Have you heard of Saga? It's a comic series by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples that came out just a couple of years ago. Set in a sci-fi world that actually goes for the futuristic, alien, and bizarre rather than just humans with strange faces, it's engaging, super-weird, and 100% worth your time.
Just don't buy it on iBooks.
Two things that will eat up a lot of space on one's iPad are comics and video games. I don't have much of the former, but I'm a connoisseur of the latter, so when I needed some more space to download Hearthstone, I cleaned out the issues of comics I'd already read. Much like with the App Store and iTunes Store, when you delete an iBook of any flavor it's just removed from the device, not your account. This allows you to shuffle around what you have at any given moment without having to worry about losing a file you paid for.
As people who have frequented the App Store may be familiar with, sometimes apps get taken down. More often than not it's because some kind of security vulnerability, porn or hate speech, or the ability to circumvent tethering snuck through the initial approval process and got found out after the fact. Apple then removes the offending app until the issue is resolved, but sometimes this means that the app is removed permanently, so if you delete it from your device it's gone forever.
Apparently, iBooks operates in the exact same manner. Additionally, if the author or publisher makes any changes, rather than just updating the book in the store Apple will take the book down, so if you don't have the file on your device or backed up on your computer, then you are well and truly fucked.
As you may have surmised, this happened to me. During my recent trip to Texas I opened up iBooks and attempted to re-download Saga to read in the evenings. However, instead of groundbreaking sci-fi with tree spaceships, lying cats, and moon satyrs, I got an error saying that the books had been removed from the store. Attempting to download the books left them in a state of perpetual preparation.
I couldn't quite believe that, so I went into the store and did a search. Lo and behold, the exact same three books were there...but available for purchase, not download. Had it been just one book, I probably wouldn't have been quite so annoyed, but three? I was not dropping $40 again for stuff I had already legally purchased.
First course of action: write Apple and let them know what was going on. I included the screenshots above, but I don't think the support person quite understood my problem...
I wrote back, attempting to clarify my issue and got this response. It looks like it should have worked as they used my past order number to allegedly make the books available for re-download.
Except that didn't work either. Once again, I wrote back, trying to get to the bottom of the issue. The support person finally cued me in: the books had been modified, so they were technically "new" items and thus unable to be linked to my account.
Okayyyyy....annoying, but the books are still in the store. Easy enough to solve: I just asked for store credit equalling the cost of the three books so that I could re-purchase them.
It was a long shot as no corporation is willing to part with money or give things away for "free" (even though I'd already bought the books) for any reason short of a court order, but it was worth a try. And I'm dealing with senior support now, so maybe they could link the books - which still exist as products for sale - to my account so that I could enjoy the materials that I had already given them money for.
No, support person, given that the books available in the store are the same books I bought, whatever the modification, the situation is less like a newer version came out and more like software developers issued a patch that I have to pay full price for.
At this point it's pretty clear that Apple is refusing to help me and will continue to refuse to help me. And, as is usually the case with these kinds of things, it's penny wise and pound foolish. Apple is ostensibly getting me to shell out an additional $40 - or at least not lose $40 themselves - on the sales of a series I wish to read. However, all that this is doing is ensuring that I will buy no more books through their iBooks platform and will instead move to the apps for Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, or Comixology for all future ebook purchases.
If Valve tried this - a game you bought received an update that made it a "new" product that you had to re-buy if you ever removed the "original" from your hard drive - with Steam, or Microsoft with the Xbox or Sony with the Playstation Store, there would be a massive outcry and justifiably so. It's abuse of the customer, so I'm not sure why Apple thinks this is an acceptable way to run things.
Well, the damage is done, Apple has lost a customer, and I'm just grateful that I'm not out more money than I could have been. In the meantime, I've downloaded ALL of the iBooks purchases I've made and backed them up, and if you have any iBooks purchases I suggest you do the same right now. Once you do, head over to Image Comics and give Saga a try. As I said, it's well worth your time, and if you need any further convincing then look at this picture of a baby seal in coveralls:
Just don't buy it on iBooks.