How to create a Kindle ebook with Scrivener

There are a lot of tutorials online that go over using Scrivener to format to .mobi, the problem with most of them is they’re written for Mac, not Windows.  Scrivener was originally a Mac-only program, so a lot of the support and information isn’t applicable to Windows users.  I wrote a little bit about this in the previous post, The coolest thing I’ve ever seen.  Eventually, I figured it out and put a draft of Larry’s Dead onto my Kindle.

The process isn’t difficult but it was tricky, so I thought I would write out specific instructions.  If you have any issues, contact me and I’ll walk you through it.

First, you will have to download KindleGen, a program from Amazon that formats .mobi files.  It will download as a zipped folder, you will have to unzip it before it can be used.  When you download and unzip it, remember where you saved it because you’ll have to link Scrivener to the KindleGen.

Next, open up Scrivener and the file you want to compile.  Press the compile button.

Scrivener 1That will open up the following window:

scrivener 2This window gives you the generic formatting options.  Click the down arrow to access all the other options.  Your window will look like this:

scrivener 3

This is also where you can add/format covers, footnotes, margins, chapters, etc.  You’ll want to set all of that up before compiling if you want them included in the .mobi file.

Once you have everything arranged the way you want and are ready to compile, click the “Load Preset” button on the lower left.

scrivener 4Select “E-Book” (or “E-Book (with Parts)” depending on how you want the final product formatted.  That option will divide the book into the “Parts” that you’ve set).

scrivener 5Click on “Compile For” on the bottom right.  Select “Kindle (.mobi) Book”.  If you’ve never done this before a window will open that asks you to direct Scrivener to the KindleGen.  Hopefully you remembered where you put it.  Direct it into the unzipped folder.

Once it’s been mapped successfully, click “Compile”.

scrivener 6You’ll be asked where to save the file it’s creating, then out pops your new .mobi file.

You can do whatever you want with your new file but I would recommend checking it on your Kindle before uploading it anywhere just to make sure that it formatted correctly.

Plug your Kindle in to the computer.  Copy the file into the Kindle’s “Books” or “Documents” file (the name of the folder depends on what model of Kindle you have).  Then “eject” the Kindle and your new Ebook is ready to be read.

Hopefully this helps simplify the process.

3 thoughts on “How to create a Kindle ebook with Scrivener”

  1. Thank you very much for sharing this information and advice. I recently downloaded the free Scrivener trial but so far have not had time to familiarize myself with it. Your notes are going to prove useful for me as I write further books.

  2. I keep waiting for Scrivner to deliver its promised iPad version before I make the transition. I love the look of the app, but I do too much work on my iPad these days to go to a laptop only application. Alas, the program looks so beautiful.

    1. I have a similar problem as I do most of my writing on a ChromeBook (which I highly recommend, by the way) and there’s no Scrivener “app”. I have a desktop at home though, and Scrivener has some pretty amazing tools. For example, I download my manuscript from Google Drive and use the “import and split” function. Scrivener automatically splits the manuscript into chapters (you can set the how/where it divides it up, I use the symbol “#” before each new chapter). So, I don’t do much writing in Scrivener (only because it doesn’t work with ChromeBooks), but I still use it to compile and format my manuscripts.

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