How to fix iPad Books library jumping around
February 6, 2022 3:31 PM   Subscribe

What am I doing wrong that my iPad library constantly shifts around and goes back to books I was reading months ago?

6th gen iPad, currently 542 books, but they're not all full books. Some are small epubs or PDF files of a couple of pages.

So I open Books, which I keep sorted by Recent and displaying as full icons, always.

I will be looking at the icon layout, when it will shift, and instead of actual recent books I'm now looking at books I downloaded months ago. If I run a search, I can still find the recent books, but not at top. Sometimes at this stage the book cover images disappear for awhile and only redraw later, which makes me wonder if this is a memory issue.

I am not changing Recent to any other method of sorting when this happens.

If this is the iPad's doing, I'd love to have a way of making it rebuild its index.

If I have too many books, I guess I'll start deleting ones I've downloaded but am unlikely to read in the short term.

It's just possible this is actually an issue with iCloud, but if so, I'm damned if I know what it is.
posted by zadcat to Computers & Internet (2 answers total)
Best answer: That sounds like the jumping around I see when my iPad is syncing against my iPhone (which I use a lot more for reading), which often (always?) happens only after I've opened the app.

Things I would try:
- to see if it stops it from happening at all: turn off Sync in Settings;
- to see if it fixes it in the moment: when it happens, switch to a different sort order, and then switch back.

Books is nice for actual reading but *abysmal* at library management in general, so this seems in keeping. I mean, sort by author and you find half the books get shelved under the author's first name. Sort by title and it doesn't ignore leading articles. Sort by Recent and even if it's getting things right, it muddles up recently read, recently opened and recently downloaded in a way that you can't compensate for. So this feels on-brand.

I would hope the library size is a red herring. My library is comparable to yours, I think (hard to be sure; the iPhone says I have "422 books, 41 series, 6 PDFs, 108 items", which adds up to 577, or 536 if I drop the series from the total, but it also says I've finished 275 and "Want to Read" 332, which adds up to 607, and did I mention Books is absolutely terrible for library management?), and I'm not seeing anything that makes me think it's struggling on either device with a library of that size. The amount of storage it needs is a drop in the ocean, and it doesn't seem like a particularly memory-hungry or processor-intensive app (no lag, no device heating or sudden battery drop).
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:00 AM on February 7, 2022

Best answer: Books is not optimized to help you read. It is optimized to encourage you to buy more books.

I use GoodReader for organizing and storing books I want to preserve long-term. It’s been well worth the purchase price for me.
posted by DaveP at 5:59 AM on February 7, 2022

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