A self-publishing author started his book with two epigraphs and a prologue. I originally formatted this as one file, putting the epigraphs at the top of the page (separated by blank lines). The prologue followed.

He objected to this, saying that he wanted each epigraph to appear on its own page. I formatted the three elements in the file (two epigraphs and the prologue) as three chapters inside the one file. This passed the IDPF EPUB validator and displayed correctly in the Kindle app, ADE (Adobe Digital Editions), and on a Nook.

He then uploaded the .epub file I made for him to the Kobo Bookstore, and viewed the result in the Kobo app on his iPad. He complained that the epigraphs no longer appeared on separate pages, but were displayed above the prologue.

I don't know why a kludge that worked for the IDPF and for several other ereaders did not work here. I asked him to try the file on a real Kobo, not just on his iPad. I have not heard from him. It is possible that the problem lies with the app. Still, the file should work across all platforms.

I consulted a colleague, who told me that page-break-before:always did not always work. She did not know why. She suggested splitting the one file into three. I did that, but it was not an easy task. I had to change the toc.ncx, the content.opf, the contents page, and renumber the toc-anchors in most of the files. I am not happy with the result. The contents page now has entries for Epigraph the First and Epigraph the Second. That is lame.

Is there a way I can make the three chapters in one file work for the Kobo app?

  • Not a duplicate; two separate issues.
    – Zora
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 1:10
  • Do you write all that stuff by hand? Have you tried Sigil?
    – Raphael
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 22:04

1 Answer 1


Kobo ereader devices have two different internal reading software.

Ebooks downloaded from the Kobo bookstore are a modified epub format with the particular extension .kepub.epub, while if you sideload a standard epub from your PC it retains its original extension (.epub).

By checking the extension of the files, the software automatically select the relative reading software (you don't normally notice many differences, they have some different internal features though).

I had the same issue with page break html code and experimented a bit, and it seems that the .kepub.epub engine (the one used with books from the Kobo store) doesn't support it, so I think that there is not much you can do about it.

A possible solution, like you have been suggested, could be to split the html file in multiple ones, exactly where you would have put the page break code. If you use Sigil or the Calibre internal editor you won't have to manually edit toc.ncx, contents.opf and all other files/references, because they will do automatically; it's an easy task, really.

Please note that books bought from the Kobo bookstore are stored inside the device database and not as individual files.

  • I started with Calibre, but felt that I was working with blunt tools. I tried Sigil and didn't like it ... then. I suppose I should try it again, as several people doing professional formatting tell me that they use it. It may have improved. OR, it may still write ugly code :)
    – Zora
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 0:20

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