An ebook can be marked with a Start Page, the page a reader will see when she first opens the book.
Often, the Start Page is not the first page of the book. In fact, most guidelines recommend using the Start Page to take a reader straight to the Main Text of your book, skipping past frontmatter like a Copyright page or Table of Contents.
Vellum automatically declares your book’s Start Page by analyzing the elements of your book.
Declaring the Start Page
To declare the Start Page, Vellum examines the type of each Element in your book to determine where the Main Text begins.
Typically, your book’s first chapter will be considered the start of the Main Text, but it can also begin with a Prologue, Introduction, or any other Element with a type that is considered part of the Main Text.
This process is more easily explained using a couple of simple examples:
In the above book, since Copyright is not considered part of the Main Text, Chapter 1 will be declared as its Start Page.
In this example, the Prologue will be declared as the Start Page, because that is the first element of the book that is part of the Main Text. The Epigraph that precedes it is considered part of the frontmatter.
Testing Your Book’s Start Page
The best way to test the start page of your book is to load it directly onto an eReader or into an eReader app. Desktop apps such as Kindle for Mac work well for this, or you can use any of the methods described in Proofing Your Books.
When you first load your book, you should find that it opens to the Start Page. On Kindle devices and in Kindle apps, you can also use the Go (To) > Beginning command to navigate to the Start Page.
Amazon Issues with the Start Page
When publishing your book through Amazon, you may find that the Start Page that has been declared isn’t always respected.
For example, if you use the Send to Kindle feature to test your ebook, you will receive a modified version in which the Start Page is sometimes altered to be, inexplicably, in the middle of your Table of Contents. This can also happen when downloading the Preview version from the KDP dashboard. In both of these scenarios, the altered Start Page is particular to this modified version, and does not represent the page that has been declared by Vellum.
This behavior should not occur with the published version of your book on Amazon, which will use the Start Page that has been declared. Though, in rare cases, another Amazon bug can sometimes cause books to open to the Title Page instead.
Note that these problems are specific to Amazon. All other stores respect the declared Start Page without issue.
iBooks Samples and the Start Page
iBooks uses the Start Page as the beginning of the automatically-created sample that can be downloaded by customers. Anything before the Start Page will be excluded from the sample.
If there is a piece of frontmatter you’d rather be included, you can create and use your own sample when you upload to the iBooks Store.