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How-to: Browse iBookstore for Books in Your Own Language

26 October 2011

From Ebook Friendly:

Recently iBookstore was launched in 26 new countries. But don’t expect that a first thing you’ll see will be books in your own language.

Browsing through iTunes was never easy, but a lack of search by language (both in iTunes and iBooks) is a big mistake and doesn’t help to treat Apple ebookstore as a default reading system by international, non-English users.

If you want to find out how many books in your language are available in your local iBookstore, try one of those two ways described below.

1. Via iTunes & iBooks

In iTunes application on your computer, in a top bar find Books. Click on it and scroll down until you see Bestsellers by Language banner (see picture below).

Be patient, when you click on a banner you probably first see books in English, then in a couple of other languages, like Portuguese or Greek and then maybe you’ll see a section with bestsellers in your mother tongue.

You’ll see only paid books there. If you want to check free titles, go back to a home page, find Free Books banner and, sorry for that, you’ll have to check books manually.

2. Via Google

It’s actually less painful to use Google to search iBookstore.

Link to the rest at Ebook Friendly (the Ebook Friendly website was slow when PG built this link)

Ooof. When it’s easier to use Google to find things in your store than to use the store itself, you have problems.

Perhaps Apple cognoscenti can explain this to Passive Guy, but why is it hard to build a decent search function into a bookstore? Foreign language is an additional step, but others have figured that out.

Apple, Non-US

7 Comments to “How-to: Browse iBookstore for Books in Your Own Language”

  1. Thanks for sharing this post.

    The answer to question why it’s hard to built a decent search function is that Apple don’t want it. They want to sell books they want, not books the customer is looking for.

  2. That really goes against what Steve Job’s said the philosophy at Apple was. Apparently he never had any kids try to navigate the iBookstore site. lol.

  3. Good search engines are very difficult to build from scratch. The math is very complex. Much easier to acquire a search company than build your own. But then you have integration issues.

  4. I’m guessing two issues, of which the first is the major one.

    1: “It worked for iTunes!” The iBookstore is basically trying to treat books like songs; it’s assuming that you’re going in there to either browse semi-randomly, pleased enough with the Top 100, publisher, and “also bought” lists — or you know exactly what you want and are going to type in the title or author name. (If you type in an author name, in iTunes, it will bring up all their books. I do this to check on my own stuff occasionally, and see if anyone’s bothered to write a review.)

    2: Patents. Apple takes their own patents really seriously, and may believe that Amazon A: takes its patents seriously, and B: has patents on their search engines. And doesn’t feel like reinventing the wheel and getting into an unnecessary patent fight with Amazon when they’re busy beating up iPad infringements. After all, hardware is their cash cow, not the stuff people put on it. (Which is nice. I like that they don’t give a sneeze about me ripping a CD or loading a random epub.)

    • Good possibilities, Beth, but if Google is the best way to search the iBookstore, Apple could buy a license. But that would require admitting Apple isn’t the best at doing everything.

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