Scandal: iBooks’ bookshelves look like bookshelves

Delicious Library
Delicious Library (cropped screen cap)

So Apple hired UI designers away from Delicious Monster (yup, someone chose that name without owning the obvious domain — sigh) and then they created a books app that displays books on a wooden bookcase. And the wooden bookcase looks quite a bit like the wooden bookcase from Delicious Library (designed by said designers). I mean it looks like it’s made of wood, and it has shelves. Oh. My. God.

I happen to own a Delicious Library license and I never use it (those four books are the only ones I’ve added; it failed to recognize a fifth; and I scanned all but the first simply to create the screenshot for this blog entry). While it is a really neat piece of software (hold a barcode up to your webcam and, most of the time, “poof” it appears on the shelf) — it’s kind of a non-solution to a non-problem. If you know you own a book and can’t find it, how does it help? If you own a book but it’s missing, how does it help? If I wanted to run a small, infrequently used lending library featuring a quarter of a pretty good SF collection and lots of outdated technical books, well — it’s not really much use for that either. You can tell he’s hurting for designers though, since ALL CAPS have crept into some UI elements. Good grief.

Gosh darn it, Apple stole the idea of displaying books on a wooden bookcase! Thank you Paul Thurrott for alerting me to this injustice (I’m not linking to this idiocy).

By the way, back in 1996 I designed and prototyped multimedia laptop sales tools for insurance agents which, among other things, had a UI for displaying digital brochures and reference books. I’ll let you take a wild guess as to what UI metaphor we came up with. I created another similar prototype in 1997 for a former colleague working for IBM Consulting. Try again. Yeah, it’s a real original idea.

Robbed, I tells ya.