Last week, my iPad finally arrived. Yes, I’m a tad late to the party. But that doesn’t really matter. All in all, while I think it’s a game changer in many ways, and I love it, I do have some gripes, but the gripes mostly have to do with the way eBooks and other content is sold.
What I love about going to the bookstore is the way it’s laid out. You can walk in, see your bestsellers up front, then skip them and move into the category of your choosing. Most online bookstores seem to mimic this behavior to a degree. However, where they fall down is in the way you can actually browse a category.
In a regular book store, authors books are organized into two sections (often) – new books, and the rest, and those are alphabetical, generally. The books sit there, face out or spine out, right next to books by the same author, or right next to an author you may never have heard of. It’s EASY to find new authors (as long as their books are on the shelves) that are somewhat like what you’ve read (in the same basic category) but that are different, too.
In online book stores, it’s pretty damned difficult to find stuff from an author you’ve never heard of that isn’t a bestseller. On Amazon, you only get to see 12 titles per page, which means you have to click a lot to see more than a few books, where in a real book store, you can run buy a hundred books by taking a couple steps. In most online book stores, either I’m blind, or there is no easy way to see a list of authors in a particular category. I don’t know about you, but there are some authors I forget about unless I see their name. If they’re mid list authors, and I have to click 20 times to maybe see their latest book, I may never think about books in their back catalog.
The app store on the iPad has the same issue. There’s not an easy way to see apps that aren’t new or a best seller. In games (where I buy lots of stuff), the iPad interface lumps them all together – there’s no category options like strategy or rpg like there is on the iPhone/iPod app store. I’ll buy fewer games because I can’t find the stuff I want.
Basically, I just want ways to browse the back catalog that aren’t tedious, and that jog my memory about authors that I like, but don’t necessarily think about all the time.