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iBooks is correctly using the image I designated for the cover as a thumbnail in the shelf area of Ibooks where all the books are displayed. However, it is removing the cover.html page from the ebook. That is, there is no way to turn the pages of my eBook to the cover page and just stare at the cover. Obviously, this also means it is not opening to the cover page like I would like it too. Has anyone discovered the proper way to set up the .opf file or .ncx file, (this is in EPUB2 specifications) in order to include a cover page? Bonus points for also explaining how to get it to open directly to the cover page as well*

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linear="no"

is the attribute that prevents a file in the spine from appearing in iBooks. In your case, you would simply remove it from this line which appears in the content.opf file:

<spine toc="ncx">
<itemref idref="cover" linear="no"/>

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