Well, I would argue that editing and publishing e-books at this point in time is by nature a complicated and technical task. I would argue that is true of any publishing, for that matter, but at least with print publishing we have decades of invention behind us and helping us. Authors are stepping into multiple careers when they choose to self-publish. It’s an admirable and tough thing to do, and we can try our best to make that as easy as possible, but if you are going to hit areas a general tool like Scrivener does not address, a technical knowledge of the field you are working in will be invaluable.
It wasn’t even a few years ago that authors were having to build e-books by hand using text editors. Things are getting better.
As an aside, I think that the Kindle comic format is better for picturebooks anyway. The standard e-book format just isn’t really made for that kind of thing, and even the best attempts will be approximations that could end up breaking on some devices and not showing things how you intend. The comic format is meant for fixed layout oriented publishing. But yeah, just in general, I think Scrivener is better for writing the text and narrative structure of such things, rather than putting together the final product, when the final product is so specific in its design.
We don’t create the .mobi files, Amazon does. When you installed KindleGen on your computer, that was the component that is responsible for turning what amounts to a small framework of XHTML and XML files into a Mobi/KF8 book.
I would strongly advise that you not use Calibre to make your conversion. It uses an antiquated format that Amazon will one day drop support for. The reason the files KindleGen creates are larger is because they actually have two copies of the book within them. They have the old deprecated format for legacy devices that cannot read the new KF8 format, and the KF8 format for devices going forward. If you use Calibre to create your book, you will only be creating an e-book that legacy Kindle devices can read.
That said I do wish Amazon had handle the whole thing better. Bundling “fat” books with two formats in them is exceptionally awkward. They should have had people uploading two different e-books, and then their server would vend the proper format to the device requesting it, depending on its make. But we don’t have any say over how they handle distribution. They chose a fat format, so that is what we’re providing for authors to use.
Sure, we could have done that, then it would have been a super minimal writing platform with an elaborate e-book generator tacked onto the end of it. You wouldn’t be able to do 75% of the things you can do with Scrivener, but you could disable HTML contents and myriad other things. We chose to balance out development and put special emphasis on the writing tools, since that is the focus of the software. Nicer output is indeed, nicer, but it’s not the main purpose of the software. We’ll do what is reasonable to advance that, in time, but not at the expense of the core product.
I’m not sure if I follow what you are getting at here. If anything, I would argue that Scrivener is rather unsuitable for this task, since it doesn’t have much of a concept of a “page” (setting aside for the moment, that a page is a rather abstract concept in an e-book). A program that is built from the ground up to have a concept of metric publishing constraints (like paper sizes, or Kindle comic page delivery) would be better, no?