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Old 08-01-2019, 08:47 AM   #1
pwalker8
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Books bookstore

I've been playing around with the Books bookstore since it rolled out almost a year ago. There are some things that I like about it, other things I don't.

Like most things Apple, it's focused on that 80 percent that the average user would use. It's very much like the iTunes Store. It's very easy to see what's new, what's recommended and other works in a series or by an author. Lots of curated lists, which can come in handy if you are starting to explore a new genre.

Where I have issues is trying to narrow things down and the over all lack of depth in the catalog. Especially once you move into categories that aren't as popular, such as history, Apple just does not have a lot there once you get past the best seller type books. On the other hand, there are other categories, such as SF&F where the Apple has books that Amazon doesn't seem to have. I picked up several collections from backlist authors the real helped to fill out my collection.

When Apple announced the new focus on the book store, I had hoped for more. Right now, I check it every so often and will buy a few books when I see a good deal or a collection by a backlist author that I want, but while considerably slicker than Amazon's ebook website, it's not particularly innovative or deep, at least as far as I can tell. It's definitely oriented to the average reader who buys mostly best sellers and the like.
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:14 AM   #2
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Years ago I bought one book from Apple, quickly determined iBooks was a waste of my time, and returned to buying books from Amazon. iBooks, now called Books, seems to me to be the unwanted stepchild that Apple doesn't really want but feels it has to keep around. They never gave it the library/store of books it needed to compete in any meaningful way. It kind of reminds me of the tepid response both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had to the infant internet in the mid-1990s. Neither could figure out what it would be good for as far as making profits. MS blew it off at first, Apple came out with the pathetic garbage they called Cyber Dog, and it was a mangy dog to say the least. Thankfully they put a bullet in Cyber Doggie's head and put him down for good. I really think Jobs, and subsequent Apple leadership, have failed to understand the eBook industry. I only use Books to view an occasional PDF, and I hate PDFs with a passion. If I have a user manual to read then I might use Books, or I might use another PDF app. None of the apps do well with a PDF though. But as far as eBooks, my Books library of ePubs is static at only one.

Last edited by OtinG; 08-01-2019 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:45 AM   #3
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Years ago I bought one book from Apple, quickly determined iBooks was a waste of my time, and returned to buying books from Amazon. iBooks, now called Books, seems to me to be the unwanted stepchild that Apple doesn't really want but feels it has to keep around. They never gave it the library/store of books it needed to compete in any meaningful way. It kind of reminds me of the tepid response both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had to the infant internet in the mid-1990s. Neither could figure out what it would be good for as far as making profits. MS blew it off at first, Apple came out with the pathetic garbage they called Cyber Dog, and it was a mangy dog to say the least. Thankfully they put a bullet in Cyber Doggie's head and put him down for good. I really think Jobs, and subsequent Apple leadership, have failed to understand the eBook industry. I only use Books to view an occasional PDF, and I hate PDFs with a passion. If I have a user manual to read then I might use Books, or I might use another PDF app. None of the apps do well with a PDF though. But as far as eBooks, my Books library of ePubs is static at only one.
I don't necessarily know that the issue is they don't understand the eBook industry. If you will remember, Apple was ready to make a big push into the eBook market in 2009, but after losing the anti-trust case, they basically said "screw it, we don't need this hassle" and just put up a minimal store.

I was hoping that when they announced they were revamping the ebook store that they really were going to do something innovative. I think that the current store is in line with the Apple model, make things as easy as possible for the vast majority of the customer base. My problem is that by definition, none here are like the vast majority of the Apple customer base.

I would actually use the store if they had a much bigger catalogue. There are aspects of the Book store that are much better than any of the other book stores (Amazon, B&N or Kobo). For example, when I search for Roger Zelazny I actually get Roger Zelazny books, not every book that has "the next Roger Zelazny" in a blurb on the back. I can easily filter by language so I don't have to wade through the German and Spanish language releases. I like the way they handle series and make it really easy to buy the next in the series.

Really, a lot of that is the incremental improvements that Amazon hasn't bothered doing for the past 10 years.
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Old 08-01-2019, 02:11 PM   #4
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To each their own, but I still don't see it that way at all. Even during Apple's attempted bullying of publishers and price fixing era, they still never put much interest into their store. It was a half-hearted and half-a$$ed attempt at best, and they never had a store big enough to compete with the likes of Amazon or even Barnes and Noble. Polishing the UI for an extremely under stocked store doesn't do any good IMO. They might as well put lipstick on a pig...
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Old 08-01-2019, 04:23 PM   #5
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To each their own, but I still don't see it that way at all. Even during Apple's attempted bullying of publishers and price fixing era, they still never put much interest into their store. It was a half-hearted and half-a$$ed attempt at best, and they never had a store big enough to compete with the likes of Amazon or even Barnes and Noble. Polishing the UI for an extremely under stocked store doesn't do any good IMO. They might as well put lipstick on a pig...
Hum. That really wasn't what was reported at the time, nor what was said in the trial. Apple was reported to see it as potentially a big money maker. But, of course, with all the spin that has been put out by the case, it can be hard to remember what was said at the time, and what was the narrative put out afterwards by other parties. Sony was actually Amazon's main competition early on, not B&N. B&N didn't release the nook until late in 2009, Apple a few months later.

