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Old 05-01-2021, 06:19 AM   #1
bli
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Exclamation Boox epub files and Cadillacs

I have a serious complaint about boox devices, and a question for a solution too. Everyone knows that you can annotate epub files. My Nova2 device had all the tools for it built in to read and annotate epub files. Epub files are a 'streaming text' format (unlike pdf which is static) but nothing in the Onyx guide was warning against serious problems - so I trusted making annotations in my ebup boox, and I mean hundreds and hundreds of annotations, because it was about studying stuff. Hundreds of underlinings, too. Now I knew that 'scribbles' and any manual signs in the margins would perhaps be moving around when I changed the font size - that is a bad thing, but it is not my current problem at all. I encountered a much more fundamental problem.

I migrated to a new device - the Nova 3 color (mental note: made by the same manufacturer, right?) I used they Boox Assistent app (but I tried any means). For Epub files, the notes are stored in a separate file (I knew this from the guide). Syncing from Nova2 to Nova3 however is really supposed to mean syncing. If the notes are in a separate file, that file should be synced too. If it is stored in some database file, it should be synced with the new database file on Nova3. I suppose, so far, every decent developer would fully agree with that. But... this clearly does not happen. And their helpdesk could not find an answer either (the person there is nice enough to try finding a solution, but so far, it seems like they consider a "possible solution in the future".

So this means that at this time, Boox devices are not compatible with themselves... Not even when the other device runs exactly the same OS. In other words: I cannot even sell or give my Nova2 to a friend, as I planned, because if I do not want to lose all the study work annotations, underlinings etc. I HAVE to keep Nova 2 to read those books on that device and nowhere else.

To me, this is a broken promise. I am even considering legal actions.

Imagine having a Cadillac with, say, a great CD player and a great audio quality installation. You love Cadillacs because it is a fantastic experience listening to music when you sweetly drive your Cadillac - they advertise exactly that in their fliers. Then you buy a new, better Cadillac with their fantastic CD player. Then you discover that your whole collection of CDs can no longer be played in your new car. You can buy new CDs but the old ones.... Well, you may perhaps just keep your old Cadillac to listen to the old ones, right?

That's how I currently feel about my upgrade from Nova2 to Nova3.

Anyone out there who has a possible solution to this deadlock? Anyone knows perhaps a way to convert epub to pdf INCLUDING the notes that are stored somewhere on a Boox device? (You can export notes, but I did not find a way to export a pdf with the notes). Please, if you know anything, let me know.
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Old 05-01-2021, 07:10 AM   #2
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All epub annotations are stored in a lot of files in this path
Code:
/data/user/0/com.onyx.kreader/databases
There is a table with name "Annotation" in SQLite file ContentDatabase.db.
Cloning kreader's app data to new device should do the trick.
You need root rights to do it.

Last edited by yokos; 05-01-2021 at 07:26 AM.
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Old 05-01-2021, 09:14 AM   #3
bli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yokos View Post
All epub annotations are stored in a lot of files in this path
Code:
/data/user/0/com.onyx.kreader/databases
There is a table with name "Annotation" in SQLite file ContentDatabase.db.
Cloning kreader's app data to new device should do the trick.
You need root rights to do it.
Wow, that's taking a huger risk with two boox devices just to achieve a possible solution for something that their developers failed to deliver. This makes it even more unforgivable that they left us in the cold with our ebooks.

Last edited by bli; 05-01-2021 at 09:16 AM. Reason: typo corrections
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Old 05-01-2021, 10:58 AM   #4
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You wanted to hear any solution that an users knows. You got one that I know.

Please start a feature request in onyx support forum and your feedback section on your device.

You can test some ADB commands (without root) to check whether backing up kreader's data does work. Some code snippets can you find here.

Last edited by yokos; 05-01-2021 at 11:18 AM. Reason: ADB
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Old 05-01-2021, 01:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bli View Post
Anyone out there who has a possible solution to this deadlock? Anyone knows perhaps a way to convert epub to pdf INCLUDING the notes that are stored somewhere on a Boox device? (You can export notes, but I did not find a way to export a pdf with the notes). Please, if you know anything, let me know.

You can export all the ePub pages with notes as pdf
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Old 05-02-2021, 04:46 AM   #6
bli
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Originally Posted by fbrzvnrnd View Post
You can export all the ePub pages with notes as pdf
Yes I know - thanks for the hint anyway. But this is like what I meant with my Cadillac comparison: it's like keeping your old Cadillac to listen to your old music. If having separate notes would be as efficient and fun as writing your notes in the margins or making underlinings in the text, we would probably all keep our notes separate from our ebooks. Most of us however can trace back a note more easily in an ebook than in a separate file - and of course, you also instantly have your entire context.

The whole point is, that they sell these devices with these possibilities because they *know* it's fun and it's handy and it is the way your brain likes it. And the suggestion that you can migrate it is in their guide and in the expectation of compatibility that they create. They just didn't tell us about these terrible gaps in their logic, in their coding, and in their promises.

I will follow the hints by Yokos. Fortunately I'm not totally unfamiliar with those things, but this is a crazy situation the Onyx guys are putting their customers in. Why didn't they at least offer an export of epub to pdf, including the notes? They are the ones who manage the logic to do exactly that. Outside of their device, there's nothing that can put the notes where they belong - except if you take hours and hours to redo it manually on a pdf format.
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Old 05-02-2021, 04:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by yokos View Post
Please start a feature request in onyx support forum and your feedback section on your device.

