Apple’s App Store Needs Librarians

I’ve been going through the Apple App Store today as research for a possible post about certain aspects of digital books.

What I saw was so un-Apple-like bad, I had to do this post.

Look at this mess:

AppStoreBiz
Click = big

What the hell do the four apps I’ve highlighted in red have in common?

Nothing! — other than the fact they’ve been plopped under the category of Business.

There are people who are absolute specialists in placing things in their correct categories, Apple. These trained experts are called librarians.

For God’s sake, hire some!

And while I’m harping on the App Store, let me also say that I don’t see how it’s possible for anyone to make a worthwhile amount of money there without being pimped by Apple or without having a large real-world ad budget.

Right now it’s just about impossible to browse. I’ve had blank pages come up, preventing me from browsing a category completely. And the nonsensical placement of things is too distracting and adds too much clutter.

In addition, Search is broken. Recently I searched for “pdf” via the iPhone App Store interface and got only a fraction of the results I got from the same search term via iTunes on my desktop. How many possible sales is that alone costing people?

Finally, everything that’s being offered for free should be dumped into a FREE uber-category. People who are trying to build businesses and have put some amount of capital into their wares should not have to compete against some naif who wants to see his name in lights under the Apple banner.

7 Responses to Apple’s App Store Needs Librarians

  1. Constable Odo says:

    I think the iTunes App Store is being updated but not as fast as users would like. The amount of apps has just grown so quickly that Apple can’t keep up with modifications. They undoubtedly allot a certain amount of resources for projects and that’s it. iTunes is far from perfect, but it’s a lot better than any marketplace from a company that isn’t like an Amazon. iTunes is probably growing a lot faster than Amazon. At least the App Store probably is.

    Wait until Apple starts taking on electronic distribution of newspapers, magazines and books for the tablet, then you’ll really need some serious librarian services. Don’t worry, it will be taken care of in time. I’m sure Apple is going to rebuild iTunes from the ground up. Content delivery is going to be huge and I’m certain Apple will do the best that can be done with set time constraints. Just take one look at the rate of growth charts of the App Store and you’ll surely see how difficult it would be to keep up. Such growth is really unprecedented even for a company of Apple’s size.

  2. robinson says:

    Like the idea– hire librarians! There should be a Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress system for the apps!

    While they’re at it, they should revamp the whole iTunes interface, including giving users complete font size control– the text and reviews remain impossibly small on high-res screen (i.e., Apple’s laptops) even when “large” is picked. (What a range of choices– small or large–and they don’t seem to affect the size of the review text.)

  3. Karlos says:

    @Constable Odo
    “Don’t worry, it will be taken care of in time”

    – Hasn’t worked well so far on the interwebs. There’s always someone who forgets that the good ol’ Librarians aren’t still using card catalogues.

    They’ve got a few millennia (about 3 or 4 give or take) of dealing with the classification of information: even better, because of that have seen more major format shifts than silicon valley has had hot start-ups. Clay Tablets & the Printing Press anyone?

    Why not give the real Taxonomy experts a spin, then we may finally get closer to the “Semantic Web”.

    After all they developed the first electronic Meta-data and ‘tagging’ systems almost half a century ago! Still used and evolving today… MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloguing)

  4. With the App’s store rate of growth we’re going to see a few glitches.

  5. […] That’s another call for Apple to hire some librarians! […]

  6. […] know what digital comics are going for at the App Store. I haven’t looked (going through the disorganized mess of the App Store on a desktop is No Fun). So, I can’t comment on the digital price aspects of […]

  7. […] many golfers — amateur and professional — would own (I will not go digging through the mess of the App Store to enumerate golf games or golf apps to bolster this hypothesis). That has to be a large audience. […]

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