The Checklist: fix iBooks image handling

Mike Cane suggested that I put together a checklist of problems that need to be fixed in ebook format handling so those at fault could be made accountable.

So here goes the first entry:

Hey Apple! Fix iBook’s image handling! Because it is totally broken.

When building an ebook with images you have two options today for how to prepare images for iBooks:

  1. None of them will display properly

  2. Some of them will display properly, seemingly at random

The difference lies in a metadata toggle called “ibooks:respect-image-size-class”. It may say respect-image-size, but it lies! A more appropriate name would be respect-image-size-sometimes-if-I-feel-like-it-and-you-sacrifice-a-chicken.

But I guess that would be to long. Maybe the name used is the abridged version.

Of course, Apple’s crazy madcap plan for worldwide sensible image sizing might have worked if every ePub production app in the world followed Apple’s rules, but they don’t. So, please stop.

So, here’s my suggestion to Apple: just render images like the browser does, paying attention to the attributes on the element and its style declarations. Don’t try to be smart because when you fail (which iBooks does frequently) you just look extra dumb.