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First Look: OS X Mavericks iBooks application

updated 06:28 pm EDT, Tue October 22, 2013

How complete is the new app for OS X?

Today's Apple event saw the full release of OS X 10.9 Mavericks, as was widely rumored. With the many "under the hood" changes has come what some call a welcome addition -- the introduction of an OS X iBooks application, allowing content purchased on the iTunes Book Store as well as other accumulated PDFs to be viewed in one, central, indexed application.

When first launched, the app moves content from iTunes into the App. In fact, when "books" are selected in iTunes, the media manager tells the user that the content has been moved to the new app, and can be managed in, and read from, there. Synchronization to iOS devices and selection of content to be sent to the device proceeds as normal, but the content itself is no longer managed through iTunes.

The application resembles the iOS version of the app, but given the nature of the OS X interface, some changes have been made to accommodate pointer-based input. Collections are still broken up into PDFs and Books, as well as an option to display all content minus the iOS bookshelf metaphor.

Migration of pre-existing content was quick, but progress bar progress was not indicative of actual time to completion of our 146 books and PDFs that we had installed in iTunes. Interestingly, some PDFs we migrated into the app wanted to open Adobe Reader, failing on an unusual error (seen below). Adobe Reader was installed, so why the app failed to display, we've got no idea. A reboot didn't solve the problem.

A perusal of the Apple support forums indicated the migration problem was widespread, and seen by many users. We installed the Mavericks update on six machines, with iTunes to iBooks content problems on five of them.

The same PDF installed directly into iBooks with no problem, however, so the problem points to the migration from iTunes (rather than any overall issue with the display engine in the app itself). Not all migrated PDFs manifested the same behavior with the import tool, so for now, we recommend deleting most content automatically migrated from iTunes and replacing with manual additions. This repair method plays havoc with iOS-synchronized content, so its not an optimal solution.

While iBooks for OS X is a welcome addition, it seems unfinished. Migratory issues should have been worked out before the OS rollout. Solutions for reliably installing content in iBooks without the display bug raise some problems with iOS synchronization. Right now, we're not sure its a reliable solution for content management or viewing, but we suspect it will be fixed quickly by Apple.

by MacNN Staff



  1. GopherAlex

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-23-06

    Can't edit book metadata. In iTunes, you could "Get Info" to edit title/author; but in iBooks you're stuck with the metadata in the PDF/ePub file. If it's broken or missing or in all caps or something, too bad.

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