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Old 05-14-2018, 07:38 PM   #1
marsh494
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Editing Metadata without Compromising Notes and Highlightes in iBooks

Hello,

Is there anyway to edit the metadata without removing the notes and highlights in iBooks?
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:28 PM   #2
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Does iBooks actually store its notes and hilights inside the epub? If so, there's a good chance that unmanifested, non-spec-compliant files of any kind won't survive a Sigil save/reopen.

Without knowing how iBooks handles it's notes and hilights feature, it's going to be hard for us to see if there might be a workaround/solution.

Last edited by DiapDealer; 05-14-2018 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:44 PM   #3
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I don't think it's possible with external tools. iBooks seems to identify books based on checksum. Any changes made to an epub file would change the checksum as well ergo, making it a different book.

I expect iTunes was an exception as it probably had direct access to iBooks' database.
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Old 05-15-2018, 08:59 AM   #4
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Thanks. There's really nothing Sigil can do if iBooks uses checksums to connect books to its notes and highlights. An edited book will have a different checksum.
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:38 PM   #5
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It’s the iTunesMetadata.plist file that uniquely identifies a book. Once adding a book to iBooks on macos, that file was added to the book in the place where ibooks stores the book. On newer versions of macos, I’ve had to edit the metadata within iBooks to get that file to appear. I save it and add it to the original epub for safe keeping.

If you want to update the work, on macos you can unzip the changed epub into the proper ibooks folder. Some metadata changes I dont think will appear such as title, author, publisher etc. Those maybe can only be changed within ibooks. HTML changes work fine. Other changes in the OPF, NCX, and NAV won’t immediately appear since ibooks caches them during pagination. An ios update will clear that cache or you could delete ibooks, reinstall, and let the books redownload from icloud. All the time, I make changes to an ebook while keeping higlights and annotations.
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Old 05-27-2018, 10:39 PM   #6
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Unfortunately, iBooks isn't available on Windows and Apple got rid of books in newer versions of iTunes.

If one downloads ebooks, say via Safari for iOS or Calibre Companion and imports it to iBooks, it seems initial book identification is based on checksum. I'm basing this on my experience with fanfics. Simple filename changes, it recognizes books that are already in library just fine and doesn't re-import. When there's a new chapter or edits, though, it imports as a new book even if identifier remains the same.
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Old 05-28-2018, 05:12 PM   #7
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Without iBooks for macOS, I don't think it's going to be possible to do updates. iBooks uses a separate App Store login. You may be able to use a mac at a store or borrow one from a library when needed since I think it doesn't rely on user admin priviledges, which would be required to add/change an iCloud login for a macOS user.

I do not know what happens when you update a book that does not have an added iTunesMetadata.plist. As mentioned, before iBooks always added that file but now it seems only after metadata changes are done within iBooks for macOS. I usually edit the keywords (subject tags) and that file appears. Afterwards, any change works fine while keeping highlights such as to HTML or CSS. All other edits such as to the NCX, OPF, or NAV also work, even renaming or adding files, as long as the file order and number of files in the beginning remain the name (if you're concerned about highlights) but don't appear until the iOS iBooks cache is reset.

If you want to try it, the folder on macOS is ~/Library/Mobile Documents/iCloud~com~apple~iBooks/Documents/. Use terminal and unzip over the files.
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Old 05-29-2018, 09:41 AM   #8
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I sell a lot of books through Apple. What does this mean in practical terms? Does the iBookstore or the iBooks Store or whatever it's called actively distribute edited books to previous purchasers, so that the reader's highlights/notes disappear from the version purchased earlier?
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Old 05-29-2018, 04:33 PM   #9
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Unsure. You can test it. iBooks may store highlights and annotations by CFI:

http://www.idpf.org/epub/linking/cfi...ec-epubcfi-def

In testing, there seems to be some leeway. I can rename files and the highlights remain. Additional paragraphs later in an HTML file won't affect highlights made earlier. I can also change DOM elements such as changing a p to a div, and for example, if a highlight is in the 5th paragraph at some position if I change the p to a div, highlights remain. If a fix a typo and character position changes, or I add or remove some element like an italic, anchor, etc., position will slightly shift.
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Old 05-29-2018, 05:21 PM   #10
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If it helps, we already have python code for Sigil to process cfis which is used in other plugins.
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