Apple working on new Books e-reader application, heralded by renaming in iOS 11.3 beta

Posted:
in iPhone
Apple appears poised to refresh its iPhone and iPad e-reader app, Books, after years of few changes.




The new app, likely coming to iOS in the coming months, is said to have a simpler interface. Alongside the app redesign will reportedly come a book store refresh looking very much like the App Store's refurbishment from 2017.

The rumor about the refresh, posted by Bloomberg on Thursday morning, also claims that the app in testing has a "Reading Now" section, and a tab for audio books.

Apple's first beta of iOS 11.3 renamed the iBooks app to Books, but made no apparent changes to the app other than the name.

AppleInsider was able to confirm Bloomberg's report of a new Books app in development from our sources within Apple not authorized to speak on behalf of the company. However, our sources claim that the app has been in development "since the fall," refuting the original report's claim that new hire Kashif Zafar from Barnes & Noble in December had anything to do with starting development of the app. Our sources refused to comment on the specific details of the app presented by the original report.

At present, Apple holds about 9 percent of the eBook market, a slight downturn since 2015 according to a report from monitor AuthorEarnings. Barnes and Noble has 4 percent and declining having lost half its share since 2015, with Amazon growing to 83.3 percent in the same time period.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    Well, since a blog post like this is often fodder for a stream of “this is what they should do!” responses, here goes:

    1) Better typeface choices. Whitney, Gotham and Sentinel may be tried and true, but there’s a reason for that: they work. Iowan and Charter are nice, but they’re fundamentally too weak for comfort, especially at smaller sizes. (I’m sure there are many who insist that only a sans-serif type is acceptable on a screen. San Francisco is nice, but it’s not particuarly strong in appearance.)

    2) People may claim to hate skeuomorphism or any derivation thereof, but...support for taking notes with Apple Pencil seems rather overdue.

    3) Margin and line-height adjustments. These have shown up a bit quietly but it’s limited and certainly not controllable by the user. 

    4) And yes, the iBook Store. Once upon a time, it seemed you could browse dozens of titles in a genre, but at some point, that disappeared and an abitrary limit took its place. You need to do a search on a title/author, rather than discovering it. Hopefully that’s part of the purported refresh.

    And now that I’ve posted this, I am sure a breathless iBooks team will get right down to work.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 5
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,436administrator
    Well, since a blog post like this is often fodder for a stream of “this is what they should do!” responses, here goes:

    1) Better typeface choices. Whitney, Gotham and Sentinel may be tried and true, but there’s a reason for that: they work. Iowan and Charter are nice, but they’re fundamentally too weak for comfort, especially at smaller sizes. (I’m sure there are many who insist that only a sans-serif type is acceptable on a screen. San Francisco is nice, but it’s not particuarly strong in appearance.)

    2) People may claim to hate skeuomorphism or any derivation thereof, but...support for taking notes with Apple Pencil seems rather overdue.

    3) Margin and line-height adjustments. These have shown up a bit quietly but it’s limited and certainly not controllable by the user. 

    4) And yes, the iBook Store. Once upon a time, it seemed you could browse dozens of titles in a genre, but at some point, that disappeared and an abitrary limit took its place. You need to do a search on a title/author, rather than discovering it. Hopefully that’s part of the purported refresh.

    And now that I’ve posted this, I am sure a breathless iBooks team will get right down to work.
    Well, like we said once before, we know we have traffic from Apple, even here in the forums. We just don't know if they listen or not.
    watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 3 of 5
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,083member
    AppleInsider said:
    Alongside the app redesign will reportedly come a book store refresh looking very much like the App Store's refurbishment from 2017.
    Nooooooooo! (sobs uncontrollably)
    The new App Store's UI and look totally suck.

    I'd like to see some things like the ability to have shared notes and bookmarks via family-sharing. For example, my wife or I often read ebooks to our son at bed-time, but we don't know where the last one left off. With Kindle, you can share that kind of data (though, I don't think you can not share it, as you're sharing an account).

    Otherwise, I think I'm relatively happy with iBooks/Books. The UI could be simplified a bit (cf. previous version of Kindle... they've mucked their app up too!), but it's OK.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    Search and discovery are atrocious, due to bad metadata. All too often leading to haphazard collections and loose books! If Apple wants to breach its single percent points on the ebook market, they need to pay more attention to this.

    One could say Apple has a penchant for detail, but that what I’m asking is basic function and usability. Unfortunately, that’s something that’s been lacking of late.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,083member
    Search and discovery are atrocious, due to bad metadata. All too often leading to haphazard collections and loose books! If Apple wants to breach its single percent points on the ebook market, they need to pay more attention to this.

    One could say Apple has a penchant for detail, but that what I’m asking is basic function and usability. Unfortunately, that’s something that’s been lacking of late.
    Search is problematic across Apple products, period. You'd think in 2018 they'd be able to hire a couple of people more competent in search than most of the Internet search engines of the later 90s. Heck, FileMaker (an Apple owned company) has better search technology since then. It's so bad, that sometimes it doesn't even find an exact string match in a title.
    edited January 2018
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