The “Read as a book” Stage

I planned to compile Camp Expendable as a .mobi and send it to my Kindle for a readthrough that I couldn’t tinker with. Good idea, but it didn’t happen. I’ve never downloaded Amazon’s KindleGen, which Scrivener requires for that conversion, so I did that this morning, thinking I was on the verge of getting down to work. No such luck. One look at the instructions for installing it and I backed off as if I’d just put my hand down on a hot stove. I’ll get it done eventually, when I’m not in a headachey, brain-fogged state, and the instruction don’t look like gibberish.

Not all is lost, of course. I converted the book to a PDF, so I can still read it as a book. I wanted to be able to sit in my comfy chair, away from the computer, but it looks like that won’t be possible. The Kindle will supposedly read PDFs, so I sent it — twice — and nothing happened. It showed it downloading, but it’s nowhere to be seen. and the number of items on the Kindle hasn’t changed. Curses!

It finally showed up, but only after I checked to archive it. In normal portrait reading mode, it’s too small for me to read comfortably, and PDFs don’t allow you to enlarge the font. If I change it to landscape mode, the font is more readable, but less than half a page shows at a time.

So I’m in for a long spell of either reading a novel on my computer, which I’ve mostly been able to avoid since getting the Kindle, or tapping a zillion page turns.

The actual useability of my Kindle has severely deteriorated since the last software update, and that’s been typical of Amazon ever since I started reading ebooks. The way it handles PDFs doesn’t make me any happier about it.

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9 thoughts on “The “Read as a book” Stage

  1. Scrivener has instructions on how to load Kindle Gen into Scrivener (or make it available – whatever it does). Compile your code into a mobi ebook with Scrivener. Sideload or email to the Kindle.

    The process isn’t too hard. I don’t do it that way any more, because I load an epub to KDP when I’m ready, and it makes the mobi file. I have a Nook which I use to check the epub. But you should be able to get a kindle file by following the instructions in the Scrivener manual.

    Alternately, produce an epub, and convert it with Calibre to a mobi (get latest free version of Calibre).

    It is very different to look at as an ebook on your Kindle – it’s a good way to get the bugs out.

    1. I should have looked to see if Scrivener had directions for installing KindleGen. Part of my non compos mentis state. Thanks for pointing it out. Except for viewing it on my KIndle, I don’t really have any need for a .mobi, since Smashwords takes a .doc file, and KDP takes the .epub.

      1. They may not be completely up-to-date, as both programs have different update cycles, but following the process may install the latest KindleGen version properly.

        I do the same thing – create clean epub, use that for uploading. And the upload process itself gives you a mobi file. But you’re not ready to upload yet.

        Hope it works.

        1. Long way from uploading, as it turns out. Not only finding too much I still need to do, the first report from my beta reader hints at much more. Sigh.

          1. If you were uploading for proofreading, yeah, wait until you’re done fiddling. No point in having to do it twice – it is FAR too much work.

            But it doesn’t hurt to upload for the purpose of taking a look-see – you will get some ideas and confirm others just by having the product in a different form; plus you get practice creating the ebook and uploading.

            I must have run PC through the whole process – after every change to Compile – a million times. I used it as a debugger: I could only do about ten formatting changes in a row before I needed to see what worked and what didn’t.

            Easier to run it through Compile, and then check the epub with ADE on my computer, than to think.

            With the result that when I was ready for the final epub, it went very smoothly and quickly.

            And some of those epubs made good eARCs for people while I was figuring out the final details – I could send someone a copy with only tiny formatting bugs still left while I fixed them.

            1. I just read the first three chapters as a PDF on my Kindle. That works fine, but I wish the KIndle would read epubs. That would be better yet. I have ADE and a couple of others, but that still forces me to read on the computer. I’ll probably do that too, eventually, but for right now, I’m taking advantage of being able to read in my comfy chair. It’s very easy to compile either to PDF or epub, so I can see following your lead, though maybe not quite so many times. 🙂

                1. No mobi because I don’t want to fool with Kindlegen right now. But I did just make an amazing discovery — good old .txt. It will download as a Kindle file. Advantage over PDF is that I can change font size. Reading problem *solved*. Formatting isn’t important just for a readthrough, so plain txt is fine.

  2. Sorry: not the upload process, but the KindlePreview process, gives you a mobi file from your epug (not optimized, and don’t put the cover in or it will be large), but you can see what it will look like on various Kindles AND get a mobi file. IIRC.

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