Writing book for Kindle advice

I am writing a book for Kindle which contains a lot of tables… I am having problems with the tables within Scrivener formatting correctly and looking right. Does anyone have any suggestions on how they are handling this or best practices when it comes to tables. Once again, I am mainly interested in Kindle compiling, so keep this in consideration. Thanks.

Are you on a tight deadline? Amazon is releasing a new Kindle format in the middle of November, primarily for the Fire series, but they will be rolling out updates to the other devices as well. It will be based on much newer HTML specifications than the .mobi format used, and you might have better results with it. We won’t really know though until more details are released and the new KindleGen tool is available. Tables are a bit of a pain to work with in .mobi. Frankly, I see most professional books not even bothering and using graphics of tables, which is almost just as bad as they are blurry—but that is probably more often a problem of not having the original digital files for the e-book conversion.

Thank you that is good to know. I have tried using images, and you are right, they do look very blurry and of poor quality. Have played with it, but just doesn’t look good. I am hoping to get the book out before Thanksgiving, so the quicker Scrivener gets a handle on tables, the better. I love the program, but I just need to get it to generate nicely to Kindle…

It might be worthwhile to use .epub as a working format, and Sigil to edit the compiled e-book and tidy the tables up at the HTML level, then use KindleGen or Calibre to convert the .epub to .mobi. Sigil itself doesn’t have a table editor, but you can split the editor between output and HTML view and edit the HTML directly in the split view. Easiest way to do that would be to edit the CSS declaration at the top of each HTML file, rather than messing with each table individually. For example, adding

table { width: 100% }

Will fix your width problem and extend the table out to fill the entire display width. Adjusting padding, borders, and other things can solve other universal problems and make your tables look nice rather than just vanilla.

Obviously not something you’d want to do every other day, but nine times out of ten people using tables and such in Scrivener are going to have to be doing some work in a word processor (or equivalent) at the end of the project anyway, on account of it being primarily a drafting tool rather than a full ready to press publishing tool. That said there are probably some things that could be improved with the stock table output, but right now the priority is on critical bugs.