I don't think that's an option right now. The book module in iTunes is very young so I'm sure it'll mature with time. Make sure you send Apple a suggestion for this feature if you haven't already. I have over 100 books and it's a hassle to keep them organized, so I just keep the ones I'm currently reading at the very top shelf. Not ideal, but it works for now. HTH...
I have worked this out after months of irritaion.
iBooks puts newly downloaded books at the top of the bookshelves and you can then move them manually. This is a pain if you have many books.
The iBooks default is to sort using the 'author sort' field in the book's metatdata. If this field does not contain the author name with the surname first (eg Tolstoi, Leo) but another word such as 'unknown' then it will file the book under 'u'.
In addition, iBooks sorts books in *reverse alphabetical order*. I cannot explain why, presumably Apple programmers live in a parallel universe where this is the way they do things.
Even if you manually re-order the books, the next time Apple isuue an update to iBooks or update the OS, all your books will revert to reverse alphabetical order. I have three times lost my manually sorted order of 1500 books because of this.
The only way I have found to get the books to sort the way you want them automatically is to insert, in the author sort field, a reverse alphabetical code before the author name, substituting z for a, y for b etc. You can do this in a program called Calibre, you must save the change by reconverting the book to epub, again using Calibre.
Then, clear the books from the iPad by unchecking the books in your library and performing a sync. Then add the books to your library again and sync again.
iBooks will then reverse sort the books, using the reverse alpha codes you have given them. Bingo: you have fooled iBooks into doing what you want.
I have to congratulate Apple. To produce essentially a computer which will not allow users to sort data in the way that suits them seems to me inept, stupid, insane... or maybe all three.
I too have a large volume of books. The way I have handled sorting on my ipad is this:
- Load books into itunes and then manually fix all author names and book titles in the "sorting" tab in itunes. By doing this, I am atleast guaranteed that I can sort my books by either author or title properly on my ipad.
- I create a bookshelf for all my popular authors books I have.
My issue: You can not put your bookshelves in alpha order --> unless someone else has figured out an option for this I would love to hear about it.
Not that this will help, but, sorting by author is the way they are in the library under the dewy decimal system. Go figure. Didn't know about the reverse alpha within an author.....
I get around it by creating collections, and keeping the collections to a manageable shelf. My collections are either by author, or subject.
Lastly, I don't get carrying around 1500 books on a pad. I usually keep a handful there, and use I tunes as my 'storage library'