Kindle Now Has Scrolling Options



Some formatters used to say that a Kindle eBook is scrollable like a webpage.

But until now, that wasn’t quite right. You used to paginate your way through a Kindle eBook by advancing onto the next “page.”

But Kindle eBooks also weren’t like print books. When you changed the font size, line spacing, or read the book on a different device, the “pages” became significantly different.

However, now on supported devices it is possible to scroll down through a Kindle eBook just like you scroll through an article on a website online.

In the settings, look for the Continuous Scrolling option, shown below for my Kindle Fire.

If you’d rather paginate your way through the eBook, just disable the Continuous Scrolling option and it will function just like it always has.

This new feature is important to authors and publishers who use KDP for a couple of reasons.

Some readers will now scroll through your eBook, whether you like it or not.

So let’s give a little thought to how this may impact eBook design.

  • You want to add Space After to the last paragraph of a chapter (or section) that ordinarily precedes a page break. The page break is removed in Continuous Scrolling, so if you want to have space between the last paragraph of your chapter and the chapter heading that follows, you want to add Space Before to the last paragraph. Ideally, you should do this through paragraph styles or HTML. In HTML, create and apply a style definition that adds a bottom margin to the paragraph. If you’re using Word, create a body text paragraph that adds space after. I use a variety of paragraph styles that add space after: One is like the normal body paragraphs, one is for non-indented paragraphs, one is for the last point of a list, and another is for centered paragraphs. (By the way, since the Look Inside scrolls like a webpage, this is a handy tip to help create a little vertical separation in your Look Inside.)
  • With ordinary pagination, you could control page breaks and prevent information from showing on a screen sooner than you’d like (although some devices like Kindle for PC allow two pages to show on the screen at once). Suppose, for example, that you have an eTextbook with problems followed by answers or solutions. Ordinarily, you could place the answer or solution on the next “page” so that students could try it first, then check their work. However, if they scroll through the eBook now, they may stumble into the answers before reading the problems. Of course, once the student gets used to this, they can scroll more carefully if they don’t wish for this to happen. But it is something to consider as an author or publisher.
  • On the other hand, you can’t design your eBook with the assumption that everybody will scroll through it. Some readers will still be paginating like always.

Can you think of any other ways that this new scrolling feature may impact Kindle eBook design?

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

41 comments on “Kindle Now Has Scrolling Options

  1. Hi Chris, thanks for the headsup. I do have a couple of basic questions though…what is ‘space after’?
    The second thing I want to ask is whether the scrolling will have an effect on graphics heavy books – i.e. if you scroll and the next part is a graphic, will you only see the graphic gradually or will it display the whole graphic at once?
    The reason I’m interested in the graphic side of things is because I’d love to be able to format my how-to books without resorting to fixed format.

    • It scrolls smoothly and gradually. However, I tried it with my very graphics heavy book and had no issues with it. I wouldn’t go fixed format because of the scrolling option. (The scrolling has actually been exceptionally nice for me, even reading a giant book. At first I worried that it might go flying by, but it hasn’t.)

    • You might want to see my response to brianastbury below. I tested this out with a fixed-format book.

      Also, I see that I had forgotten to answer your question about Spacing After. If you use Microsoft Word, for example, one of the features of a paragraph style is Spacing After. Adding a value here (of about 12 pt) adds space after the paragraph and before whatever comes next. If you use Word’s styles (the best way to make a reflowable Kindle eBook if you use Word, but irrelevant for fixed format), you can right-click on a style to modify it. You could right-click on a paragraph to find this under the paragraph options, but you get better results by using the styles. I hope this helps.

    • Fixed-format books are a non-issue. I just opened one on my Kindle Fire HD and couldn’t change the setting to let it scroll. Actually, it was obvious as soon as I tried it because fixed-format books don’t have the settings icon for changing font, line spacing, etc., and that’s where the scroll setting would have been.

      Thank you for inquiring about this. I hadn’t thought about it before today.

    • Aaaah, now I’m with you. Sorry, was being particularly dense. I do use styles, including the Space After, I just never really registered the name. -sigh- As for fixed format, no I can see how it wouldn’t work but…I could always re-format. My problem with non-fixed format ebooks todate has been the way they mangle the graphics. If the graphics flow without leaving huge blank ‘holes’ then it would be worth doing.
      Thanks very much for testing all this stuff out.

