Posts Tagged ‘iBooks’

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.

In the last post, I covered epub to Adobe Digital Editions and epub to Calibre. In this post, I’m covering epub to iBooks, on both iPad and iPhone.

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 iBooks for iPad.


The cover fits on the first page, with no off-centering problems on page or thumbnail (not shown).


As with ADE, all the text formatting worked except the more obscure fonts.


Above, you can see that we have the same problem as with ADE, with the ID anchor in the first line under “Lists” being treated as a hyperlink. It’s more subtle in this case, since the hyperlink isn’t underlined, but it’s still a misleading distraction.

The list themselves, though, are fine.


Notice the issue with the alignments. This was the same problem I had with the two desktop applications I’ve reviewed so far, that was solved by resizing the window. You can resize the windows on iBooks (if you turn the iPad sideways, it switches to a 2-page spread), so there’s no quick fix.

Don’t be fooled by the last two images. The image with the border displays as it should. The image that is supposed to be floating right is the one on the following page, which also displays as it should. At first glance, it looked like the same image was displayed twice!

Links and Backgrounds

Both links work as they should (the link within the book having the annoying quality mentioned above of displaying the anchor as a hyperlink). The link to the website brings up a pop-up window asking, “Do you want to leave iBooks and open this link?” Upon clicking “Open,” it opens the link in Safari.

Now let’s look at iBook for iPhone. Most things were the same, so I’m just highlighting anything that came out differently than in the iPad version.


Haha. No. It will not justify. It’s easier to tell on this narrow a screen!

Image alignment

Even though we’re looking at split-up images, we can easily see that both the top- and middle-alignments actually came out as the default bottom-align.

Now here’s a weird thing. The floating image works fine with the iPhone held sideways:

But look what happens when it’s held upright!

That is probably not something you want to have happen by accident.

Next: Mobi to Kindle for desktop.