Everyone has their ebook library designed wrong

I'm stuck here right now waiting for my Cybook Opus to refresh. It's set to show 20 titles per page, and it insists on showing a thumbnail of each cover (The first time they're shown can take a while.) While I'm waiting I thought I'd spend the time telling you about one of my main gripes with ereaders.

Right now the hottest gimmick for ereaders is to display the ebook collection in a faux bookshelf style. Apple has done it, and that's a sign that everyone will soon copy it. Leaving aside the fact that it's a waste of screen real estate, it's also the wrong part of a physical library to copy.

Device developers shouldn't try to create a faux library bookshelf. What they should be working on is copying the functions of a library catalog. A bookshelf is not terribly useful once you have a hundred or more ebooks on an ereader and given that all ereader are capable of carrying hundreds if not thousands of ebooks, I really have to wonder why no one has a decent catalog on their ereader.

And do you know what really gets me? Making the ebooks on the screen look like a book on the shelf is just windrow dressing.

Developers have wasted all that time rather than spend it on something useful.  If you want to help real work get done then give me a functional catalog.

I'm going to leave designing the catalog to another post. But I will state the obvious: just because your ereader doesn't have a touch screen or keyboard doesn't mean you can't add some of the features of a catalog. If you can't figure out how, hire me as a consultant.

P.S. Amazon has a head start on this. If you sort the ebooks on a K2 by author, you can type in the first few letters of the author's name and the K2 will jump to the right page (this also works on titles). This feature's been around since the original Kindle.

About Nate Hoffelder (11463 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Everyone has their ebook library designed wrong

  1. >>>Apple have done it, and that’s a sign that everyone will soon copy it.

    Yep, whether it makes any damned sense or not, especially with an eInk screen combined with a weak CPU!

    Book organization is crap with most hardware and software. Glad to see you address it. The subject annoys me and I haven’t the strength to do a post about it.

  2. Forget how the list looks on the screen! When will Amazon give us a true web-based library management tool that lets me easily (with a mouse & full keyboard) label my hundreds of ebooks by genre and status (read, unread, etc)? As someone who is on my 5th Kindle (6th if you could the Fire I got as a tablet and for cookbooks and other illustrated books) I can tell you the current “collections” function is not that great. You have to download the books to the device first and then “import” the collections from your previous Kindle. The latest update sounded like it was adding web-functionality, but you still had to create the collections on a Kindle.

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