Books app on Ventura

I have hundreds of audiobooks and have always kept them in the Apple book app so that I could easily sync to my iPhone for listening. Originally the app was iTunes now it’s Books. In my view Apple has pulled of the amazing trick of steadily making this app worse with each new release.
When audiobooks were moved to Books we lost the ability to edit metadata and to sort in an intelligent way (books are not sorted by title in libraries but I don’t suppose the app designer knew that).
Now with Ventura the app is even worse. The cover images are huge and you cannot change the size. Also, the title and author are no longer listed, every book shows as “new” and you can’t batch change settings, and you can only move a book within the displayed screen.
I’ve searched for an alternative but found nothing that provides adequate metadata editing and syncing to iPhone.

I’m frustrated by this too. I keep submitting bug reports/feature requests about the editing metadata aspect, to no avail.

I agree that since iTunes was split up, dealing with Books has worsened. Formerly you could view a whole grid of metadata and sort by almost any element present. However, the situation is not quite as bad as you have stated:

  1. You can create collections and move books into them to deal with smaller clumps.

  2. There is also a List View in addition to the Grid View. You get there by tapping the ‘Sort By’ entry in the upper right and finding the toggle at the bottom of the window. That view shows a smaller icon and the author. Not great, but better than the grid view when you are trying to organize the collection.

  3. ‘Sort by’ lets you sort by author in addition to title and how recently touched. Note that you can select multiple books at a time and drag them into a collection. So, you could easily create collections for specific authors.

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Alan, thank you!
I had previously used the ‘category’ metadata to create collections but that seems to have disappeared, if it’s still available can you point me to it.
I understand about collections but having done all the work using the category field I am reluctant to do it all over again and, anyway, who’s to say that it won’t be eliminated in the next version of Books!
The List View is as you describe it, however, one tall narrow column of 900 books with 9 visible at one time is not much more useful than the Grid View with 18 books visible without title and author. The old List View was more informative as it showed some of the metadata fields.
I too have submitted feature requests to Apple but there is little competition in the audiobook application category and I don’t think Apple sees any need to change.

Also, does anyone know how I can change the status of books from “New” to “Finished”? When I migrated to Ventura it reset hundreds of books (but not all) to New when they were marked “Finished” in Big Sur’s Books.

  1. Position your cursor on the book cover until you see a light-gray ellipses under the book cover.
  2. Click the light-gray ellipses.
  3. Select Remove from Want to Read from the pop-up menu.

Thank you. Yes, I was aware of that feature and have used it. Unfortunately, I have around 850 books listed as “new” but that are not new and I was hoping for a way to change all as a batch. Changing them individually is impractical.

Have you checked out this app? Possibly in conjunction with Calibre?

That looks very powerful however it appears to be an eBook app. Does it handle audiobooks also? I couldn’t tell from the write up.


I have not tried it, but I understand this app can also be used for manipulating metadata of audiobooks: Meta – Music Tag Editor for Mac

Thank you for this also. I have tried a few metadata editors but not that one, I’ll give it a go. The one I’m using at present is the Mac version of MP3Tag Mp3tag - the universal Tag Editor (ID3v2, MP4, OGG, FLAC, ...) which is really smart.

I also find the “New” Books app frustrating. We buy our Audiobooks from Audible & now I just leave them in the online Library & download from there - why they got rid of the “By Author” I have no idea as this was my go-to list. Another thing I hate is no fade-out. The Audible app for phones will slowly fade the book out if you set the timer. We will often have the book running throughout our apartment using Airfoil, and set to stop after a certain amount of time after we go to Bed. We find that a very relaxing way to drift off to sleep. But the sudden cut-off that Books does is really jarring versus the fade out on the Audible app. I keep writing audible to please do an app for macOS, but I guess Apple won’t let them, or they don’t see enough interest.
Ok, rant over! :grinning:

I had forgotten about the slow fade idea. I don’t believe iTunes / Books ever had it. I used to listen to a classical music station on my bedside radio when going to sleep and that radio had a shut down timer which faded out nicely at the end.

The problem in Books w/sort by author is - and always has been - that for some books, the author’s first name is used & others the last name is used. I have multiple books by the same author and some are sorted using the author’s last name & some by the first name; appears it’s totally random. I haven’t found a way to manually change this so if I’m looking for books by a particular author in Books, I have to check under first AND last name.

There are 2 cases here:

  1. If the book came from the Apple Bookstore, you are stuck; there is no way to change the author’s name from how it was encoded in its store entry.

  2. If you added the book manually, there is a ‘Get Info’ entry in the dropdown list generated by tapping the ellipsis in the lower right corner of the book thumbnail. The Get Info card has editable fields for the title and author.

Alan, thanks that’s helpful. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, it works for eBooks and PDFs but not with audiobooks. I hope I’m wrong.

Most of my books were added so long ago, I don’t remember which were from Apple Bookstore & which were added manually; but most of the older ones were definitely from Apple. Didn’t know I could edit the ones I added manually. It’s ridiculous that even in the beginning, Apple didn’t have it set up in a consistent manner.

…and ridiculous that you can’t make batch changes.

Also the bookmark feature has become terribly fiddly involving three actions which seldom work neatly. I agree with all of the foregoing, trying to organise the library is getting more and more difficult.

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I came up with the following compromise.
In order to organise and access in a uniform way my ebooks (.epub and .azw3) and audiobooks (.m4b) I use Calibre together with Calibre-Web, a web app providing a clean interface for browsing, reading and downloading eBooks using a valid Calibre database.
The painful part is how to move the dowloaded audiobook into the on the iPhone.
Apparently the only way is forcing a sync from a Mac. This means, if I understand well, that without a Mac (or Windows PC) I can not load an audiobook into…
My favourite iPhone audiobook app, which is basically has the same functionality as but with an excellent usability, is BookPlayer.