Wednesday, 18 June 2014

How to Make the Table of Contents go Live on the Kindle Reader

Formatting table of contents links to make a book easy to navigate around may appear fine when viewed on Word and on the look inside preview on Amazon. However, the TOC may not be live within the kindle reader. How can the publisher create a NCX File to make these links live? Here's how.

How to Make TOC Live in the Ereader

Table of Contents in Kindle Aren't Live
Creating a table of contents by creating links within the document via the use ofbookmarks is covered in another article within this blog. This article focuses upon how to make the table of contents live within the Kindle so that the reader is able to navigate to any chapter without having to scroll to the contents page.

What is the NXS File in Epub Books?

Here we can see the Kindle has merely created links to the cover of the book, the beginning and end,. The contents appears greyed out (arrowed). This basic navigation is insufficient for the Kindle user who wants to be able to navigate to chapters without having to find the contents page.

This contents element of the book is known as NCX which stands for Navigation Control file for XML. It appears as a list of links that sits next to the Epub version of your book, each link pointing to a particular chapter.

Creating Table of Contents for Easy Navigation

This meant that the person reading would have to keep scrolling to the contents page to find a particular chapter. In order to ensure the Kindle recognizes the table of contents, I had to process the book document so that the Kindle automatically reads the NCX file and creates the chapter links.

Tips for Creating Contents Links for Epublishing

NXS is Read by Kindle Creating Live Links
This second screenshot (right) shows, after I had solved the problem, the Kindle reader has automatically created links to the chapters within the book. Here’s how I solved the problem.

Create Live Contents in the Kindle Reader for your Book

Firstly, follow the steps outlined in another article on this blog, on how to createlinks to chapters within the book. The contents within any ebook should be located near the beginning. There should be no page numbers, as these are meaningless in an ebook.

To make the Kindle automatically create live links within the Kindle reader, save the document (likely to be Word). There are several ways of making the TOC go live within the Kindle, but I have found this the simplest.

Create NXS File for Epub Step by Step

Callibre Screenshot. Convert Books to Epub
1 Before closing, save your book document as ‘webpage filtered.’
2 Upload Callibre, a free ebook converter software. Every epublisher needs Callibre.
3 Once Callibre software is uploaded to your computer, add you book to the library. Callibre give options for adding your book cover, tags and other metadata about your book. It's pretty self-explanatory.
4 Once the metadata of your book is done, convert the file to EPUB (there are a number of options you can choose from, including MOBI). You can see conversion options on the top right of the screen once your book is added.
5 Callibre will convert your book to Epub. You can then downloads the Epub file onto your computer.
6 Now go into Amazon KDP to upload the epub file of your book to Amazon's publishing platform.
7 Don’t use Amazon’s online previewer, as this won’t reveal if the NCX file of your book are live. I uploaded 8 Amazon’s Kindle for PC. A free download that simply enables you to read books as a Kindle on your computer.
9 Use the download option on Amazon’s KDP to preview your book.

As can be seen on the second screenshot, the Kindle previewer has automatically recognized the NXS file and created a list of links, where the person reading the book can easily navigate around.

Create Live Contents via NXS File in Epub for Publishing

Unless you create a table of contents and save your book file as Epub, the Kindle previewer won’t recognize there is a TOC in your book and it will be more difficult to navigate. To make your book easy to navigate around, create a table of contents as described in another article on this blog.

Once your book has been converted into an Epub, generating an NCX file, the Kindle won’t recognize it, and the table of contents won’t appear live on the Kindle. This could make navigation difficult for the person reading your book on the Kindle. By uploading Callibre and converting your book into Epub, the NCX element will readable by the Kindle device, enabling the customer to easily navigate around your book.

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