Sunday, July 28, 2013

More ePUB (eBook) management options: Google drive + iTunes Symlink, upload to Google Play (Corrected)

I was a big fan of Google 1.0; Google 2.0 is bit of a rabid dog. Still, it has its uses.

I've previously noted that the Google Play Store is the best eBookStore for iBooks fans. Since then I've learned of two more Google eBook advantages:

  • I can put all my eBooks into Google Drive, then create Symlinks [2] that sit in iTunes. iTunes properly syncs my eBooks to my iPhone. Since the eBooks are in Google Drive, I can access them from work, etc.
  • I can upload all my non-DRMd ePUB files to Google Play. That means I can view them on any Mac using Chrome (or Safari) and the Google Play site. Even my ancient G5 iMac. No need to wait for Mavericks.

The second of these ought to embarrass Apple.

[1] I've used BookReader for OS X, but it doesn't render all books perfectly. Adobe Digital Editions does a bit better, except when it crashes on startup (Delete the Adobe folder in /Documents).

[2] We really need a version of "SymbolicLinker" for the App Store. The old version doesn't work with Gatekeeper; I think there's a ML bug with 'whitelist' services. I'm back to using 'ln -s'.

Update 8/7/2013: Three corrections.

  • There's no need to go crazy and create Symlinks. Turns out a regular old alias works at least as well if not better. So I put my ePubs in Google Drive so they can be accessed from any of my desktop machines, drag a Favorite on top of the Library Books icon in iTunes 10 (I'm resisting iTunes 11), and it's magically on my iPhone too. From Google Drive/Library I drag to my Kobo. I also put many on Google Play, though that's optional (and eventually I expect Google to unify Drive and Play).
  • If you want to keep only one copy of a file (what's 2-3MB nowadays?) you need to turn off "Copy files to iTunes Media when adding to Library".
  • If you do want a version of SymbolicLinker for OS X, just use AppleScript. jonn8n posted this script in 2006 and it works well on Mountain Lion. Since it's not signed code when compiled I had to choose 'Open' once from the context menu so it would work thereafter.

Update 8/7/2013b: More corrections

  • Even though I have "Copy files to iTunes Media when adding to Library" unchecked, iTunes 10 resolves the alias and copies the books anyway. Sigh. Looks like a bug, no idea if it's fixed in 11.

Update 8/9/13: I got iTunes 10 to use Aliases pointing to the file on Google Drive. Trick is to first create Alias on desktop, drag those to iTunes, then delete them from desktop.

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