iBooks v1.2 File Update Failures and Glitches

When you transfer a new version of an ePub file into iBooks, it can fail to recognise the new information. Generally I find this to be a problem when fine-tuning CSS in order to improve a layout, because iBooks refuses to show my changes, making the edit-debug cycle incredibly frustrating; the last thing you want to see is the previous version of the book you’re developing. In Handcrafted Ebooks I mentioned that exiting iBooks and running different software would fix this. Unfortunately, this no longer works reliably with iBooks v1.2 and IOS 4.2, both of which were recently rolled out by Apple. Maybe it’s something to do with IOS 4.2’s multi-tasking abilities, allowing iBooks to cling more tenaciously than ever to phantom data; for whatever reason this problem now seems harder to clear by loading other applications.

Happily, the IOS 4.2 Task Manager (aka the Multitasking App Tray) lets you work around this as follows: exit iBooks, double-tap the Home button, and you will see a list of recent applications that includes iBooks. In this list, press and hold the iBooks icon until the red-circled ‘-’ sign appears, then tap that sign. The iBooks application should close, and vanish from the list. Double-tap Home to exit the App Tray, then re-start iBooks and re-open the book you’re working on. So far, this has worked reliably for me — and saved a lot of hair-pulling when incrementally testing new ePub versions.

Update, February 2011: iBooks version 1.2.1 seems to have improved the above issue. I now find that the following sequence is usually sufficient: 1. close the book in iBooks, returning to the app’s Library view. 2. Delete the old version of the book from within iTunes. 3. Drag the new version of the book into iTunes and wait for it to sync. 4. Open the book in iBooks. However, the occasional glitch can still occur, so you might still need to resort to the old method.

5 thoughts on “iBooks v1.2 File Update Failures and Glitches”

  1. Thank you so much for this tip!!!

    I kept opening a new ePub file from an email in iBooks and seeing the old version – thought I was going crazy…

    Also, didn’t want to keep loading in iTunes and synching.

    1. Hello Esther.This is an ePub file for ebooks (Smart phone, iPad, iPod touch, Android tblaets, etc.). You normally can’t open it in Windows unless you have special software. Either download and put on SD card and transfer to your device, or navigate to this URL and download directly to your device. Then use your ebook reader software to open it and add it to your library.

  2. my iphone says configuration Error , There is a problem with the configuration of ur iphone. Please restore with itunes or redownload iBooks. I have tried both but it would not work. Please help

    1. If you google for the error message “Please restore with itunes or redownload iBooks” you’ll find several pages discussing this issue, and some possible solutions. I can’t comment further because I haven’t seen this error.

    2. Folks,There is so much to write about this that a simple blog comemnt won’t really do it, but I do have a few things to add Yes, it’s proprietary, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to use it. It does, however, make amazing books in very little time, and if you’re not in it for the profit, you’re perfectly at liberty at to distribute the books you create in any way you see fit I sent one to a friend on Friday. So it’s not doom and gloom only for those wishing to make money. I quote from the Apple site: Only material that you intend to sell commercially has to be sold via iTunes. All other content is free to distribute to whoever you want on whatever devices you want ( ) Output formats include PDF .And what of that money? Well, Apple have capped books made this way to a maximum of US$15, which rather flies in the face of the US$75 that many textbooks cost in the States. And that’s where the economics do work out if you buy a few of those textbooks each year, you’re soon spending enough to buy an iPad and a set of cheaper textbooks. Publishers seem to agree with this authors do not, apparently Of course this isn’t going to work, say, in Vietnam but then neither is the Kindle or the Fire or a cheap Android tablet’, and now we’re really back to the age old discussion of the digital haves and have nots, and merely haggling over the price’, as the old anecdote goes.Amazon Market Place is not an open place, nor is the Kindle publishing place, either. What you gain in perceived freedom with Android, you lose in actual quality, control of other parts of the ecosystem, compromised apps that steal your credit card details, and more.Since acquiring a new Android tablet recently I’ve been hard-pushed to find a set of apps of the same quality as the suite I can find for the iOS platform. In many ways I like the fact that Apple has some kind of quality control mechanism it stops the dross.So what does this all mean? In the short term it means that many students in the US are going to avoid breaking their backs with a backpack full of heavy books and are going to have an ultimately cheaper textbook experience’. That textbook experience is likely to be a lot more interesting than the printed versions of the same books.In the medium term it means that the alternative community (Android, Open Source ) is going to have to design something that will cater to this need to publish something other than reams and reams of Times New Roman black text on a white background the traditional epub (whether we like it nor not) is not going to last beyond the middle of this decade.And in the long term, well this is just the beginning. And much as it is easy to diss Apple for proprietorial’, closed shop attitudes to a lot of what they produce, you can be sure of one thing that without Apple much of this innovation wouldn’t exist, or would have taken a lot longer to come about. And of course we all have a choice if we feel so strongly about how terrible it all is, we can simply give our iPads away and walk away back to the the monochrome world of no interaction.For the The Round it means (I suspect) a lot of work the ePub version of, say, 52, will be black text on a white background. But if you’re going to put out a version using iBooks Author, there’s no reason not to include some video material, images, diagrams, handouts, quizzes And so the struggle begins. It’s going to be a ling few years while this one plays out.Good luck!Gavin

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