Sometimes it can be a real crapshoot to get ePub to display properly. Even Adobe’s own ePub rendering engine tends to make the best designed eBook look nothing more than generically fugly.
So when Chippy did his test of Aldiko ePub reading software on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, my curiosity was sent into gear.
For Research Purposes Only, I took two highly-stylized ePub eBooks from a professional publishing house and, um, massaged the files to display on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet.
There are photos of the test results after the break.
These photos are huge and can be clicked to see details.
The first eBook is: Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard.
This is how it looks using the Windows XP desktop version of FBReader, which does not handle CSS correctly (yet?):
This is the same page being displayed in Aldiko on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Enable CSS turned off:
Notice how the capital-T is not handled correctly in FBReader and both add large line spacing.
Now this is it in Aldiko with CSS handling turned on:
Notice how the line spacing has been closed up and is now more book-like. This is how it should look.
From the same book is the first page of a chapter:
Aldiko with CSS turned off:
Ouch! Both are very poor.
Now Aldiko with CSS turned on:
This is a correct rendering.
Here it is in Adobe Digital Editions for reference:
The second eBook is: I’m Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears and Other Intriguing Idioms From Around the World by Jag Bhalla.
Here is a page in FBReader:
Here it is in Aldiko with CSS turned off (the page is split across two screens here):
Here it is in Aldiko with CSS turned on (again split across two screens):
Notice again how line spacing has been closed up and the indented margins have been fixed. And the illustration has been properly centered. This is a correct rendering.
The conclusion? Aldiko is excellent software for reading ePub eBooks. It renders highly-designed eBooks correctly.
This makes the Archos 5 Internet Tablet — and all Android OS-based phones (especially the new Acer Liquid phone, with its WVGA screen) — real alternatives to eInk devices, provided DRM-free ePub eBooks only are used. (Or, if you know how, massaged legally-purchased ePub eBooks. Do not pirate! Writers must be able to earn a living!)