Ebook export: Reflowable vs fixed format? How to compile?

Hi :slight_smile:
I recently switched to Scrivener. I imported my last ebook, arranged everything new in Scrivener and exported it as Epub to publish. Now there’s a problem: amazon won’t let me update my ebook with the new version because the new file is “fixed” and amazon needs “reflowable”. How do I export in a “reflowable format”?

How can I solve this issue? I really need to get this update out and a lot of work went into the new version. Copying everything back into my old application is no option. :disappointed_relieved:

Please help.

Unzip the ePub-file, look for the Content.opf file and edit this. Remove any line that references a fixed mode, spreads, orientation or a fixed size in pixels.

Also, in the body tag of every scene in the e-book may be a reference to a fixed ayout. You’ll have to remove that part of the line as well.

The e-book Editor Sigil can help make this easier.

I don’t think Scrivener can even Compile Fixed Layout e-books.

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Thanks! Ok - I’ll remove it manually. But Scrivener compiled my book in a fixed layout. I pasted my text in and compiled via Scrivener. Amazon says: fixed. Weird?

omg it worked!!! :slight_smile: Thank you so much! My book is now online. Scrivener used em everywhere except the bordered headline padding. Maybe not as intented?

Scrivener does not produce fixed layout ebooks (you’d need a layout oriented program like InDesign for that). Amazon’s detection algorithm is mistaken in this case, and for unusual reasons since nobody else I’ve seen has ever posted a question like this. I wouldn’t be able to say what is going on without more data, unfortunately. But if you can drop your ePub into Kindle Previewer, change the font size, and observe words flowing from one page to the next in response, getting larger or smaller as you change settings—it’s reflowable.

The ‘em’ and ‘rem’ units are not related to fixed layout, I’m not sure where you got that idea from. They are in fact more along the lines of its antithesis. It is a very relative unit, designed to scale with a base value, and is thus very useful for reflowable content. It is in other words a way of saying, “this heading should be roughly 2.08 times larger than body text”.


Thanks for your reply, but I come from web development and I know what em are. Read again, please: Scrivener may have snuck in a “px” value as it seems. Guess that’s not intended by the devs.

Fact is:

  • I created everything in Scrivener
  • Scrivener compiled a “px” value for the padding of the “Section with title (bordered)” style.
  • Amazon detected this and once removed everything was fine

I will check if I can recreate the issue with a blank document

Yup, same result. Empty doc, selected the “Section with title, bordered” Style and exported as epub3. Stylesheet.css shows this:

/* Amend title to have lines above and below. */
.bordered-title { margin-left: 10%; margin-right: 10%; border-top: 1px solid black; padding-top: 12px; border-bottom: 1px solid black; padding-bottom: 12px; }

Files attached
Bugtest.zip (15.7 KB)

Maybe I did sth wrong? If not maybe it helps to find the issue.

Cheers :slight_smile:

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Hmm, a ‘px’ setting, while discouraged in ebook design, isn’t by itself something reserved for fixed layout designs. It’s strange to me that this would be the sole trigger in their uploader determining that, but I guess it is. Perhaps that is a new change, and we will be hearing more about it now, but to me that strikes me as a mistaken assumption in the first place, and maybe it will be fixed on Amazon’s end.

By the way, as a web developer you may like seeing this:

  1. Double-click on the Ebook compile Format in the left sidebar to duplicate and edit it.
  2. Click on the CSS pane.

There are three settings along the top of the CSS columns. The default state is most broadly useful, where there are some prefab things being generated by the GUI settings elsewhere in the format designer. On the left there are some more design-oriented things, and you can modify this side. You can also set this pane to just ignore the GUI entirely and implement your CSS design completely.

But at any rate, here is where you will find the px measurements, and can modify them to whatever values you found suitable when fixing it. Now it will compile the way you need without further post-compile adjustment.

From a design standpoint I feel we are using the px unit correctly here. We want the line adornments to be a certain distance from the text regardless of its scale. We also want the adornment to be a certain size itself, 1px hairline. This is why I find it odd Amazon considers this to be “fixed layout”.

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Wow, thanks. I really like seeing this :slight_smile:

Sadly I can’t try to re-upload with the px values still in the stylesheet to see if amazon just had some kind of hiccup. Well … whatever the issue was, let’s see what happens in the future. Thanks for your help!

interestingly amazon only had a problem with the padding because I replaced the padding with em but left the px line as it was in my first try to fix the problem - which worked.


Thanks for the update. We’ll see if we start getting more reports of this now, or if it was a hiccup. I’ve reclassified the topic as Scrivener general, since Mac users have the same presets and they might encounter it.

Fingers crossed its just a transient mistake on their end though!