Question is why iBooks, Readium & al. can’t solve this? After all, Opera made that happen for mobile in the first place…
Image wizardry in eBooks
Jiminy Panoz

To be fair, we tried to achieve complex layouts at some point, it was called the adaptative layout spec.

See here for samples:

  1. Peter Sorotokin is a beast, no doubt about it.
  2. The Polyfill is BRUTAL.
  3. the whole thing with regions and affiliated is that it’s borderline complex and is very painful to author (even with software) and scale.

So there is probably a middle ground we can find in columns + CSS figures.