Mobi for KDP - Embed Cover or Not?

After browsing this forum I have found vastly conflicting opinions on whether or not a cover should be embedded into a mobi file for upload to KDP. I would greatly appreciate feedback from any Scrivener users who have experience in this area. Specifically, I have the folllowing questions:

  1. do you regularly include a cover in your mobi file when you upload it to KDP?

  2. If so, do you also upload a separate copy of the cover as KDP requests?

  3. If you include a cover in your mobi file and also upload a separate cover, have you ever had any issues with 2 covers appearing in your book?

Thank you in advance for your input. I hope to publish my first book soon, and this will answer one of my gazillion first-timer questions.

  1. No.

KDP tells you to upload the cover separately.

  1. Yes.

  2. Yes.

  3. No.

Good luck. … elines.pdf

::bangs head on desk::

Are these contradicting responses based on actual experience?

I have the same question and was just going to wing it until I got it right. But, it would be good to know of some actual experiences.

Yes, on experience.

Have followed Amazon’s guidelines, as linked above.

Thanks for the replies so far. Very helpful!

The thing is you don’t have to upload a mobi file to KDP.

"Kindle Create
Use Kindle Create (PC or Mac) to transform your completed manuscript into a beautiful Kindle eBook. When you import a manuscript in .doc(x) format, Kindle Create automatically detects chapter titles, adds styling to them, and builds a Kindle Table of Contents.

You can format individual paragraphs using styles, change the look and feel using themes, and preview how your eBook will display on tablets, phones, and Kindle E-readers. Kindle Create works with several word processing applications (e.g., Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, and Google Docs) that can export to .doc(x) format. "

You can also upload an epub file and let KDP transform it and add the cover.

Indeed, I’m sure most people upload a .docx file and have Amazon convert it to an ebook from that, hoping for the best, and when doing so it would make sense to only consider uploading the cover graphic separately. I’m sure that is where most of the conflicting information comes from online. The Mobi format very much supports embedding a cover image directly in it, and Scrivener follows all of the rules put forth by Amazon to link it up correctly as a proper cover, and from their guide it clearly states you should. Kindlegen will even produce non-fatal warnings if you omit one.

In general it is best to upload an ebook that fits the specifications of the platform you are submitting to, one that is optimised for it. There are several important tweaks for Kindle to the output that Scrivener does, that won’t be present in its ePub format (the starting position being the most obvious).

Another vector of confusion over the matter originates from a bug that may still be around, where the universal MobiPocket/KF8 .mobi file that KindleGen creates can sometimes display incorrectly when loaded directly onto a reader, in that having a cover image offsets the navigation data slightly. It’s not a real world problem however since nobody will be buying your book and getting a copy of it in the format you uploaded. Amazon splits the universal .mobi into two files and only sends the best copy depending on the reader’s device.

Yes, this bug is still around. It’s good to know that it doesn’t affect the downloads. One way to bypass it on your devices is to use Send to Kindle:

Once installed, if you right-click a file in Explorer, it is a menu item option. It finds your registered devices at Amazon and sends back the appropriate file to each one. Oddly, Kindle for PC isn’t an option, which is where the navigation error is usually encountered when opening the source .mobi directly.

On Apple devices, users can create a .mobi from Scrivener (on a Mac) and then open that file straight with Kindle for Mac: double-click and it just copies to the Kindle app. Similarly, users can email the .mobi to an iPad or iPhone and then open the .mobi with the iOS Kindle app. Users don’t need to use Amazon’s send-to-Kindle service. I assume Windows devices can probably do the same.

If you create a .mobi on your PC, does the file know (or can it be instructed) to open in Kindle for Windows? This can save a lot of time when proofing and testing different copies of works.

EDIT: if a user has embedded a cover in their .mobi, they can also see how the cover displays in a Kindle app or on a Kindle device, especially how well it shows up on the bookshelf. This is really helpful when establishing if font choices are legible enough in terms of works’ names: users usually want their works to be easily identifiable on their readers’ digital bookshelves. For me, this beats sending an ePub or a .docx to Amazon as the author gets to see the finished article before it goes live on Amazon’s stores. Entirely respect that other people prefer other publishing routes that work for them.

The point of using the email server to send the file is to avoid the start position bug that can appear when displaying the raw .mobi file directly. It is certainly possible to open it directly on a PC, like on the Mac, but if you run it through the email server it handles it more like an end reader will see the ebook.

That’s a trick I hadn’t thought of; good to know. I’ve always been more inclined to, as I say, just plug the Kindle in and compile directly onto it. If I run into problems doing that though, I can try email.

I just went through the setup process for an ebook at KDP. I compiled a .MOBI in Scrivener without a cover, and uploaded the cover separately. They added the cover to the finished file.

Thanks for the update!

I just want to add my own update. I also recently submitted a Scrivener MOBI file to KDP without a cover, and the cover I submitted separately was added to the finished book. I had no problems with the process.