Upcoming Changes to Kindle Generation

If you’ve installed Mojave, you’ve likely seen warnings about Amazon’s KindleGen utility, which has not been optimized for current versions of macOS. As those warnings inform, older 32-bit programs like KindleGen won’t run in Catalina, the forthcoming version of macOS.

We’ve received many questions about whether Amazon will publish an updated 64-bit version of KindleGen in time for the release of Catalina, due this fall. We don’t know the answer to that. What we do know is that KindleGen hasn’t received an update since 2013, and shows many signs of being abandoned by Amazon.

Given this, Vellum will soon move away from using KindleGen entirely. Instead, Vellum will produce a Kindle-specific EPUB file.

You should find this makes little difference to your workflow. When you’re ready to publish, you’ll be able to upload this file to KDP without any extra conversion; your readers won’t see any difference. To proof your book beforehand, you can open this file directly in Kindle Previewer. And in situations where you do need a mobi file (to send an ARC, for example), you can make use of the Export command in Kindle Previewer.

By avoiding KindleGen, you’ll find generation to be much faster, more reliable, and free of any warnings about 64-bit compatibility.

This change will be released in the next update to Vellum, due in early September, and well before the release of Catalina. We’ll have more details at that time.

Have questions? Get in touch.

Update 10/02/19: Mobi output is again available in Vellum 2.6.2.

Vellum 2.5.4

Vellum 2.5.4 is a minor update with the following improvements:

  • Fixed Find & Replace in endnotes, subheads, and image captions
  • Position of Uncategorized titles now matches other elements
  • All Store Links now use the https protocol

This release is a free update, available now.

Vellum 2.5.3

Vellum 2.5.3 is a minor update that includes these improvements:

  • Fixed Paragraph After Break style for sections beginning with an Alignment Block
  • Adjusted Medium-sized images so Flow options work as expected on Kindle

This release is a free update, available now.

Dark Mode

Staying up for late-night publishing? Turn down the lights with Dark Mode!

Activating Dark Mode in Vellum

Introducing an all-new, darker color scheme for Vellum. With low-brightness backgrounds and a light-on-dark editor, it’s designed to be used in dim environments.

Dark Mode can be just the thing for working at 2 AM, but we won’t blame you if you want to use it all the time!

Dark Mode requires macOS Mojave. You can activate it in the System Preferences for your Mac.

Also in this Update

  • Large Print editions are now generated into a separate folder, and won’t overwrite a standard print edition.
  • You can now use the Numbered toggle to disable numbering for Parts.

You’ll find these additions in Vellum 2.5.2, a free update. This version requires macOS Sierra or newer.

Problems with Kindle for Mac

If you attempt to proof your generated books using the Kindle program for Mac, you may encounter a few problems, especially with ornamental images:

Oversized ornamental break overlapping text

We’ve received reports of several issues with this recent update to Kindle for Mac:

  • Ornamental break images can appear oversized and may overlap text
  • Heading ornaments can disappear entirely
  • The cover image may show through to other pages
  • The Find command can show incorrect text
  • The application can freeze when turning pages
  • Links within the book can be difficult to click

As far as we know, these issues only occur when you sideload a book for testing. Books purchased by readers and delivered by Amazon should not exhibit these issues.

We’ve reported these issues to Amazon, but we have no way of knowing when they will address these problems with the Kindle for Mac program.

To proof your book, we recommend using Kindle Previewer. Kindle Previewer is the most accurate way to view your book, and will not exhibit problems like the above.

Update 1/22/20: A workaround for the image sizing issue can be found in Vellum 2.6.5.

Vellum 2.5

Announcing Large Print and more trim sizes!
Here’s what’s new in this free update:

Large Print

Now, you can create a Large Print Edition of your book with just a few clicks. Select a Large Print option and Vellum will configure everything for your book: font size, headers, page numbers and more!

With larger, more legible text, these special editions can help you reach new audiences of readers.

Mass Market

Prefer something on the smaller side? Choose from Vellum’s new Mass Market trim sizes. Your readers will love taking these portable, pocketable paperbacks on their next vacation.

International Trim Sizes

If you’re publishing outside of the US, you’ll appreciate a new set of international trim sizes. Options like B-Format, 12 × 19 cm, and A5 allow you to use European print-on-demand services, and create paperbacks in familiar sizes.

Combined, you’ll find over a dozen trim size options in Vellum!

Also in Vellum 2.5:

  • You can now customize the Outside Margin of your print edition
  • Dimensions in Print Settings can be shown in centimeters
  • Books within a Box Set can each have a Table of Contents
  • Improvements to how links and very long words break across lines
  • The use of Line Separator characters no longer results in missing text

Vellum 2.5 is a free update. This version requires macOS Sierra or newer.

To get Vellum 2.5, use Check for Updates in the Vellum menu. Or download and install Vellum from vellum.pub.

Warnings from KindleGen on Mojave

If you’ve updated to macOS Mojave, you’ll likely see a warning the first time you generate for the Kindle platform:

kindlegen is not updated for your Mac and needs to be updated

Vellum makes use of Amazon’s KindleGen tool to convert ebooks to their proprietary mobi format. When running Mojave, your Mac will warn about this program because it has not been built in a 64-bit format, something Apple will require in future versions of macOS.

While Amazon has released 64-bit versions of Kindle Previewer and Kindle for Mac, they have not yet published a 64-bit version of KindleGen.

Until they do, you will periodically see this warning when you generate for Kindle. This does not affect your generated books. We recognize it can cause concern, though, so we are investigating ways to create ebooks for Kindle without triggering this warning.

Update 10/2/19: Vellum 2.6.2 uses Kindle Previewer, which has been updated for current versions of macOS.

Vellum 2.3.1

Vellum 2.3.1 is a minor update that includes these improvements:

  • Fixed a problem with the Table of Contents crossing the inside margin in print
  • Fixed a rare crash when pasting into the Text Editor

This release is a free update, available now.

Vellum 2.3

Vellum 2.3 is now available and includes a brand new Text Feature: Endnotes! You can use endnotes to annotate the books you create with Vellum.1

In ebooks, readers can use a popup to access each note without losing their place:2

In print, readers will find endnotes in a dedicated section at the back:3

Use endnotes to include citations in your academic work, to add translations of foreign phrases, or to create a parallel narrative in your postmodern opus.4

Also in this Release:

  • Use bold, italics, and web links in image captions
  • Scene breaks at the top or bottom of the page are now clarified
  • The iBooks platform has been renamed to Apple Books
  • Show in Preview now highlights the selected paragraph
  • And more!

Get it Now

Vellum 2.3 is a free update. To get it, use Check for Updates in the Vellum menu. Or download and install Vellum from vellum.pub.

  1. Endnotes and footnotes in a Word file are automatically converted when you import
  2. Supported on Kindle, in Apple Books, and on most devices for Google Play and Kobo
  3. An Endnotes element is automatically created whenever you import a manuscript containing endnotes
  4. Untitled. Unfinished. UNRELEASED

Mojave Now Available

Today, Apple released Mojave, a new update to macOS.

Vellum works well with Mojave. Just make sure you’ve updated to the latest version of Vellum (2.2.3), which includes many small fixes to improve compatibility.

Mojave introduces a new “Dark Mode,” which applies a darker color scheme to your applications. Vellum does not yet support Dark Mode, but we’re excited about this feature and plan to support it in a future version of Vellum.

Update 3/2019: Support for Dark Mode can be found in Vellum 2.5.2!