iTunes ePub eBooks: Cover Display Problems

Update: There is now a second part with additional information. See end of this post.


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I did some more testing of ePub eBooks with iTunes.

Some unhappiness resulted.

Not all ePub covers will display in iTunes. I feared this would happen.

Top row, left to right:

Yellow is from Project Gutenberg.

Green is from Munseys.

Purple is from Feedbooks.

Second row:

Red is from Smashwords.

And here are three of the “problem” covers in Adobe Digital Editions:

So, even before iBooks is released — if this iTunes display renders the same as iBooks — Apple needs to go and update the program to handle this.

What I don’t understand is this: Why wasn’t this tested and prevented? Who at Apple has been neglecting eBooks?

Additional coverage: iTunes ePub eBooks: More Cover Tests

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17 responses to “iTunes ePub eBooks: Cover Display Problems

  1. Well, the reasoning behind it, quite simply, is that Apple does not expect you to be getting eBooks from sources other than iBookstore.

    Unfortunately, unless you all [legacy eReader people] file bug reports, I don’t see them showing any interest in fixing this.

    They’re aiming for all the people who have never touched an eBook or eBook reader before.

  2. Bullshit. Apple explicitly states in the description of iBooks that people can add books from other sources. This is simply Apple not paying attention, period. That even FBreader can display these covers says it all.

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  4. I will second that bullshit. Hence my comments on your previous posting about itunes. Apple will lose a lot of sales to those of us who care about books. I am a scholar and want to do research but Notes nor does Pages offer a way to do that. There is no annotation tools in ibooks reader either, nor any citation tools. I bet a lot of the geeks at Apple never ever wrote a real research paper, if they did, they would have realized how poorly ibooks is for students. I feel sorry for students getting iPad now. The more I learn from Mike, the more I am disappointed in Apple.

  5. Lindsey Thomas Martin

    @Hadrien: I solved the problem with the covers [from Feedbooks] in iTunes. It’ll take a few days before every book on the website is updated.

  6. Not bullshit; when you consider the amount of people who will be inserting their own eBooks vs the people getting them from iBookstore, Apple has little to no interest in fixing the edge cases for you guys :-)

    Sorry!

  7. Nope, ePub is ePub. You can’t claim to read, say, MS Word files and then say, “Oops, except for, you know, headers or file metadata.”

  8. I expected these problems. Mentioned them well before now. As for missing features in iBooks, it will be interesting to see how/if they add even something like highlighting. Hm, I never considered Pages to be able to do dissertation-like documents. Maybe someone else will step up with a specialized app for that. Better than shoehorning it into Pages.

  9. I honestly don’t think you know how Apple works? Unless you (and several others) actually file bug reports saying their metadata handling is broken, they will not fix this. They will call it done, and push you towards iBookstore instead.

    They will be far more interested in re-selling you the same content using their DRM.

  10. You are not understanding the bigger picture that it’s Apple vs Google for books and Apple had better get its ass in gear on this matter.

  11. Derrick Dodson

    Got to go with Mike on this. They (apple) states that they are supporting a standard. The standard being ePub is just that a STANDARD. all ereaders that support that format are to treat the file the same.

    So as everyone else has stated B.S. this is not a “bug” report to be filed but lack of testing and getting it right.

  12. Derrick Dodson

    I for one have a HUGE ebook library that I will be converting to ePub through calibre (works great) and putting them on my iPad. Specifically some text books that will be converted from PDF to ePub. Tested and they look great and show with covers in the “books” area of iTunes.

    Trying to get ahead of getting the device on Sat.

  13. sweetseater

    Relax. It won’t be full-feature and perfect the first iteration.

    File an incident.

    It will get taken care of including annotating and highlighting in the future updates of the software.

  14. This is not Apple’s fault.

    The problem is that the ePub specification doesn’t have a standard for specifying the cover.

    Many ePub book makers specify the cover in arcane, illogical ways. Rather than create a “cover.jpg”, they each do it in their own way – such as burying it in an xml with weird way of specifying the cover.

    Just look at mike’s own discovery: http://ebooktest.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/idpf-screws-up-epub-ebook-covers-for-everyone/

    The publishers are at fault for not doing something obvious such as specifying a cover picture with a file called “cover.jpg”.

    Apple has to cover up their mistakes by writing code to read their messy ePubs. But it should be the publishers who fix their own cover specification mistakes/messes/weird coding of epub. That mess is not Apple’s fault.

  15. You can always select Get Info and copy/paste the cover under Artwork to fix this issue.

    It will get worked out..

  16. That last comment is within Itunes…..sorry

  17. Copy & paste? Really? I must try that.