out though because these same people were complaining that with both that and the NCX start position indicator the books still got mangled on upload.

Hi, does this “book begins after front matter” layout option exist in the Windows version also? I can’t find it.

If not, can you please tell me how to set a start tag?

Appreciate your help!