Posts Tagged ‘epub’

Now that I’ve covered all six output methods, let’s do a quick review.

Epub to Adobe Digital Editions had an issue with the cover appearing off-center and cut off. It did well on text formatting, with everything working correctly except the two more obscure fonts. It had an issue with unordered-within-ordered nested lists. As long as the window was sized large enough, all the image requests came out as planned. Links worked fine, except the link within the text caused the anchor ID to appear as a hyperlink.

Epub to Calibre

Calibre passed with flying colors. It even had three out of the four fonts (no output device had the fourth font). No complaints.

Epub to iBooks

iBooks did well with the text formatting, but only had two out of the four fonts. The text-image alignments only worked when they both fit on the screen, and since there was no way to resize the screen, that wasn’t often. The iPhone app had a pretty serious problem with floating images, which the iPad app did not.

Mobi to Kindle for computer

The “Intro” link on Table of Contents took you to the cover, not the intro heading. Text did well, and it had three out of the four fonts (none had all four). Everything else ran smoothly. Excellent work.

Mobi to Kindle app (iPad and iPhone)

Table of contents is absent. All lines are indented (not planned). No typeface changes worked at all, and font size changes were not to scale. Weird problem with the ordered-within-unordered list. None of the image alignment worked–as with iBooks, this is probably because of the inability to resize the screen. There was also no border on the bordered image. What a mess! At least the link did not highlight the anchor as in some of the other outputs.

Mobi to Kindle device

Again, the table of contents is absent. The text mostly mirrored that on the iPad/iPhone app: all indented, no typeface changes, font size changes but not to the sizes requested. The “colored” text appeared in greyscale, which is fair since this is not a colored screen. There was a problem with ordered-within-unordered lists, but not as drastic as the problem with the app. No formatting with the images worked. Background colors did not appear at all. Like the app, the link within the text did not cause the anchor to hyperlink, which was a plus. Otherwise, though, lots of problems here.

So to sum up, by my findings, in terms of best to worst handling of formatting:

1. Calibre

2. Kindle for computer

3. Adobe Digital Editions

4. iBooks

5. Kindle app

6. Kindle device

Of course, this wasn’t meant to be a contest, but rather a resource for ebook authors and publishers. I wanted you to be able to see what works where, and what doesn’t. If you’re only composing for Calibre, great, do what you want! But if you intend to sell your book to the public, you don’t know what kind of device it could end up on. Have a look though these pages to see what can go wrong, so you’ll know what formatting to avoid as you submit your epub or mobi.




I’ve been taking an ebooks class this semester, and for my final project I decided to do a little formatting experiment. We learned all kinds of formatting and CSS in class, but a lot of what we learned didn’t work on every form of output. The same epub file might come out differently in Adobe Digital Editions versus iBooks. So I created a mini-ebook in both epub and mobi, with all kinds of formatting “issues” I could think of–colors, lists, images–and took screenshots of how they came out in different programs and devices.

Let’s begin with epub to Adobe Digital Editions.

For starters, you can download the epub here. But it is possible to get the gist of the experiment without downloading it.

Let’s see how the epub displayed in Adobe Digital Editions.


You can see from both the thumbnail in the upper left corner and the first page that the cover is off-center. The cover also doesn’t fit on the first page, and instead of shrinking it or splitting it in two, we get half a cover followed by a blank page. This isn’t such a huge issue with a cover image, but it might be a problem for larger images contained in the book.


The font colors, alignments, and sizes all worked. The common typefaces displayed correctly, but the uncommon ones did not.


The reason the first line came out as a link isn’t because it’s a hyperlink itself. It’s actually the anchored “ID” tag that I use to jump within the book later on. It doesn’t actually link to anything, and should not be highlighted.

The regular lists work fine, but we hit a pretty epic fail with the unordered list nested within the ordered list. As you see, the ordering continued through, leaving what should be step four as step seven. There’s no problem with the opposite, the ordered list within the unordered one.


All the alignments and borders worked! Of course, the ADE window had to be wide enough to fit the images next to the texts. Otherwise the images came out below the text, instead of aligned.


They both work. Just annoying that the second link causes the anchor to behave like hyperlink.



Next: Epub to Calibre.