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Old 01-10-2013, 10:13 PM   #1
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Phantom Book Won't Go Away

I have a Kobo Touch that I bought last summer (June?). It has worked wonderfully up 'till now; I have updated it regularly (including with several of the fatal error causing firmware updates that occurred around the time of the early 2.x releases) and have never had anything other than slight, known bugs.

About 2 weeks ago, I updated the reader and shortly after noticed a book (The Woman in White from the Internet Archives iirc) that I had deleted appear back in my library. The book no longer has a cover, continually jumps to the "most recently read" position on the home screen, and cannot be opened (it gives an error claiming the book is ADE protected and not registered to the proper account).

I have never (until today) registered the reader with ADE, though ADE has "seen" it (thereby placing "device.xml" in the Digital Editions folder). I can delete the book, but it always reappears the next time I bring the reader out of sleep mode. I have reset the reader to no avail and have now completed a factory reset for the second time on it. Both times, immediately after completing the setup and sync with Kobo (through Kobo Desktop), the book has reappeared.

Can anyone help me with this? I am about ready to *shudder* contact Kobo help and ask for a replacement/repair.

A few facts -
  • I normally manually sideload my ebooks that are not Kobo purchases.
  • The ebook file is not visible/present on the reader.
  • My reader is currently running firmware v2.3.1.
  • Two factory resets have been performed on the reader since the problem first showed up.
  • I do not normally allow Calibre to "see" the reader, though I did sideload one book with it around the time the problem started to occur.
  • I typically use Windows 7 when working with the reader.
  • I have access to Linux (Ubuntu 12.10) if need be.
  • I currently do not have access to useable WiFi and must use Kobo Desktop for all syncing of the reader.

Other errors that started concurrently with the phantom book error -
  • I have also noticed that, starting at the same time as the phantom book, sideloaded epubs can no longer be read, showing blank pages when opened. This can be fixed by renaming to name.kepub.epub (while breaking annotations).
  • Sideloaded name.kepub.epub books no longer properly save "last read" positions.

Last edited by MR. Pockets; 01-10-2013 at 11:47 PM.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:20 PM   #2
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How did that book get onto your device in the first place? Was it from Kobo? If it wasn't I can't understand why it would come back after the factory resets. Does it show in the library list as a "KOBO EPUB" or something else? What happens when you try to delete it on the device?

I don't know what is causing this, but I know what I would do. I would be looking through the database on the device to examine the record for the book and try and work out what was wrong. After that, I'd either delete the record, or change it to make disappear. The latter would be so that a sync with Kobo wouldn't bring it back. But, if you don't have SQL knowledge, this isn't practical.

If the above didn't work (or for someone who doesn't know how to) I would suggest uninstalling and reinstalling the Kobo desktop app. I would also make sure to removed all traces of it (there is a database and copies of the books), and download the latest version. After the install, do a factory reset of the device and then set it up again. If the book comes back after that, it is a problem on the Kobo server and you should complain to them.

When I have had blank pages when reading the epubs, it has always been a font problem. Changing the size or font usually fixed this.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:50 PM   #3
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I sideloaded the book several months ago. I don't recall if I had deleted it or if it broke first, but I have tried deleting it from on the device and it deletes properly only to return after it wakes up. The books shows up as a normal, sideloaded epub sans cover. I have no idea why it continues to show up; I have no record of it in my purchase history, or online Kobo library and it doesn't show up in Kobo Desktop so I'm fairly certain the problem is confined to the reader.

I don't have any SQL knowledge, though I did try poking around in the database once before deciding that wasn't a very smart idea (I didn't change anything).

Changing the fonts do allow the text to show, but only briefly; it quickly disappears again as soon as the menu closes.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:53 AM   #4
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How are you deleting this book?
When you delete book from your Kobo book is still in trash folder until you empty trash. Book is still in Kobo readers data base until Kobo updates it's data base.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmo View Post
[...] Book is still in Kobo readers data base until Kobo updates it's data base.
...by syncing
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:42 AM   #6
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How are you deleting this book?
When you delete book from your Kobo book is still in trash folder until you empty trash. Book is still in Kobo readers data base until Kobo updates it's data base.
That depends on the type of book and the firmware version. If it is a kepub, then what you say is correct. The main record for the book is marked as deleted until the next sync. The rest of the records for the book are removed.

For other types, all details are removed. Except with firmware 2.0.0. With that, all books were treated the same as kepubs. But, it is the only firmware version that this happened with.

But, as far as I can tell, no version of Kobo firmware sends information about sideloaded books to the Kobo server. If it is, then it is definitely not sending the info back to the device at any time.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MR. Pockets View Post
I sideloaded the book several months ago. I don't recall if I had deleted it or if it broke first, but I have tried deleting it from on the device and it deletes properly only to return after it wakes up. The books shows up as a normal, sideloaded epub sans cover. I have no idea why it continues to show up; I have no record of it in my purchase history, or online Kobo library and it doesn't show up in Kobo Desktop so I'm fairly certain the problem is confined to the reader.

I don't have any SQL knowledge, though I did try poking around in the database once before deciding that wasn't a very smart idea (I didn't change anything).
In that case, I think you should blow everything away and start again.
Quote:
Changing the fonts do allow the text to show, but only briefly; it quickly disappears again as soon as the menu closes.
Does the font get remembered the next time you open the dialog? The font settings are stored in a config file. I'm wondering if this is being updated correctly. With recent firmware, the settings are also stored per book in the database.

