Preparing a cover for paperback publishing at KDP: Inside pdf?

I’m just getting started trying to understand how to turn my scrivener 3 novel into a kdp paperback. (For now, I do not need to think about the ePub Kindle version.) I would like to use a PDF as my master that I will pass to KDP. A few questions for those of you who have already gone through this and know the way:

(1) KDP has a bunch of requirements about pdf format (e.g., pdf/x rather than pdf/a; embedded fonts). Is there a way to control pdf options within scrivener 3.2.2? Or do we happen to know that our pdf format is compatible with KDP?
[NOTE: Our Scrivener manual, section 24.23 lists the “Optimize for print-on-demand services” setting, which looks like exactly what I want. I am compiling for PDF, but I do not see that item in the compile options. How do I find this option?]

(2) The scrivener PDF format requires the cover to be inside the PDF. Is that the way we pass a cover to Amazon KDP? If not, do we have to set an option somewhere that the cover is NOT inside the pdf?

Our manual, section 23.4.3 lists the PDF options that can be set. It says that some of these options can be set by pressing the Compression Settings Button. Where is that button?

Perhaps someone has already written a guide to publishing a paperback book to KDP with scrivener. I’d love. a link to such advice. Thanks!

Re your second question: KDP requires that you upload your print book in two parts, both (as far as I know) in PDF format. The first part is your manuscript, where each page in the PDF represents one page in the print book. The second is your cover. So you would not include your cover inside the same PDF document as your manuscript.

Your print book cover requires front, back, spine and bleed settings, and the dimensions must be precise. I can’t imagine using Scrivener for cover generation, but perhaps it is possible. FYI that KDP has its own cover generator, as do many other products such as Canva (if you wish to go down the standard template route). If you wish to design your own cover and possess some software design skills, Affinity Designer is a good choice IMHO.

Let me ask again:

Our manual, section 23.4.3 lists the PDF options that can be set. It says that some of these options can be set by pressing the Compression Settings Button. Where is that button?

Surely this is not a difficult question. The button i’s probably on some screen that I looked at, and I just didn’t see it. It’s in the manual. Where is the button?


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Thank you. I now see that I need to click Reduce Filesize in order to enable Compression Settings. Unfortunately, Compression Settings did not lead me to the option I wish to click on. In the manual, section 24.23 lists several options that it says are PDF settings, and I have not yet found the screen with those settings. I am compiling for my own version of the 6x9 paperback. (Chapter 23 says that I have to make my own format in order to see these settings; I did that.) Here is a list of settings in 24.23 that I want to see. How do I invoke them:

Convert to generic pdf/X-3 document THIS IS THE ONE I NEED to compile for KDP.

Generate PDF Outline

Optimize for Print on Demand Services

Underline Internal Links


Where is the screen containing these options? I need to specify pdf/x.

At the Compile window duplicate one of the Compile Formats or create a new one, then edit it.
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Relevant info in manual at section 23.2 “Compile Formats” and chapter 24 “The Compile Format Designer”.

As a general note: the section listing in Ch. 24 is a list of all the individual panes in this window. So if the options you are interested in are within a section called PDF Settings (as they are in this case), then you can know where to look in the software to find that category.

Most of the appendices of preferences and settings panels are organised using this this approach. Section and subsections are arranged to match the user interface itself, so you can figure out where things are located (or in reverse, look up an explanation of something from how it is arranged in the software).

Wow, Got it. The trick, in the compile window, is to click the plus sign at the bottom of the formats column on the right (or take a similar action), to get the screen you displayed above. THANKS!