Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Updating ePub tests in iBooks on iPad

Wow. I've been doing a lot of ePub testing. I edit the XHTML and CSS. Zip an ePub. Copy it to iTunes. Hit Sync. Get bored with waiting the THREE ENDLESS MINUTESit takes to sync a tiny book file. I open the book, calculate the results of my test, go back to BBEdit and start over again.

And that's not counting keeping track of each ePub document.

But that wasn't enough. There must be some sort of caching going on, because even if I delete the ePub from inside the iPad and even if I delete the ePub from inside iTunes, and even if I wait those excruciatingly long 3 minutes for the thing to entirely sync up my tiny new ePub file, I wasn't seeing the changes that I had made.

What could be the problem? Well, the problem is the title. There must be some caching going on inside iBooks, I don't know. But if you try to upload and sync an ePub with the same title as an existing one (even if you had deleted the existing one!!), it will continue to see the old one.

The key is to change the title in the content.opf document. Then it works.

(And, you can cancel a sync right after the ePub is copied to the iPad and save 2.5 minutes.)


  1. Thanks for explaining the caching phenomenon -- it had me pretty confused for a while. Depending on one's workflow, two alternatives to editing the content.opf document are (a) changing the title in the source HTML file and re-running through Calibre; and (b) changing the title in Sigil using the metadata tool.

    There's no need to use sync to transfer epubs to the iPad. You can drag them into the iPad's book list and they get transferred over in a couple of seconds.

  2. @mundie... what do you mean by dragging them to the iPad's booklist?

  3. @Liz: Connect your iPad to your desktop machine. In iTunes, in the sidebar, select Devices -> your iPad -> Books. The books (and audiobooks) on your iPad should appear in the main window. From the finder, drag the epub file you want to install onto the main window, or onto the sidebar entry for your iPad. It should immediately copy the epub onto the iPad.

    I'm using a MacBook and Snow Leopard. I'd be curious to know if this doesn't work for you.

  4. Aha! When I tried to drag things directly to the iPad, everything was grayed out, and it wouldn't let me. I realized I had to switch to Manually manage music and videos in the main Summary box for the iPad, and now it works! That's awesome, thanks so much!

  5. Theres another workaround where you don't have to edit the title (for example if the title has to remain the same if it's a novel)

    *Remove book from itunes/ipad books list & make sure it’s no longer visible on bookshelf.

    *Power off ipad

    *Power on ipad

    *Copy revised epub to ipad


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