You can test some ADB commands (without root) to check whether backing up kreader's data does work. Some code snippets can you find here.
Thanks for the hint.

FYI I did the feature request (rather a gap analysis for incomplete coding I would say) in the feedback section of my device - with the question when they thought they could fix this. The answer was that this would be something "for the future" - no timetable could be offered. We'll see. I will check out the onyx support forum.

Last edited by bli; 05-02-2021 at 04:57 AM.
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Old 05-03-2021, 08:27 AM   #8
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Having same problem with my iLiad, BeBook, old Kindles, Pocketbooks and Kobos, currently I generate a PDF for each of my ebooks (even purchased ones, previous DRM removal) and then I always will have annotations with me inside PDF (and that is the reason I use Boox: because I can use any annotation PDF application -mostly NeoReader and Xodo, as both uses the standard PDF annotation format inside PDF).

ePub lacks annotation standard as mobi has (but nobody uses after Amazon purchased Mobipocket).

Edit: and before complain about PDF "fixed" and size, I create PDFs with 12x15 cm (or 12x18), 16 px font size (normally PT Serif), 20 pt margins. I can read those even in my iPhone in landscape.

Last edited by rfog; 05-03-2021 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 05-06-2021, 03:16 AM   #9
bli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rfog View Post
Having same problem with my iLiad, BeBook, old Kindles, Pocketbooks and Kobos, currently I generate a PDF for each of my ebooks (even purchased ones, previous DRM removal) and then I always will have annotations with me inside PDF (and that is the reason I use Boox: because I can use any annotation PDF application -mostly NeoReader and Xodo, as both uses the standard PDF annotation format inside PDF).

ePub lacks annotation standard as mobi has (but nobody uses after Amazon purchased Mobipocket).

Edit: and before complain about PDF "fixed" and size, I create PDFs with 12x15 cm (or 12x18), 16 px font size (normally PT Serif), 20 pt margins. I can read those even in my iPhone in landscape.
Thanks for the info, rfog. My complaint is, most of all, that this was nowhere communicated clearly in the boox documentation. So I am now stuck with a dozen of epub ebooks full of annotations - as I am using boox for a couple of years. And there is no way to get them properly out of my Nova. Such situations make me angry, you feel betrayed in such a situation - even while in reality, it is of course my own naivety that has its price tag presented to me right now. In the end, there is no other solution than exporting my notes as a pretty useless dump of comments and 'location' information for where the scribbles have been, and that kind of nonsense. So I wished I knew I should have been avoiding epub altogether.
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Old 05-06-2021, 03:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yokos View Post
You wanted to hear any solution that an users knows. You got one that I know.

Please start a feature request in onyx support forum and your feedback section on your device.

You can test some ADB commands (without root) to check whether backing up kreader's data does work. Some code snippets can you find here.
Jut FYI: it turns out that Kingroot does not work for the Nova2. The app (newest version, 4.6 or something) keeps stuck at 1% forever, and the executable which can be used from the laptop (there, the last version was 3.5) runs properly, but in the end, gives an error too, telling that the device cannot be rooted. This is probably because the Boox OS is very old (as I've seen somewhere else on this forum), I don't know. I know little about Unix or Linux systems. Anyway, I had to give up on this attempt. But thanks again for the info, it was appreciated.
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Old 05-07-2021, 02:50 AM   #11
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Don't use Kingroot or anything like this. You can root with Magisk by creating patched boot image for your devices and flashing it with fastboot.
Have a look here. It is for my Max Lumi but a general procedure.
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Old 05-23-2021, 09:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bli View Post
Yes I know - thanks for the hint anyway. But this is like what I meant with my Cadillac comparison: it's like keeping your old Cadillac to listen to your old music. If having separate notes would be as efficient and fun as writing your notes in the margins or making underlinings in the text, we would probably all keep our notes separate from our ebooks. Most of us however can trace back a note more easily in an ebook than in a separate file - and of course, you also instantly have your entire context.

The whole point is, that they sell these devices with these possibilities because they *know* it's fun and it's handy and it is the way your brain likes it. And the suggestion that you can migrate it is in their guide and in the expectation of compatibility that they create. They just didn't tell us about these terrible gaps in their logic, in their coding, and in their promises.

I will follow the hints by Yokos. Fortunately I'm not totally unfamiliar with those things, but this is a crazy situation the Onyx guys are putting their customers in. Why didn't they at least offer an export of epub to pdf, including the notes? They are the ones who manage the logic to do exactly that. Outside of their device, there's nothing that can put the notes where they belong - except if you take hours and hours to redo it manually on a pdf format.
There is something I do not understand: you can underline and annotate ePub, making a sign in every page, and export all the ePub with your underline and annotation as PDF. The problem IMHO is that Neoreader is not working fine with ePub: the v1 version has not a stable CSS support and, above all, sometimes it changes margins, font, line height or something else, and your are gonna lose a lot of handwritten notes or underline. the last v2 version is still unstable. It's really a shame that hand annotation on reflow is so handy but it just doesn't work. I'm curious to see if the new Kobo solutions will be better.
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