A print designer called me over to her desk this week during an ebook review in Adobe Digital Editions to show me something I had never seen before.

That’s always a good start to the workday, right?

ADE v1.7

PRINT DESIGNER: “There are some crazy long words that drag on across 2 pages in some places.”
ME: “… . Let me think on that a bit!”

The first thing I do in these situations is to take it to Twitter:

Help!

Then I thought of the first thing I should have asked her.

ME: “What version of ADE are you using?”
PRINT DESIGNER: “Looks like v1.7.”
ME: “Oh! Okay, update to v2.0. I’ll send you the link. Adobe doesn’t push updates for ADE.”
(I go get another cup of coffee while she installs v2.0.)
PRINT DESIGNER: “Problem solved!”

Of course, it’s not as simple as that. (For the small amount of our readers who may be using ADE v1.7 … well, I draw the line at optimizing our ebooks for out-of-date ereaders.) Knowing how ereaders mess with my head render content inconsistently, the day ahead included some testing. I’ve compiled these screenshots for your viewing pleasure and for the advancement of humankind.

Here’s the paragraph in question:

Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorffvoralternwarengewissenhaftschaferswessenschafewarenwohlgepflegeundsorgfaltigkeitbeschutzenvonangreifendurchihrraubgierigfeindewelchevoralternzwolftausendjahresvorandieerscheinenwanderersteerdemenschderraumschiffgebrauchlichtalsseinursprungvonkraftgestartseinlangefahrthinzwischensternartigraumaufdersuchenachdiesternwelchegehabtbewohnbarplanetenkreisedrehensichundwohinderneurassevonverstandigmenschlichkeitkonntefortplanzenundsicherfreuenanlebenslanglichfreudeundruhemitnichteinfurchtvorangreifenvonandererintelligentgeschopfsvonhinzwischensternartigraum, Senior.

Here’s the paragraph in Dreamweaver:

Markup (Dreamweaver)

Markup (Dreamweaver)

(updated to include the css)

css

And here’s the paragraph in a variety of ereaders:
Adobe RMSDK-based ereaders
Kindles
Kobos
Web-based Ereaders

Adobe RMSDK-based ereaders = passable

Adobe Digital Editions v2.0

ADE v2.0

Nook Color

Nook Color

Kindles = passable

Kindle iPad App

Kindle iPad App

Kindle Mac Desktop App

Kindle Mac Desktop App

Kindle Fire HD

Name_Kindle_Fire

Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle mobi (Kindle Previewer)

Kindle mobi

There’s some ereaders I’ve skipped (sorry Kobo!). Laura Brady kindly testing this paragraph for Kobo:

Kobos = passable

Kobo Eink: Aura

Kobo Eink

Kobo App for Android

Kobo App for Android

Kobo App for the iPad

Kobo App for the iPad

I deem all these passable because I didn’t have to do anything special to the long word to make it wrap and, in some cases, hyphens were even included (small victories!). Clearly, Kindle App for the iPad and Kobo App for the iPad are the winners. The word breaks with appropriately-placed hyphens. Who woulda thunk it?

Web-based Ereaders =
I expected more from you!

EPUBReader in Firefox

EPUBReader in Firefox

Readium in Chrome

Readium in Chrome

iBooks

iBooks

Web-based ereaders are simply allowing the word to wander off the page into oblivion.

The thing about this testing is that it’s interesting and valuable, but loading ebooks onto ereaders and compiling screen shots takes a long problem and makes it even longer. Anybody have tips to alleviate that process?

boy, that escalated quickly

Several Twitter friends recommended hyphenation solutions. I’ll be tackling that next.