Back in 2008 all media purchases from the iTunes Store were subject to a one time only download policy. iTunes would have regularly reminded you to backup your purchases unless you chose to suppress such messages.
With your audiobooks in an iTunes library you can take the opportunity to make secondary backup copies now on removable media or networked storage.
I don't understand what you mean by this:
I cannot sync the MacBook because the operating system is a mismatch.
If you download and install the latest version of iTunes to your computer it should be capable of communicating with the device and will let you copy the audiobook files across. If the iPad is set up to sync with a different library/computer then copy the audiobook files to that. If your iPad is not set to sync with any library, and your concern is that you will lose data if you attempt to associate it with the library on your computer then this method should work for you...
You should be able to:
- Backup the device to the new installation
- Transfer your purchases into a newly authorized library
- Recover any other media using third party tools as suggested in this post from forum regular Zevoneer
- Restore the device from the backup
This process should switch the association of the device to the new library, preserving the data and settings in your apps.
May also be prudent to attempt a backup to iCloud directly from the device before you start... Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > iCloud Backup > On. It won't save any media but it would preserve the general account settings and documents in case anything goes wrong while you are trying to extract your other data.
Many thanks for the detailed response to my enquiry.
I am sure that Apple made every attempt to remind users to make secondary backups of material they have purchased: that is not my issue.
I have iTunes 9.2.1 installed on an our Apple MacBook (identified as the current version) running an operating system as supplied and unmodified as 10.4.1. Despite following your advice the Apple MacBook in iTunes does not identify the attached Ipad as a device.(which is puzzling) I do however put this down to a 'mismatch' of operating systems as the MacBook has 10.4.11 and the Ipad2 has 10.5.1 and is very recently purchased (not second hand).
I had thought that I would be able to manually transfer the audiobook files (m4b) using an SD card connected to the Ipad through the Camera Connection kit: this has failed. Photos transfer brilliantly but not m4b files.
Do you have further advice: which I am very appreciative of.
Ah, I see. I believe you are running Tiger, in which case I see the problem - you're not able to bring iTunes up to the point where it is compatible with the iPad 2. iTunes 9.2.1 is the latest build supported on Tiger whereas the iPad 2 requires at least iTunes 10.2, which in turn requires a minimum of OS X 10.5.8 or Win XP SP3.
Assuming you don't want to/can't upgrade your older system to Leopard or later I suspect you're going to have to find an obliging friend, who runs iTunes 10.2 or later, who will let you hook up a portable backup of your library to their system and use that to upload the files to the device.
Or if you have/can get Parallels, you could install a virtualized copy of Windows XP, with iTunes 10.6.1, and migrate your library into that.