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Early User Reports Suggest That iBooks for OSX is Unstable and Only Semi-Functional

OSX Mavericks ibooksdebuted yesterday with a number of new features, including the long awaited iBooks for OSX. This app, which had been teased back in May, is unfortunately not nearly as polished as one might have hoped.

The first user comments on Twitter are almost uniformly negative, with users noting missing features, bugs, and generally malfunctioning behavior.

Here are the highlights:

iBooks can’t read PDFs:

The cool-looking pop-up footnotes don’t work:

Basic support for Epub is only semi-functional:

ibooks for OSX monstrosityWhat iBooks for OSX does to images is enough to make one cry:

This one needs something of an explanation, so I have embedded the image at right. You are seeing a mash-up of the same ebook open in the iBooks iPad app and in the iBooks OSX app. As you can see, the OSX app fails to scale the image correctly and instead splits it between 2 pages.

And apparently it’s not hard to make the app crash:

All in all, iBooks for OSX is very much a 1.0 release so you would be well advised to avoid it for the time being.

And given the DRM situation I tend to think one should avoid the app permanently. Liz Castro tried iBooks for OSX and earlier today she raised some serious concerns about how Apple is handling accounts:

When I opened it up, it immediately asked me to sign in with my AppleID—it feels like you can’t go anywhere these days without identification. I find it a bit oppressive, especially since I wasn’t on my own computer. And though it let me log in, I couldn’t download any of my purchased books because I had already authorized five computers and this wasn’t one of them. So I went and deauthorized them all and then reauthorized this one only to be warned that if I downloaded books from this particular AppleID account, I wouldn’t be able to download items from a different AppleID account (e.g., my daughter’s, who owns the computer) for 90 days. I didn’t think she’d be very happy with me, so I didn’t do it. I tried creating a separate user and then opened iBooks again, but got the same error. So I opted not to download any of my already purchased books.


This was frustrating to me. I should be able to access my purchases on any device to which I log in, whether or not someone else also has an account there. This means iBooks doesn’t really work in the cloud—it only works on your personal devices on the cloud, not at the library, or at the vacation house you rented, or on the computer you borrowed from your daughter.

I can’t imagine what Apple was thinking when they came up with that idea.

Apple is entitled to make their own decisions on DRM issues, but surely I can’t be the only one can see how this rule renders the app completely useless in many academic situations. A computer lab full of Macs might as well not have this app at all given that you cannot switch users.

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New Name Same Guy October 24, 2013 um 12:28 am

LOL, one day and you are throwing in the towel? Go back to Windows XP and CE now.
IMHO, Apple will fix some of this stuff pretty quickly although it"s disappointing to see deja vous all over again after the Maps fiasco.
And after Liz got over the accounts problems she seemed pretty happy with the results.
You’re just a grouchy Amazon troll!

new name, different guy October 30, 2013 um 8:42 pm

why is it that whenever an apple user has a problem with badly designed and oppressive software they are considered to be a 'traitor' who must be a windows or liix or amazon troll? ibooks really, truly stinks, it stinks so badly and was such an insane decision on Apple’s part that it makes me wish there was a viable alternative for my hardware and software needs, and I’ve been using Apple computers since the Apple 2……

Ingo Lembcke October 24, 2013 um 4:49 am

Just another big error: you can import your Books from iTunes to iBooks, but I found no way to transfer them to iPad / iPhone. In iTunes 11 the feature is also missing.
For Books (PDF, EPUB without DRM) downloaded elsewhere I have only Dropbox or send per Mail or some other workaround.
Or is there something more or less obvious I missed?

Johnny Pearseed October 24, 2013 um 5:28 am

Apple: selling limitations in the name of freedom. Burn in Hell, "Buddhist" Steve Jobs.

New Name Same Guy October 24, 2013 um 5:43 am

LOL Johnny P, hang on to the open source and ultimately flexible Kindle and enjoy living in libertarian rain forest, just be careful of the mosquitos! I will stick with the Buddha.

Raphaël Freeman October 26, 2013 um 11:47 am

Worst bug is that iBooks Author can’t export embedded fonts!

Open Question: iBooks for OSX Updated – Did it Fix Anything? – The Digital Reader November 7, 2013 um 8:45 pm

[…] has rolled out an update for the bug-ridden iBooks for OSX Mavericks, but I can’t find any details on what was changed. Most of the stories say nothing more than […]

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