iOS 8 iBooks annoyances

I generally like the UI of iBooks better than the Kindle app, and I like being able to buy books inside the app. But there are some things about iBooks in iOS that really annoy me… some of these are new or worse in the version in iOS 8, where iBooks comes preinstalled.

  • Updates: a red circle pops up when a book has an update. I’m not sure why iBooks titles have updates in the first place, or why I should update a book I’ve already read and don’t plan to revisit, but the red dot demands attention. So you I go to my purchased list and find:
    • The update all option is gone
    • The number of books with update buttons does not match the number in the dot
    • Several of the books with update buttons don’t update: they bring up a dialog that says “The item you tried to buy is no longer available”. The update count appears to be the number of actually updatable items + 1 if you have any number that can’t be updated because they are no longer available.  Things no longer available include a lot of Project Gutenberg titles.
    • The annoying red circle used to be in a less prominent place in the UI, IIRC.
  • The all books view: At first this seemed great. iBooks collects books in a series into a stack, kind of like a folder, to make navigation easier. It even figures out if there are unpurchased items in a series you might want to buy. But there are problems:
    • the metadata being used to do these arrangements seems to have the quality control that gave us version 1 of Apple Maps.
    • a blue “new” triangle that appears on the upper right corner. This is for flagging a new purchase, which would be fine. But I have several stacks where none of the individual books are new, and I know I’ve read them, and there doesn’t seem to be any way of clearing the stupid New Triangle manually.
  • The iBooks store: Probably related to the poor metadata…
    • OK, I would be a better person if I knew more languages. But even PubMed can limit my search results to English
    • If the app knows that books are part of a series, why is it so hard to find the books in the series in the iBooks store?

Fortunately, once I’m inside a book these mostly don’t matter. But they’re the kinds of annoyances that make me slower to update whenever new versions of iOS and OSX come out.