Wednesday, November 6, 2013 [Tweets] [Favorites]

The Problem with iBooks

Clark Goble:

Now you might think this wouldn’t be a huge issue. You’d think you could do what you do in iTunes and just select “Reveal in Finder” for the book you are looking at. You’d be wrong. iBooks follows more of the type of storage that iOS uses. i.e. completely unintended to be visual. It doesn’t keep the original files stored in a suitable location with a database storing links and metadata the way iTunes does. Rather there is a folder deep in ~/Library with a hash code name for each book.

The other metadata problem with iBooks is that, unlike Kindle, there is no easy way to export the highlights and notes that you’ve added. The situation is slightly improved now that there’s a Mac version, though, since you can get at the SQLite file in:


Update (2013-11-07): Aaron D’Amico told me that his forthcoming Compendiums app will address the problem of exporting iBooks metadata.


I actually cut iBooks a bit of a break since it clearly was barely ready for GM. It wasn’t even in the betas until August. And the iOS iBooks isn’t even out yet. So they’re definitely under a time crunch. The metadata is actually a pretty big issue for a lot of my books, but I’m writing some scripts and then possibly an app that will fix that too.

By no means am I first in line to defend iBooks, but annotation export by email is available via the Table of Contents button > Notes > Edit Notes > Select All > Share > Mail. And the result isn't great, but it's something...

@tofias Thanks. I didn’t see that the last time I looked, but it’s there now. One thing the Kindle does better is that its notes have clickable links back to the original passage.

[…] doesn’t have AppleScript support. The annotations are stored in a SQLite file: […]

Compendiums link is dead / redirects to some "your iPhone is infected omg" malware site.

In other news, 7+ years later Books highlights export is still exactly as dumb.

@jes Thanks, I replaced it with an archive link.

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