Swiss iBookstore Now Spricht Nur Deutsch

I finally got around to upgrading my iPad to iOS5. The process took about an hour and a half from start to finish and ate up most of my free time yesterday evening so I didn’t have time to investigate all the new features right away. When I got home this evening, I was looking forward to checking out iBooks to see what was new and to try The PDF Torture Test to see how my iPad1 compared to the iPad2.

Unfortunately, I was sidetracked straightaway. When I opened iBooks, one of the first things I noticed (along with the fact that most of the covers on the existing books in my library no longer display correctly) was that the interface to the iBookstore was in German and there doesn’t seem to be any way to change it.

When the Swiss iBookstore opened about two months ago, I posted some screensnaps. It’s obvious from those that my iPad knew I wanted my interface to be displayed in English: all the menus are in English. Further, as this snap shows, although the default store comes up in German, there was at least a link to the French version of the store at the bottom of the Featured selections:

This link is now gone. It’s been replaced by Books under 9 Swiss Francs and New Children’s Titles:

Notice all the buttons are in German.

Perplexed, I checked iTunes. Everything was in German there too!

I’m used to Apple sending out new Terms of Agreement in German, without providing links to translations, but I was utterly astonished that they removed the option to browse the store in French on the iPad. Ironically, I think the terms I accepted during the upgrade were actually in English this time.

Accessing the iTunes store from my MacBook, I found the familiar English interface, as well as links to browse the store in French and Italian!

Here’s the book section of the store on my MacBook in French:

I don’t understand why that isn’t available on my iPad anymore. If the iOS5 upgrade changed something that prevents me from seeing French, I haven’t found it in my settings.

So was it an oversight on Apple’s part? If so, that seems very sloppy. Given how little thought Apple seems to have given to the iBookstore, I wouldn’t have been surprised. However, since the imposition of the awful German language extends to the entire iTunes store, if it’s an oversight, it’s a big one. The store is one of the places Apple should pay extra attention since that’s where people buy.

For the time being anyway, looks like I’ll have to do any browsing and purchasing from the store on my MacBook.

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