Kindle MOBI and Advanced Typesetting

Any time I output through Scrivener, I’m unable to use any advanced typesetting features on my Kindle, and yes, it’s a Kindle that can and does work with enhanced typesetting with other books. It’s a Paperwhite G10.

I have never been able to output a MOBI from Scrivener that works with enhanced typesetting, even though my “Kindle Previewer” app insists advanced typesetting is available and active in the MOBI file, and shows the enhanced typesetting in its live previews for both the Kindle device, and for tablets, and for phones.

I like ragged rights and hyphenation, because full-justified text without hyphenating tends to display rivers down the page, and often has very strange spacing as it tries to compensate for line length. It makes the reading experience less pleasant.

So what I’m looking for is useful advice, if there is any, on how to properly export a MOBI that will function with advanced typesetting.

I don’t self-publish, but have helped some writers to output to mobi / epub and publish to KDP. All of their books have enhanced typesetting enabled, although I believe this is down to Amazon, isn’t it?

Tried asking Amazon?

Thanks for replying. To clarify, this isn’t a problem I have when uploading to the Amazon site, then downloading files from there.

This is a problem I have with MOBI files generated by Scrivener and placed directly on the Kindle, whether via “Send to Kindle” or direct copy to the device via Finder. Amazon’s purchase platform isn’t part of the equation. MOBI files placed on Kindle either by “Send to Kindle” or copying from Finder do not have “enhanced typesetting” available on the device, even though Amazon’s own previewer claims it’s there, and I can see it in the previewer.

This is a MOBI file generated by Scrivener, not by Amazon, which is why I’ve asked about it here. I’d like comment from people who have done what I’ve done, and made it work, if any such people exist; or from someone with enough back-end knowledge of Scrivener to suggest things I can do, either with CSS or by some other means, to make “enhanced typesetting” functional.

Apologies for misunderstanding. Hope someone can answer this for you.

Festive wishes


No apology necessary! Your response helped, because I wasn’t as clear as I needed to be about what exactly the problem was.

Thanks, and have a fine holiday yourself.

Note that Scrivener is not directly generating a .mobi file. It is generating an .epub file via Compile, then behind the scenes using Amazon’s KindleGen tool (whether the old 32-bit standalone version used by older versions of Scrivener, or the new 64-bit version included with Kindle Previewer), generating a .mobi file. You may want to try using the same route with some other epub file to see if this issue happens without Scrivener in the mix.

Scrivener is generating an epub first? Huh.

So your thought is if I try it with another ePub and use kindlegen’s CLI tools, it might expose the problem? Interesting suggestion, and something I can try.

I’m beginning to wonder if anyone but me has actually tried exporting a MOBI from Scrivener, though.

Thanks, warrenao. I actually took Amazon’s note above to mean that only they have the tools needed to enable enhanced typesetting. Ioa points out in the post linked below that .mobi files created by KindleGen are only meant for uploading to KDP, not as ebooks for reading / distribution. I understood enhanced typesetting to be an Amazon-only format; one that is not inherent in .mobi files. (Could well be wrong.)

Some ideas … … _i_get_it/ … p?t=272407 … ostcount=2

I agree that this probably has nothing to do with Scrivener.

To get enhanced typesetting on my books, I use Calibre and the KFX plugin from J. Howell. The plugin takes an epub book and generates a KFX format file using Kindle Previewer. The resulting KFX file has enhanced typesetting, including page flip. The plugin also allows you to set the page count to ‘real’ page numbers–actually to any value you choose. You must side load the kfx file to the Kindle or you iPad/iPhone–not other way to import these files.

So, when I build a personal book for my Kindle using Scrivener, I compile to epub, then convert using Calibre and the KFX plugin.

I don’t believe there is any way to get enhanced typesetting when you use Send to Kindle. When you do this, Amazon reformats your book, then sends it to the Kindle. In my experience this reformatting results in a very simple mobi file with no enhanced typesetting.

There are also currently (for the last few months at least) a few warts with enhanced typesetting books and the Kindle for iPad app on iPad pros, and perhaps other iPads. See … -known-bug

This happens so badly on my iPad Pro I went back to using Apple’s Books app. It doesn’t happen on my old Kindle Paperwhite. Amazon doesn’t appear to care about this.

If you have a Mac, you can export an EPUB from Pages, then import it into Kindle Previewer and export the Mobi from there. That will give you the ragged rights that you are after when you email it to your Kindle. I think it forces left-justification, or something.

I know this is an old thread, but I like to read drafts on my Kindle Paperwhite too and I also dislike reading justified text.

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It’s worth noting that since this thread was active, Amazon no longer recommends using Mobi anywhere in the production chain, not even to load into Kindle Previewer. Amazon now encourages everyone to use ePub, and you should make sure your copy of KP3 is up to date as well (as it should be warning you about this when you load .mobi files).

Thus the workflow from Scrivener looks no different than most other tools these days: make an ePub file, load it in KP3, proof the layout, and if it’s good, send the original .epub file to KDP for upload.

We do leave the Mobi compile option in the software because, while Amazon no longer supports publishing with Mobi, they also have yet to create any kind of alternative for sideloading to devices for more extended proofing sessions. The last time I asked them about this, they honestly expected authors to be sitting up at their desk in front of Kindle Previewer for 500 pages. They have no solution for proofreading, because their devices and software cannot read ePub.

If the quality of the Mobi they are producing via KP3, at the behest of Scrivener, is not to your liking, then there are probably better conversion tools out there these days, like Calibre. For proofing though, I’m not sure how important some of these additional features are like advanced typsetting, so long as looks pretty close to how it’s meant to in the end. If you need pixel perfect accuracy then that is what KP3 is for.

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