      • A nice feature if scrolling is that the pictures don’t leave those huge blanks. Unfortunately, many customers won’t choose the scrolling option and some devices don’t support it.

      • That was my thought too. You’re right about people not choosing to use the scrolling, but at least it’s there now, and that means the tech behind ereaders is improving. Now if only the ordinary Kindle had colour without all the bells and whistles in the Fire.

  2. Oh gosh. So what happens to a scroller if it hits a page break? Oh, yes – it removes them. Presumably the next chapter heading will sort that out for mere mortals who write chapter books 🙂 Note to self: check that all chapter illustrations come after headings… Kindle used to prefer them in front, which was a pain.
    Thanks, Chris. I hate progress…

  3. I was scrolling through my first published novel the other day – and did NOT see any problems when I scrolled. I must have done something right by default, because, although I know about Space After paragraphs, I don’t remember setting any value there deliberately.

    But thanks for making it one more of those things one really should know – I hadn’t thought about what the new scrolling option MEANT, and would never have realized that it removed those page breaks or section breaks I inserted to make things look the way I want them to, for the reader.

    The whole point is the reader’s experience.

      • They do care about the reader experience. Sometimes not so much for the writer’s. For example, I have a .mobi file I used to send out with no problems as an electronic ARC, and which it turns out the last three reviewers couldn’t open! I set Pride’s Children to 0.99 until I can get around to fixing my eARC, but whatever Amazon did, it didn’t affect the ebook for sale – only how the Kindle software processes what used to be a perfectly good .mobi file.

        It’s a little frustrating – and, if the reviewers hadn’t mentioned it, would have marked me a supplying bad review copies forever. It never occurred to me to check the file I sent them, because it had always worked before.

        I spend a lot of time on specific approaches to potential reviewers, and that is wasted when Amazon changes the rules, but that’s how it works.

        One more thing to add to the to do list.

        I’m scratching my head, but I can’t take the time right now to redo the .mobi.

      • I refrain from sending out my .mobi files. There has long been a rumor that emailing them can cause a problem, but that’s not a recent change. There are a few ways of creating a .mobi that can cause issues, depending on the software used to make it. I actually send out print copies, though it isn’t budget friendly.

      • I haven’t had trouble before with the .mobi files. And the people I had sent them to preferred that format. Even at 0.99, I don’t like asking someone to buy a book to review it.

        I was more complaining that something that used to work, doesn’t any more (you’d think I was not reasonably computer-literate any more). This business is like my former business of plasma physics: nailing jello to the wall. Not fun when you’re already so far behind.

  4. I write my manuscripts using Word, then convert it to an html file to import into Sigil to create an epub file. I then use Calibre to convert that to mobi, so I have my ebook in both formats for different ereaders. However, none of the books I create will show the scrolling option in Kindle for those who want to use it. I have a Kindle Fire HD, and while some ebooks I buy will allow scrolling, none of my own show that option. Is there a code that I have missed including to allow scrolling

    • I believe it should be automatic. Maybe if you upload a validated epub, it occurs when Amazon converts this to mobi… Just a guess. If not, you could try asking in the formatting forum at KDP. Good luck.

      • Amazon doesn’t convert the file to mobi. I convert the epub to mobi myself using Calibre and then upload that new file. I have been struggling to find a way to make my own books scrollable in Kindle, but have been unsuccessful so far.

      • That’s exactly my point. If this ordinarily happens when Amazon converts the file to mobi, your method skips that step. One way to test this out would be to upload a validated epub and let Amazon convert it to mobi. But it was just a guess; it might not work. I was just trying to think why your method might have a different result.

        (You probably already know this, but for anyone reading along… If you change the file, you’ll have to ask support to “push” the updated book to your device. Once a customer buys the book, if the customer buys it again, the customer will still have the original book, even after the file is updated.)

  5. I think my problem might be the Send-to-Kindle app I use to test my files. It won’t upload epub files, which is why I convert it to mobi first. If that’s the case, I may be out of luck. Readers don’t have to have scrollable Kindle books to read my material. I just would have liked to have given them the option.

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