Saturday, June 14, 2014

The iBooks Categories and Collections fiasco - and the Google Drive fix

Seriously, this might be worse than Podcasts.

iBooks for OS X

This list of Collections is editable in OS X

Screen Shot 2014 06 14 at 4 40 23 PM

This list of Categories is not. Only iBooks Store items get Categories now, all other items are Uncategorized.

Screen Shot 2014 06 14 at 4 43 05 PM

iTunes for OS X

iTunes no longer allows Category or Collection assignment or viewing by Category or Collection. It only knows Books and PDF. All materials that go to on iOS need to pass through iTunes, there’s no Cloud sync. So they all appear in an undifferentiated mass from which one must select to sync.

Smart Playlists can be defined in iTunes using Media Kind of Book (but not PDF), but they are empty if one has moved media to iBooks for OS X.

iBooks for iOS 

Here again the Categories are fixed, they show up as the Gray items. Uncategorized show at top and anything that’s not purchased through the iBooks Store has is “uncategorized” (category is null). Wait, Collections are worse.


Here’s the list of Collections on iOS.They don’t match the $%$#% list of Collections on OS X.

Photo  1

Yeah, Really. Collections metadata doesn’t synchronize between for iOS and iBooks for OS X. They’re two independent sets.

I’ve read a lot lately about the glorious renaissance of post-WWDC Apple. I’ll believe it when I experience it myself. Until then … pathetic.

Update 614/2014 - How I dealt with this

A few things I learned about iBooks for OS X and iOS Google Drive

  • If you select all books, you can drag it the files to the desktop and create PDFs and ePubs with names that match what shows in iBooks. After you do this iBooks shows only Cloud purchases, including Cloud purchases for removed items.
  • Once iBooks knows about an iBook Store item there’s no way to forget it. You bought it, so you have it forever. Bit of a shame if it’s something like “How to pick up women” — and you’re a married man (or woman). So iPhone User Guide for iOS 5 is there forever.
  • If you view an iBook using on OS X it gets added back to the Library (copy).
  • Once you’ve enabled iBooks you can’t add ePub back into iTunes (There’s a way to do this by completely removing all traces of from OS X but I didn’t try that.)
  • If a PDF or ePub is present in Google Drive on iOS and you tap it, you have the option to open it in iBooks for iOS.
So this is what I’ve done …
  • I moved everything from OS X iBooks into my Mac’s file system — specifically to folders within Google Drive. So they’re available anywhere I reference Google Drive, including on iOS. I can tag items and organize those folders anyway I want, create Smart Folders and so on. Pretty powerful, though I don’t think I have access to author and other metadata.
  • On either iPhone or Mac I open items I want to read from Google Drive. They do get copied into iBooks, periodically I go into iBooks on my Mac and delete everything to clean it out.


Tom said...

I'm discovering this post over a year later. It is worse than ever. I have limited space on an older iPad mini. I carefully choose what iBooks & PDF's I wish to save to the mini, after all is said and done, I have WAY more on there than I specified. What a cluster____!
Running latest iOS and OS X. If only everything worked as well as Notes!

JGF said...

Not only is iTunes/iBooks worse than ever, Google Drive has also regressed. It now no longer smoothly passes EPUBs over to iOS iBooks, and for most of the past year it wouldn't properly copy EPUB to on iOS

Oh, and Siri no longer opens audiobooks properly...

I think it's a global conspiracy.