Testing Video on your Kindle Fire (KF8)
I’ve seen quite a few people on twitter asking approximately the same question:
Has anyone encountered problems with video not working when testing .mobi files in the Kindle apps? #eprdctn
— Charlie Stephenson (@crjs20) May 12, 2014
The best answer from the community seems to be that you CAN’T test KF8 video through side-loading (I can confirm this to be true) but you CAN test it once the book has been put up for sale on Amazon (I can’t test this—my publisher submits through KDP).
Anyone want to confirm this? An Amazon response would be great, but personal experiences are welcome as well.
This is absolutely correct. I direct the e-book efforts of Human Kinetics and we produce quite a few e-books with video. There is additional processing that Amazon does to enable video playback. You can see the videos if you use Kindle Previewer and have it set to iPad. (Last time I checked the iPad setting in Kindle Previewer is the only one that works.) The Kindle Previewer will actually export the video and play it in QuickTime. It also requires ffmpeg to be installed on your system. We have never had a case where the video files work in Kindle Previewer but not on a Kindle Fire or an iPad (through the Kindle app).
Also, Amazon still requires that mobi files be no larger than 650MB.
Thanks Steven. That might also explain why the current Kindle Previewer generates .adk files for iPad, but only if the file does NOT contain audio or video.
That’s interesting. I use Kindle Previewer as little as possible and build my mobi files using kindlegen via an AppleScript so I can just drag the source ePub file onto the AppleScript icon in my dock and have kindlegen executed. Amazon is a real pain when it comes to video in mobi. We’ve had to fight tooth and nail to get a few of our titles through their go-live process despite no relevant differences with other titles they’ve accepted. They even required us on two titles to re-encode the videos in mpeg-2 instead of mp4 (which is what their documentation states is the recommended encoding). As near as I can tell from comments their staff has made, they are decompiling the mobi file we submit and running the contents — including the video through some other process to make the video and such work on Kindles.
I spoke with an amazon representative about this.
This is was he said (I’m paraphrasing):
Amazon uses the old mobi7 file format to display video. But the previewer or any video capable device/App will not display mobi7 if a kf-8 version is present.
To deliver the right file to the customers Amazon is analyzing the uploaded files and basically strips out the kf-8 file if videos are embedded.
Yes, as the previous 2 commenters have noted, this is completely true, confirmed by Amazon support and by testing files by pushing through to be ingested by Amazon.
This equally applies to files enhanced with just audio. When I tested it worked in Kindle Previewer when iOS was chosen as the device, but when sideloaded to an iPad it did not work. Did not work on Fire device when sideloaded or in KindlePreviewer. Ingested the file and it worked perfectly fine.
It is extremely problematic that you cannot QA an enhanced file for Kindle!