The only thing I can think of is that the new firmware isn't installing properly. You could try manually installing the firmware on top of the current install. Kobo have suggested this a couple of times to solve problems.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmo View Post
How are you deleting this book?
When you delete book from your Kobo book is still in trash folder until you empty trash. Book is still in Kobo readers data base until Kobo updates it's data base.
I delete it by selecting the book on the reader and "clicking" delete. There is no file to delete over usb.

Quote:
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In that case, I think you should blow everything away and start again.
You mean just delete the KoboReader.sqlite file? If so, shouldn't that already be happening in a factory reset?

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Originally Posted by davidfor View Post
Does the font get remembered the next time you open the dialog? The font settings are stored in a config file. I'm wondering if this is being updated correctly. With recent firmware, the settings are also stored per book in the database.

The only thing I can think of is that the new firmware isn't installing properly. You could try manually installing the firmware on top of the current install. Kobo have suggested this a couple of times to solve problems.
The settings do seem to be remembered. While checking this today, the behavior changed. Text now shows up, but only in the top left corner, as if it is zoomed out. I can change the font size and it flashes a normal text-filled screen, only to quickly "zoom" back out.

I'll do a manual firmware install later today (I'm at college and don't have time now) and post the results.
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:18 PM   #9
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Update: I tried to do a manual firmware reinstall of 2.3.1 following these instructions
Quote:
Originally Posted by rashkae View Post
... Unpack the zip file into the .kobo directory on the Kobo, eject and unplug, and the Kobo should update itself....
to no avail. My reader refuses to even start the update sequence. I tried downgrading to 2.1.4, but that also failed to initialize. I then tried placing the firmware folder in the main KoboeReader folder, and even placing the zip file in the .kobo folder. None of these worked. What am I doing wrong?
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:22 PM   #10
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Update: I tried to do a manual firmware reinstall of 2.3.1 following these instructions to no avail. My reader refuses to even start the update sequence. I tried downgrading to 2.1.4, but that also failed to initialize. I then tried placing the firmware folder in the main KoboeReader folder, and even placing the zip file in the .kobo folder. None of these worked. What am I doing wrong?
How far down did you unpack the zip file? Some unpackers unpack too far.

What you should be left with is three things:
- 1 folder called "upgrade"
- 1 file called KoboRoot.tgz (this sometimes gets unpacked too; it shouldn't)
- 1 file called manifest.md5sum

Those three should definitely go into the .kobo folder on the Kobo. Then eject the device, unplug, and the Kobo should start the install.
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:32 PM   #11
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That is exactly what I got and what I did. But when I ejected and unplugged, the reader simply returned to the homepage.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:42 PM   #12
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That is exactly what I got and what I did. But when I ejected and unplugged, the reader simply returned to the homepage.
Whenever that happens to me it means that I made a mistake with the manual install. But, if you did what Mrs_Often said, then it should have worked. Can you check that the files are still there in the ".kobo" directory?

The "blow everything away" I was suggesting was a factory reset plus complete removal of the desktop app and data from your PC. Hopefully that will remove the source of the phantom book. If that doesn't fix things, then the only thing left is a faulty device. Maybe the internal memory is corrupt or damaged.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:11 PM   #13
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Whenever that happens to me it means that I made a mistake with the manual install. But, if you did what Mrs_Often said, then it should have worked. Can you check that the files are still there in the ".kobo" directory?

The "blow everything away" I was suggesting was a factory reset plus complete removal of the desktop app and data from your PC. Hopefully that will remove the source of the phantom book. If that doesn't fix things, then the only thing left is a faulty device. Maybe the internal memory is corrupt or damaged.
I'm not sure what I was doing wrong the first time, but I tried again and this time it worked. However, there was no change in the behavior.

I unistalled Kobo Desktop and reset my reader again but the book is still there. However, on a whim, I stopped the sync immediately after registering the reader and there was no phantom book; it appeared that everything was normal. It was only after completing the sync that the book showed up. Maybe the problem is somehow on Kobo's end? I don't know how it could be as the book was originally never associated with them in any way.
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:02 PM   #14
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Skipping the bit in the setup to put the books onto the device was a good idea. This tells us the book has come from Kobo somehow. You can put epubs into the Kobo desktop app by dropping them on the apps screen. It has been a while since I did this, and I don't remember what happens when you do a sync.

After the uninstall, did you remove the Kobo database on the PC? It's possible this has the bad book details and is keeping it around.

In any case, could I get a copy of the database from the device and the PC? I would like to look at them to see if I can work out what is up. They will be a few meg in size, so if you can upload them somewhere I can get them from, or PM me for my email address.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:56 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by davidfor View Post
Skipping the bit in the setup to put the books onto the device was a good idea. This tells us the book has come from Kobo somehow. You can put epubs into the Kobo desktop app by dropping them on the apps screen. It has been a while since I did this, and I don't remember what happens when you do a sync.

After the uninstall, did you remove the Kobo database on the PC? It's possible this has the bad book details and is keeping it around.

In any case, could I get a copy of the database from the device and the PC? I would like to look at them to see if I can work out what is up. They will be a few meg in size, so if you can upload them somewhere I can get them from, or PM me for my email address.
I had assumed that simply running the uninstaller would completely remove the Kobo files. Just to be sure I used Revo Uninstaller to remove the desktop app (it searches the registry and file system for leftovers) and reset the reader once more. This time, when I completed the update and sync, I no longer have the false book.

It appears that the fake-book error was also causing the sideloaded epubs to be undisplayable; I can now read them again as usual. I have no idea why they would be effected by an error on a separate book, but to all appearances, the problems all stemmed from that book. I'm still a bit suspicious that the book might show up again, but until it does, my reader is working properly once more.

Thank you for all your help, suggestions, and patience.
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