Nope, they never had a store that competed with Amazon's sheer size. Amazon put a lot of work into getting publishers on board and signing contracts. They saw early on that content was king. They made it very, very easy to put books up in the Kindle book store. Of course, they also made it very easy to put other people's books up as well, an issue they still have. My two big issues with Amazon is the lack of quality control and lack on continued innovation in the book store.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:32 PM   #6
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iBooks coincided with the launch of the iPad and was one of the highlights of the announcement, at least for me. At the time, I had only my lowly Kindle 2 and I certainly wanted an iPad (it would be a few years before I got my first one). So at least one reason it exists is to sell iPads, and it seemed reasonable then to imagine paper books would go the way of CDs and DVDs, and there was serious money to be made after selling an iPad.

The Store never had any pretensions that it would have every book, and that certainly remains the case today. Still if I were self publishing an ebook, it would be #2 priority after Kindle Store.

Apple has also tried to promote ‘.ibooks’ format for multimedia digital books (education?), but it doesn’t seem to have taken off. It might help if they allowed people to sell .ibooks from their own web sites: after all, they have to buy Apple devices to author and read these on. And there would still be incentive to sell in Apple bookstore if you wanted DRM stronger than nothing or watermarking.

What I like about Apple Books is that it is a relatively ‘honest’ ePub reader. You can build an epub file and test it and submit to Apple Bookstore, with confidence it will be the same thing a customer will download (and it has to pass epub check). Side-loaded books have the same features as store bought books. It’s a little different with Kindle, Google or Kobo, where there is sort of a ebook meat grinder in between and there is not as much control over the results.

Also it is one of the few reading apps for iOS that has exemplary accessibility support (VoiceOver and Speak Screen). Kindle app is pretty good too but doesn’t do Speak Screen highlighting and they’ve yet to support it with Continuous Scrolling mode.

And iPadOS features like Split Screen are still not supported well by many reading apps, to say nothing about multiple document option which will be in iOS 13 — I expect Apple Books will support it first.

Last edited by tomsem; 08-01-2019 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 08-04-2019, 10:30 AM   #7
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Wow...horses for courses. Apple was the savior for the publishers, not the bully. Amazon was the antagonist (from the publishers POV).

I hadn’t looked at the book store in a long time due to the DRM not having been broken. So I went and looked - it’s nice. Very nice and very customer friendly. Looks like the same kind of improvements that went into the App Store. Lots of human curation. I’ve always preferred the iBooks/Books app to the Kindle app.

Alas, I have become a cross platform reader and so I don’t think I’ll change my buying habits. At least, though, I have a new place to look for book recommendations.

Apple is frequently criticized as ignoring this or that product or service. Clearly the books just got a revamp indicating Apple hasn’t completely lost interest. And the iPad remains, far and away, the best reading platform for those not married to eInk
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Old 08-04-2019, 10:33 AM   #8
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Well what do you know. Browsing the new Apple Book Store and picked up “Grant” by Chernow for $1.99

Sweet
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Old 08-04-2019, 11:11 AM   #9
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Wow...horses for courses. Apple was the savior for the publishers, not the bully. Amazon was the antagonist (from the publishers POV).

I hadn’t looked at the book store in a long time due to the DRM not having been broken. So I went and looked - it’s nice. Very nice and very customer friendly. Looks like the same kind of improvements that went into the App Store. Lots of human curation. I’ve always preferred the iBooks/Books app to the Kindle app.

Alas, I have become a cross platform reader and so I don’t think I’ll change my buying habits. At least, though, I have a new place to look for book recommendations.

Apple is frequently criticized as ignoring this or that product or service. Clearly the books just got a revamp indicating Apple hasn’t completely lost interest. And the iPad remains, far and away, the best reading platform for those not married to eInk
The DRM for the Apple bookstore has been broken, however the de-DRM programs don't work with High Sierra or later. I keep an old mac mini at Sierra for this reason.

I had already picked up the Grant book when it came out, but yes, there are some very nice deals (free first book in various series is good). I think the first of Shelby Foote's Civil War series was similarly priced when I picked up a copy. I picked up a copy of The Moon is A Harsh Mistress for $4.

It's very much like the Music and App stores. I do really like the curated lists. Just wish there was more depth in certain areas and wish that the history category was a bit more finely grained.

I like to reward places that I browse by buying from them. I've bought around 20 books from the Apple store, including the Special editions of the first Harry Potter book and the first GOT book. As long as I can remove the DRM, I will continue to buy some books from them.
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Old 08-04-2019, 12:16 PM   #10
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...

I had already picked up the Grant book when it came out, but yes, there are some very nice deals (free first book in various series is good). I think the first of Shelby Foote's Civil War series was similarly priced when I picked up a copy. I picked up a copy of The Moon is A Harsh Mistress for $4.

...
In case anyone is looking, TMIAHM is $1.99 at Amazon.
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Old 08-05-2019, 02:57 PM   #11
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Also Kobo books. Google Books seems to be sitting this deal out: $16.99!! (More likely the publisher screwed up)

Normally I’d expect all four to set the same price. None of the retailers set prices any more.
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Old 08-05-2019, 06:25 PM   #12
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Also Kobo books. Google Books seems to be sitting this deal out: $16.99!! (More likely the publisher screwed up)

Normally I’d expect all four to set the same price. None of the retailers set prices any more.
I generally am suspicious when one sees such a price for a work where the author has been dead a while.
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