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Kindle Previewer: New and (really!) Improved

16 April 2018

From JW Manus:

I’ve been using Amazon’s Kindle Previewer app ever since I started formatting ebooks. Have to say, I was never much impressed with it. It had some useful features and it was a quick way to convert an epub file into a mobi file, and a sort of quick way to convert a Word doc into a mobi file so I could load it onto a Kindle or tablet. As for viewing a book on the computer? Forget it. It looked awful and the screen size couldn’t be adjusted. For some tasks it was essential, but I never fully trusted it to give me a hundred percent true rendering of my ebooks.

Then I got a brand new computer and when I downloaded the Kindle Previewer, I got the newest version.

And oh my God, Amazon, what have you done?

. . . .

For those of you, my dear readers, with a Do-It-Yourself frame of mind, this version also converts Word docs. No more need for converting the doc first in MobiPocket and then converting the prc file. Click File > Open Book and select a Word doc and the program will convert it into a mobi file. It won’t be a commercial quality ebook and it won’t build the internal navigation guide, but it does allow you to check your styling and the mobi file can be loaded onto your Kindle or tablet for proofreading.

Link to the rest at JW Manus

Amazon, Ebooks

9 Comments to “Kindle Previewer: New and (really!) Improved”

  1. I find it to be unbearably slow, even the newest version

  2. Since it takes up nearly a gigabyte of disk space, it had better be good. 🙂

    • It looks like they’ve scrapped Java and switched to the QT toolkit (this is probably a good move, since Java is moribund on the desktop and will never exist on any iOS devices). I imagine that bundling in the QT library why it takes up a gig (but still… a gig? Ouch!)

      As jim notes, it is slower than Christmas. A file that kindlegen cranks through in 11 seconds takes 43 seconds with the new Previewer.

      Actually it looks like it’s using kindlegen internally — when you go to View/Conversion Log, you see a kindlegen log, so the delay must be in the fancy rendering.

      I could live without the useless animation during the conversion process.

      After the conversion is done, paging through the book, switching simulated devices, etc. is reasonably speedy on my machine, and the new UI is pretty nice.

      I’m a little leery of “Data Usage Collection” under Help. I don’t recall the installation docs explaining anywhere just what that was. I turned it off.

      • Yeah. I just convert to clean HTML and then run that through Kindlegen. Betting that Amazon knows exactly what funk is in a Word file is not a good bet to me.

        Test in the real world on Kindle for PC, and by cross load to the Fire and my Android cellphone.

        Mildly useful for crossing my fingers and hoping on the vast number of mobile devices I don’t have – but that’s about it.

    • I’m assuming it still includes formatting from all the other previous formats as well as ‘viewing’ how the different kindles will each show the finished work?

      A gig is large, but I can understand them not wanting to have one for each OS option the writer might not know they are running.

  3. Can it be used online? That would be useful. Will check – when I’m ready to use it again.

    • There’s the preview tool when uploading a book to KDP. For the last few years, I’ve been skipping Kindle Previewer and just using that, and haven’t run into issues. But maybe the offline previewer has some usage I’m not aware of.

  4. I use dedicated writing software to get me to the .mobi stage then Calibre to do the actual conversion. I’ve always been happy with the results but I must say, the Calibre interface looks daunting at first glance. Too many options and too much terminology I don’t understand. Luckily, most of it is unnecessary unless you’re a techie who wants to get down and dirty with customisation.

  5. PG, are you ok?

    Please wave if you can.

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