Indents from Scrivener to Kindle previewer wrong

I’m pulling my hair out, so I apologize if I missed this exact topic in my search.

When compiling, I UNchecked “override text and notes formatting” because I have centered text in several places that doesn’t center right unless I do.

But then:
-If I set my margins in the editor to 0.3, it looks great in Scrivener, but the indent is almost undetectable in the Kindle previewer.

  • If I set my margins to almost an inch, it looks great in the Kindle previewer, but horrible on most Kindle devices.

Do I trust the margins on Scrivener (0.3) to be right on Kindle, and ignore what it looks like in the previewer?


It might be easier, if there are only several of these cases, to use the Format/Formatting/Preserve Formatting command on those bits of text. That will keep the compiler from changing the underlying format of text, while going on to keep the rest clean and uniform. You only need to worry about getting the preserved areas looking right.

As for the rest, I don’t really know what you mean by margins on a Kindle, there are no margins and no settings in compile for them. Most Kindles and Amazon software have a setting that readers can change (usually a choice between less, some or more margins) but that’s not really a “margin” in the sense of a word processing thing. It isn’t something you control from the book, it’s just a display setting, like white on black text settings or font size. Maybe you have this set differently in your various testing programs?

What are you using in Scrivener here, in terms of where are you clicking or what option pane are you in?

@AmberV - Thank you. I had no idea about the format/formatting/preserve formatting setting.

As for margins - my brain went on holiday. I meant indents. Sorry. When I set my indents to anything other than 0.5 exactly they don’t look right (can’t be at 0.49 or 0.51). But at 0.5 they show up perfect (my changes have gone live on Amazon and I can see the indents are correct now).

Mods: is there a way to edit the title of my original post to use the right word? “Indents” instead of “margins”?

No worries, I’ve fixed the subject heading for you. All right, that makes more sense! Indents on a Kindle can be different from what you declare, mainly because they need to get a paper-based measurement system converted to screen-based, and then display that screen-based text in a variety of contexts from a tiny iPhone 4 screen to a Kindle Fire HD or even a full computer screen. A single fixed indent width might look awful in one context or another, so the solution is to use a unit of measurement that allows for more flexibility.

By the way you can examine precisely what Scrivener feeds to KindleGen, by going into that same compile pane and checking off the option to export sources files as well. Source files are basic HTML (and a few XML files required to “explain” them as a coherent book format), and the styling is all done with standard CSS in separate files. So you can easily find a paragraph in the HTML file with your browser, check the source to see what style class that paragraph is assigned to, and then look that up in the stylesheets.

What you will most likely find (assuming all settings with regards to indents are correct, making this a great way to find out whether you’re looking at a Kindle problem or not) is that when loaded in a browser, your indents will be closer to the original in Scrivener, if not very close if the font display size in the browser is similar to in Scrivener.

Beyond that, KindleGen is what takes this information and turns it into a Mobi file, so what all happens after that point is a bit of a mystery to me as well. I can say that I don’t see anything like what you’re describing though. If I make a three line test project, with 0.49, 0.5 and 0.51 first-line indents on the lines, they all come out the looking the same on a Kindle, and the CSS source is good too, 2.52, 2.57 and 2.62em is the conversion from inches—differences really too small to readily see with the naked eye.