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Apple Working on Redesigned Books App With 'Simpler' Interface and Overhauled Store

After changing the iBooks app to simply be called "Books" in the iOS 11.3 beta that released to developers yesterday, a new report out today by Mark Gurman at Bloomberg states that Apple is preparing to revamp the internals of the iPhone and iPad app as well.


In an update coming in the next few months -- potentially with the public release of iOS 11.3 in the spring -- Apple will redesign Books with a "simpler" interface aimed at highlighting books you're currently reading in a "Reading Now" section.

On the store side of things, Books will gain a marketplace that looks like the new iOS App Store that debuted in iOS 11, tying more of Apple's apps in together aesthetically. There will also be a dedicated tab for audio books.

According to Gurman, this major update to Books is Apple's move to take on Amazon and the Kindle digital book market again. The Books redesign will come nearly five years after Apple and five publishers were found guilty of conspiring to inflate the prices of e-books to weaken Amazon's dominant position in the market.
Apple is working on a redesigned version of its iBooks e-book reading application for iPhones and iPads and has hired an executive from Amazon to help.

This will be the biggest upgrade to Apple’s e-book service in several years and provides renewed competition in a market that Amazon has dominated.
In its preparation to fight against Amazon in the e-book market, Apple last month hired a senior vice president away from Amazon's Audible business. The VP, Kashif Zafar, had also previously worked at Barnes & Noble on its Nook e-reader. His new title at Apple is "Global Head of iBooks," and he'll help Apple with "general management responsibility" across the company's global digital books unit.



Top Rated Comments

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21 months ago
They're gonna make it worse, like each new version of the Podcasts app.
Rating: 15 Votes
21 months ago
Can't help thinking about iTunes and how 'simplifying' things means removing useful features :rolleyes:
Rating: 13 Votes
21 months ago
The chances of the redesign "improving" the user experience would appear to be exactly zero.
Rating: 12 Votes
21 months ago
Yipee, more white space. If theres one thing we need. White space = Design, just ask Jony Ive.

"The white space is a representation of the user's soul. It is design at its simplest form. The user will see that white space and say to themselves 'well of course its like that, why would it be any other way?' we as designers spend our lives planning the ins and outs of everyday objects, and to me at least... that means white space."
Rating: 10 Votes
21 months ago
I guess a return to skeuomorphism is out of the question.

If the app returned to how it looked when it launched, I'd consider moving my library to it from Kobo (which even it is largely flat design now). iBooks' skeuomorphic appearance was one of the main reasons I wanted the OG iPad.
Rating: 9 Votes
21 months ago
This is a long shot, but I'd love for someone to revolutionize the ebook game and merge all of your accounts together, just like how Movies Anywhere merged all of my Amazon Video, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and UltraViolet movies. I have so many books stuck in both iBooks and Kindle and it's a hassle to remember what I have and don't have and then hunting it down. First world problem, i know, but it would be a great change.
Rating: 8 Votes
21 months ago
Please Apple. No more Big Bold Fonts
Rating: 5 Votes
21 months ago

I hope this refocus on ebooks means they will also refocus on updating their most ideal device for reading said ebooks: iPad mini.


Amen. It is absolutely the right size for reading. Kindle is too small. Other iPads are too big. It is the Goldilocks iPad.
Rating: 5 Votes
21 months ago

While this is certainly good news, I remain cautious it will make much of a difference.

For many of us, we would much rather stay in the beautiful Apple eco-system whenever possible. But for Books, the Apple store is a bit of wasteland, where they don't have all of the books Amazon has and far more important is they don't have the reviews and discussions Amazon does. If I lookup a book on Amazon I can see hundreds or thousands of reviews and quickly know the positives and minuses about the book. With Apple the same book may only have 5 reviews or none, so not a great enough sample to know much of anything about the book. When Apple missed out on buying GoodReads it further sealed their fate.

Apple can continue to improve the UI, keep costs competitive, add new fun features, but people use Amazon for the reviews/community, and Apple can't build that without first having more reviews and a community. Buying something like a Good Reads gives a company a major head start, but currently there are no other GoodReads big enough and Amazon certainly won't sell it.

Books will remain popular for the millions who always use the defaults app, but will lag behind Amazon, unless they truly push getting reviews or other must have features, color e-ink screens, or Amazon maybe sells the business to focus elsewhere.


I don't use Amazon because they don't use .epub. 100% dealbreaker for me.
Rating: 5 Votes
21 months ago

I would like to see:
A simple check off of books I have read.
An automatic pop up of every book in a series, in order and with the ones you have read shown checked off.


That would be really nice
I typically enjoy reading books in a series and in order... and I have to go to a website to find out the order and where I am at
Rating: 5 Votes

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