From book store to book club

Published October 7, 2019

In the latest iOS release, Apple have got a lot wrong. Many things that used to function now no longer do so, and everything is just that little bit more flaky. I’ve never restarted my devices quite so much as I have these past few weeks.

However, one thing that I have enjoyed is the new reading goals. The Books app, or iBooks as I can’t help but keep calling it, was always a tangential thing for me. I love reading and books but Kindle was my app and store of choice. The Apple Books app, whilst making a really nice reading experience, didn’t do much in terms of promotion, finding material, or collecting your works once downloaded. Meanwhile, I’ve just spent a significant amount of time putting my books into Kindle collections on the iPad which was an easy process and makes for a nice digital bookshelf.

So, the two new things Apple have introduced in the last few weeks are reading goals and Oprah’s book club. And although I know I am being manipulated by these two things, I’m also not ashamed to say they’ve absolutely worked. I’m now spending ten minutes before I go to sleep reading the latest work that Oprah has selected (at time of writing that is The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates).

Reading now

These two things have come along at exactly the right time for me. My reading habits are always evolving but have just recently dropped back to dipping in and out of books occasionally, and catching up on audiobooks for the must-reads. I wanted a bit more definition and structure and reasoning behind my choices – rather than the over-purchasing of 99p books I have indulged in at Kindle store sales. I also wanted to branch out a bit, and not just read crime thrillers, biographies, books from my youth, and first novels by celebrities turned authors.

So having Oprah guide me towards a book I would never have even looked at, let alone pre-ordered… I’m okay with that. And the reading goal is an added bonus, helping to gamify things. I’ve talked before about how motivating I find badges and goals and just having that nudge to complete something to add to a habit streak. The goals are simple, number of books you want to read in a year and number of minutes you want to read a day. When you’re reading, you get a little notification to let you know you’ve reached that day’s target and you can either move on, or hopefully, keep on reading.

So no matter how my reading habits change or evolve, if nothing else, I’m reading ten minutes a day of a book that Oprah deemed worthy of promotion – and I think that’s worth battling through a few of the bugs elsewhere.

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