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For lists such as:

Topic 1
xxxxx xxx
xxx xxx

Topic 2
xxxxx xxx
xxx xxx

is there some different way to represent them since they won't format well in mobi and epub?

These list will break over onto another page. Since list items are numbers and just a hand full of words, breaking over into another page won't look too good.

I need some other representation that gets the content out of a list so it will flow nicely in the very fluid formats of mobi and epub.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

There's a couple ways you can try to handle this. The bottom line, though, is that ebooks are reflowable content, unlike a print book or a PDF for instance, so you only have so much control over how the content actually appears.

Take a look at the this page, which describes the page-break-inside CSS property. If you set this to avoid for your list, it instructs the reader that it should try not to break this element across multiple pages, or in other words, it will try to keep it all on one page. The downside of course is that you may end up with a large vertical whitespace before the content if the reader decides it needs to move the entire thing onto the next page in order to fit it.

This can also potentially cause problems if your content really is too big for a page (which, remember, you don't know the size of for an ebook). Depending on the reader, it might break the content onto multiple pages if it has to (ideally it will do this), or it might truncate whatever content doesn't fit (which would suck).

You might also look at the page-break-before and page-break-after which can help make things look better if they are moved entirely onto a different page.

Another option is to try to reformat your list. For instance, I had a long list which I replaced with a table here in order to make it a "double-wide" list, so that it would only require about half as much vertical space, and more easily fit onto one page. In another instance (here), I turned the list sideways (also with a table) so that it would fit better.

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Do tables always stay together? By the way, which app are you using? I'm currently using Scrivener and haven't tried any CSS editing with it yet. – 4thSpace Jun 8 '13 at 5:08
No, definitely not. Tables will be reflowed just like anything else. You can apply page-break-inside to tables as well, but with all the same caveats. The reason for using tables would be to "fold" your list in half, and put elements side by side. That way it takes up twice as much horizontal space, but half as much vertical space (roughly). I created my own program called Tome, which I use for writing: bitbucket.org/bmearns/tome. I write using a simple markup and then generate various output formats from that. Then I manually edit the HTML and CSS for EPUB and Mobi. – sh1ftst0rm Jun 8 '13 at 12:10
Amazon now has KF8. I'm not sure that even uses mobi. It seems too. But when coding your own HTML/CSS, how do you keep up with all the format changes? – 4thSpace Jun 8 '13 at 16:39
You probably have some good input for this question writers.stackexchange.com/questions/8099/…. – 4thSpace Jun 8 '13 at 16:48
Amazon currently still accepts Mobi format, I think they convert it to KF8 after upload. No idea if they will continue to going forward or not. EPUB is an open and standard and widely supported; this is what tome actually generates. You can find a program called kindlegen from Amazon that converts from EPUB to Mobi. I'm not sure what you mean by format changes: like different file formats? I wrote tome to generate EPUB, and use kindlegen to convert to Mobi. If these stop being widely supported, I'll just have to update tome or use a new tool. But I think EPUB will be around for a while. – sh1ftst0rm Jun 9 '13 at 19:03

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