iPad Users Win Out with Apple’s Improved iBookstore!

I mentioned in a previous post that Apple has made some improvements to the iBookstore. This post expands on that!

Amazon or the iBookstore?
When most people think about buying a book, they think Amazon. I’m a huge Apple fan, have been writing Apps since the iPhone was first released, and have just about every Apple device ever made (my iPad mini is on the way!), but my gut reaction is still to go to Amazon first, before I think of the iBookstore–and I know I’m not alone in this.

Apple recently made a change to iBooks and the iBookstore that I think will give the iBookstore a real boost–the ability to get an alert when an ebook is updated. For me, one of the great advantages of writing an e-Book is to provide updates for my readers, usually at no charge.

Getting Updated Versions of Books on the iBookstore
To show you how this works, I’ll use one of my iBookstore books as an example. I recently updated Book 1: Diving In in my iOS App Development for Non-Programmers series. Note that if you are an author updating your book, to take advantage of this new update feature you must:

1. Download the latest version of iBooks Author (version 2.0)

2. Download the latest version of iTunes Producer (2.8)

When you run iTunes Producer, it now has a “What’s New” section you can fill in so your readers know what has changes since the last version. 

After I uploaded my book to be reviewed by Apple, I waited 8 days (sigh) before they approved the update (an eternity when you compare it to Amazon’s 12 hr update cycle). ANYWAY, when I went to my iPad, and launched iBooks (you also need to update to the latest iBooks 3), I saw a number 1 appear in the Store button in the upper left corner of the iBooks App. This is the indicator that one of the books on my shelf has an update:

It would be nice if the badge appeared directly on the book that has been updated. Since it doesn’t, you have to click the Store button to find out more. When you tap this button it takes you on line to the iBookstore. Next, you need to tap the Purchased button at the bottom right of the screen:

This takes you to a list of books you have purchased. At the top of this screen, the Updates button shows the number of books you have purchased that have been updated:

If you tap the Updates button it shows you a list of the books that have updates:

To see what’s new in an updated book, you can tap the book in the book which displays the book details in a popup window. Just scroll down in the window until you can see the What’s New section:

After reviewing what’s new, just tap off the dialog to close it.

You can either tap UPDATE ALL to update all books or just tap the UPDATE button to update a particular book. When you tap the UPDATE button, the text of the button changes to DOWNLOADING:

After several seconds, you are taken back to the iBooks book shelf, and a progress indicator is displayed as the updated book is downloading:

When the book has finished downloading, the progress bar goes away and the Store button no longer shows an available update. 

And that’s how it’s done! Apple could improve this process by letting you tap directly on the book in the iBooks book shelf, but I have to say that they have one-upped Amazon by providing the ability to see a book has been updated!

Kevin McNeish
Author: iOS App Development for Non-Programmers
Twitter: @kjmcneish 

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