What is wrong with iBooks sync? Today I added a stack of manuals in pdf format to the new version of iBooks on my MacBook Pro. I created a new category, Manuals, and went out for a walk clutching my retina iPad Mini. A cappuccino later I discovered there was no sign of my pdfs in iBooks on the Mini. There were dozens of previous pdfs that I had loaded into my old iPad. Strangely, the newly created category of Manuals was present and correct. But it was empty. Returning to base I checked all the settings: All apps on the same Apple ID, all set to sync, absolutely nothing wrong.
I then realised that all the documents previously added to the iPad were not showing up on the Mac version of iBooks. More confusion. However, a visit to Apple Discussions showed that my problems are not just mine. Dozens of users are experiencing exactly the same problems. Books and documents added to one app (but not purchased from Apple) are just not syncing.
So, for the moment, iBooks is no books. I will have to add my manuals to the Kindle app. At least that works reliably.
LATER…. Although several Apple Discussions participants had said they had had no luck by connecting their devices to iTunes, I decided to try. Visiting the Books tab, I could not see any of the missing documents. However, toggling the Sync Books checkbox to off and then on again resulted the missing documents (resident on the Mac version of iTunes) appearing. These documents added to the Mac have now been transferred to the iPad. But the pdf files previously added to the iPad do not appear on the Mac. So at least I have been able to tranfer in one direction, if not to synchronise completely. I thought I had seen the last of iTunes, the ancient ship populated with the ghosts of purchases past, but apparently it does still have some uses. So where does this leave iCloud and iBooks. Broken, I think.
MORE: My friend Pietro Montalcino discussed this in this article in August. It seems it is necessary to upload documents separately to all your devices, although this does not explain how documents I added to iBook Mac eventually appeared on the iPad (after iTunes sync as described above).