You learn something new… every darn day!

Ok, this is a new wrinkle in the formatting adventure. Today a client forwarded an email from Amazon telling the author that a reader had complained that when she tried to read her book in the ‘night’ view (black background, white text), the book disappeared. Amazon said that the text color was ‘forced’ in the file.

What? I didn’t even know you could do that… force a text color… it’s not something that I even  look at! I just assumed that when I did the initial Word format of the book, and chose the Styles (Normal for all the text), then everything would be hunky-dory.

Not so, apparently. When you look at (modify) your styles/font… there is a small text color box which should be set to ‘automatic’. Well, I looked back at some of my former ebook formats… and the ‘Normal’ style was set to ‘automatic’.  However, on this particular ebook, that text color box was set to ‘black’. Who knew? And how did it get set like that?  Fairies and trolls, and the trolls were winning that day, I guess.

Anyway, it was a very simple fix within the code view of Sigil… and then a quick re-convert through Kindlegen. So no problem… but it got me concerned about other books. I spent the afternoon looking at HTML code. Yikes!

The moral of this story is. Don’t force anything on anybody.  And another thing… who in the world reads in that awful ‘night’ view anyway! Black background, white text is so 80s, isn’t it? And it’s awful on your eyes. The only thing I can think is that maybe that’s a good way to read on a Kindle in bright sunlight… although it’s winter here in Maine and we don’t have much sunlight, and it will freeze your ‘whatevers’ off if you go outside to read anyway!

So if anyone out there has a problem like this, reading in the ‘night’ mode, tell your formatter that something is set as ‘color:black’ in the html base of the file.



About athirstyblog

If you're a published author and are sitting on a basement full of backlisted books, then you've found the right blog. Although I formerly filled these pages with book reviews, they will now be filled with tips on eBook formatting, talk about the current technology of eBooks, and other stuff that interests me and hopefully interests you. I'm currently an eBook formatter, formerly a bookseller, archaeologist, illustrator and lover of all things historical and scientific. And I'm now a permanent citizen of DownEast Maine with my own beach and 175 year old house and everything! Come along for the Journey!
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1 Response to You learn something new… every darn day!

  1. athirstyblog says:

    k1ypp, thanks for the comment. Several of my clients have gotten emails from readers on books with this problem… thank goodness not on any I had formatted for them. But it’s a very easy thing to correct in HTML and in epub/mobi through Sigil epub editing. Of course if the problem is in the mobi file/Amazon… then you have to remember to re-convert the corrected epub file through Kindle Previewer and upload that new mobi file. I’m in the process of doing a tutorial on Word Styles for my website ( where I will discuss the ‘forced color’ issue. Just remember to always choose ‘automatic’ and not ‘black’ or another color on the text color feature in Word.

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