iBooks: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Last Modified: April 04, 2010
  • Article: HT4059


See the frequently asked questions below to learn more about iBooks and iBookstore for iPad.

Products Affected

iTunes Store, iTunes, iPad Apps

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About iBooks and the iBookstore

Where can I find the iBooks app?

iBooks is only available on iPad. You can download the iBooks app for free from the App Store.

Is iBooks available in every country with an App Store?

iBooks and the iBookstore are only available in the United States at this time.

What are the requirements to use iBooks?

  • You must own an iPad to use iBooks.
  • An iTunes Store account is required to download from the iBookstore.
  • iBooks only uses books published in the ePub format.
  • To add ePub files from outside the iBookstore to iBooks, they must be DRM-free and synced to your iPad using iTunes 9.1 or later.

How do I access the iBookstore?

iBooks includes the iBookstore. Tap the iBooks icon and your bookshelf appears. In the upper-left corner, tap the Store button and the bookshelf flips around to reveal the iBookstore. From the iBookstore, you can browse books by title, author, or genre. You can also view featured books as well as books available on the New York Times best-seller lists. Tap on a book to see more details and read a sample. When you buy a book it automatically appears on your iBooks bookshelf.

Managing your books and iBookstore content

Are book samples from the iBookstore downloaded to my iPad? 

Yes, when you tap Get Sample for a book in the iBookstore, iBooks will download a portion of the book to your bookshelf. You can read this sample and download the complete book from the last page of the sample. Once you purchase the full book, the sample will be replaced in your bookshelf with the complete book.

How large are typical books from the iBookstore?

The typical book is about 2MB.

What digital book file types are recognized by iBooks? 

iBooks supports the industry-leading ePub digital book file type. You can sync freely available ePub files to iBooks using iTunes, or download ePub files from the iBookstore. Other digital book file types are not supported at this time.

Can I purchase a book from the iBookstore using my computer?

No, the iBookstore is only available through iBooks on iPad at this time.

Can I copy my books onto other computers or iPads?

Books downloaded from the iBookstore can be placed on up to five computers you own that you’ve authorized with your iTunes Store account. You can sync your books to any iPads you own. Audiobooks and ePub files you've added to iTunes will appear in Books under Library. To sync Books to your iPad, connect it to your computer using the cable it came with. In iTunes, select iPad under Devices, then click the Books tab. Choose the books you would like to read on iPad then press Sync. Books will sync to iPad even if iBooks is not installed; to read synced books, download iBooks from the App Store.

Note: Samples downloaded from the iBookstore will not sync to your computer. They remain on your iPad and can be removed using iBooks.

Can I download books from other websites?

Yes, you can download freely available ePub files on your Mac or PC. Using iTunes 9.1 or later, add them to your iTunes library choosing File > Add to Library, or drag the ePub file to the Books library on your computer. To read these books, simply sync them to your iPad.

Can I backup the books I purchased using my iPad?

Yes, any books you've downloaded from the iBookstore will be automatically added to your iTunes library the next time you sync your iPad with your computer. To do this, your computer must be authorized with the same account that was used to download the books from the iBookstore. Also, any settings and bookmarks in iBooks are backed up each time you sync with iTunes on your computer. You can transfer these and all other iPad application settings to another iPad by restoring your backup to another iPad using iTunes.

How can I determine which books are copy-protected (DRM) versus those that are DRM-free?

iTunes can show you the kind of book you have by selecting the book and then choosing File > Get Info. If the Kind is marked as Book, this is a book you downloaded from the Internet. If it is listed as Purchased Book, it is a DRM-free book downloaded from the iBookstore. If it is listed as Protected Book, it is a copy-protected book from the iBookstore.

I accidentally deleted the complimentary book, Winnie-the-Pooh.  How do I recover it?

If you misplace your complimentary copy of "Winnie-the-Pooh," you can download it for free from the iBookstore. If the complimentary book that came with iBooks is not available from the iBookstore, delete the iBooks app from your iPad, then redownload iBooks to receive a new copy of the complimentary book.

Can I redownload my purchased book again for free?

Yes, you can redownload any book from the iBookstore, as many times as you need, free of charge. To redownload a book, tap Store, then tap Purchases. Find the book you wish to download again and tap "Redownload." 

Can I gift a book?

No, you cannot gift a book in the iBookstore at this time.

Is there a limit to the number of books I can have?

The number of books you can have in iBooks will vary depending on the amount of space available on your iPad. iBooks does not limit the number of books allowed on your bookshelf.

iBooks features

Can iBooks open books offered in different languages?

Yes, iBooks can display books written in English, French, German, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish. The built-in dictionary is only available in the English language.

Does iBooks include a dictionary?

Yes, iBooks allows you to look up the definition of words using a built-in English language dictionary.

Can I bookmark and save my page?

iBooks will automatically remember where you left off each time you close a book or return to your Home screen.

Can I change the appearance of my books?

Yes, iPad allows you to adjust the font size and choose from five included fonts. You can also adjust the brightness of the iPad’s display to make your books comfortable to read in any lighting situation.

Can I install and use custom fonts?

No, not at this time.

Can I highlight text?

iBooks includes a built-in highlight feature called Bookmarks. Bookmarks allow you to highlight any word or passage of text within a book. You can review your bookmarks by tapping the Table of Contents button, then tapping Bookmarks.

Can I rearrange books on my iBooks bookshelf?

Yes, you can rearrange books in your iBooks bookshelf by tapping Edit and then moving your books where you would like them. You can also sort books in iBooks by switching to List view and tapping either Bookshelf, Titles, Authors, or Categories buttons.

Can I read my books while my iPad is in airplane mode?

Yes, an Internet connection is not required to read books already available on your bookshelf.

Do parental controls apply to books?

No, the book publishing industry does not offer a ratings system which can be used to limit access to books based on their content. However, you can prevent children from downloading the iBooks application by turning off access to the App Store.

Which books are shown on the New York Times best-seller lists?

From the iBookstore, tap on NYTimes to view the weekly top Fiction and Nonfiction hardcover books. If a New York Times best-seller book is not available for download from iBookstore, it will be omitted from the list.

Are books from the iBookstore accessible?

Books downloaded from the iBookstore can be enjoyed using the accessibility features built into iPad. 

Will the Kindle app or other eBook readers for iPhone work on iPad?

Kindle and virtually all other eBook reader applications designed for iPhone or iPod touch should work with iPad.

However, books downloaded from the Kindle Store and other books that are not in the standard ePub format are not compatible with iBooks.


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