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For some reason—presumably a sync by my iPhone that overwrote my iPad’s more recently downloaded library—the majority of my iBooks were deleted.

The books I purchased can easily be restored, but I had downloaded a bunch of samples to, well, sample, before I bought the books.

Shy of using the restore feature, which will probably wreak its own havoc the way my iPhone did, when I synchronized iCloud through it, is there any log or history of the samples I have downloaded? I am sure this will happen again, and I don’t think restoring your iPad is the intended user experience by Apple.

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2 Answers 2

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I'm afraid no such log or history exist.

Apparently either restoring a device, as iTunes does not make a backUp of your sample books, or upgrading to the lastest version of iBooks, will make your samples to dissappear.

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Thanks. It’s weird how iBook still remembers the collections the books are in, and the last-read position, though. –  Kiwi May 31 '12 at 10:07

I was able to recover the list of all books in iBooks, including sample chapters, with the following steps:

  • Select a tool to parse iPhone/iPad backups on your hard drive. Google for "iphone backup extractor", there are various.

  • Select a recent iPhone/iPad backup from the list presented by your extractor software.

  • Select iBooks as the app you wish to extract.

  • Search for a file called iBooks_v10252011_2152.sqlite, or something like that.

  • Use a SQLite viewer (such as Base on the Mac) to view the ZBKBOOKINFO table.

  • Look for the ZBOOKTITLE field - this should contain a list of all your books, including sample chapters, from the time of the backup!

  • If you want to get fancy, try sorting on the ZSAMPLECONTENT field.

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