Apple finally remember they have books on tape

Published March 23, 2016

I haven’t really used iTunes for its intended purpose in a long time. It’s very handy for adding id3 tags to things and it’s a nice way of perusing the store for all its many digital wonders, but in terms of syncing devices and storing my stuff, the iCloud has been far more useful.

One of the problems with this strategy, however, is that it meant I couldn’t get my hands on any audiobooks that I’d bought from the iTunes store. Up until now, they have been locked away on the desktop, with no means of getting them onto a phone or other device without using a cable. Whereas with most items, you can look through the iTunes store and see whether you already own it thanks to that little “cloud with an arrow” symbol, audiobooks had no such luxury.

In the meantime, I switched to using Audible directly. The audiobooks on iTunes come from Audible anyway, but if I couldn’t find them when I needed them, I decided I may as well go direct to the source.

Thankfully that has been rectified recently, and now you can sync audiobooks via iCloud, see which books you already purchased and download as needed on whichever device you so choose. It is tucked away in the iBooks app, but at least it now exists!

Apple audiobooks

It’s only a small change, but it’s brought back a few books I hadn’t realised I’d bought and opened up another avenue for investing in brilliant audiobooks. It may still be easier to go directly through Audible, but all the same, it’s much better now this part of the store has been brought in line with everything else.

What the entire debacle has proven to me though, is that it’s all very well providing an incredible and far-reaching eco-system where everything is in sync and accessible, but you have to keep it all up to date at the same pace. Leaving anything behind, such as the audiobooks system, is a stark admission of which parts of the store are important and which are simply afterthoughts.

For a company as big as Apple, it feels a shame that some parts do get left on the backburner for a while, but equally, they have so many things going on, it’s not really a surprise that things slip through the net either.

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