One of the annoyances Stephen Coles cited in his article about iPad typography was the way that iBooks uses full justification with no hyphenation. This was also something that annoyed me about the Sony and Astak e-readers that I reviewed.
While I do not know of an easy way to add hyphenation, the full justification is something that can be dealt with (at least for DRM-free e-books, such as those from Baen), using our old friend Calibre. (This also works for the Sony, Astak, and presumably any other EPUB readers with no internal control over justification.)
Simply open Calibre, select all the e-books you wish to left-justify, then right-click one of them and choose “Convert e-books” followed by “Bulk convert” from the context menu. In the conversion options screen, make sure “Output format” (in the upper right corner) is set to EPUB, and be sure to check “No text justification.”
I also like to make sure “Remove spacing between paragraphs” is checked and “Insert blank line” is not. This makes sure that I end up with nicely indented paragraphs that look just like the pages in a book, wasting less space on the screen—especially in the landscape “facing pages” mode.
I leave the other settings alone, largely because I’m not familiar enough with what they do to feel confident changing them from the defaults. Those more conversant with Calibre will, of course, have their own preferred settings.
After that, it is simply a matter of clicking “OK” and waiting while Calibre churns through the e-book conversion process. Once that is done, you can use file find to list all EPUB files in your Calibre directory, then drag and drop them onto iTunes for installation to the iPad.
Needless to say, the process will also work in reverse, for those who prefer full justification but find they have downloaded files that do not have it.