Apple iBooks Horror Stories

From an interview with publisher Adam Engst:

Apple’s iBooks store still has many fewer titles than Amazon’s Kindle store. I think you also said that the process of getting books into iBooks is a hassle… can you explain?

Not in a family publication.

Seriously, I can’t say that working with Amazon has ever been easy for publishers (and we haven’t done much with it), but working with the iBookstore has been the most amazingly horrible, opaque, and frustrating experience I’ve had. Apple’s software is terrible, the iTunes Connect Web site is lousy, and support questions often aren’t answered for – and I’m not kidding here – months. It’s gotten a little better over time, but mostly it makes my stomach hurt.


I had no idea Apple’s backend software for iBooks publishers was so bad, but it doesn’t surprise me as a very unsatisfied user of the iBooks Store.

Reading using iBooks is a joy in that way Apple does so well. Everything just works, and the polish and the little details are — and I sound like an Apple PR person when I use this word, but it’s the right word — magical. But after about a month, I stopped reading books using iBooks, and switched exclusively to Amazon’s Kindle for iPad.

Because the iBooks Store sucks. Selection is limited compared with Amazon, but the real problem is finding the stuff you want that is for sale. I’m convinced that whatever lessons Apple learned from running the iTunes Store (a joy) and the App Store (another joy) were tossed out the window when they were devising the iBooks Store. It’s clunky, slow, difficult to navigate, uninformative and generally bad.

It’s just awful.

Meanwhile, Amazon lets me shop on, which I’ve been doing for a dozen years, and which knows all my likes and dislikes, and which downloads all my purchases to my Mac, my iPhone, and my iPad. And starting next month, to my new Kindle, too.


It’s usually Apple’s policy to screw their content providers to provide maximum benefit to their users. With iBooks, Apple’s screwing everybody. They need to shape up to win back this book buyer.

(Hat tip, Gruber.)


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