On its surface, iBooks appears simple, but the more you add to your library, the more your questions will pile up. Get answers, plus learn about ebook-reading features that are not immediately obvious. If you need advice on collecting and reading ebooks iBooks for 10.9 Mavericks or want to become more adept with iBooks on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, this ebook is for you.
Old book alert! As you can see in the Update Plans, below, we had hoped to keep this book updated, but we’ve encountered so much buggy behavior that we’ve had to shelve the project. This book has a fair amount of good information for someone running 10.9 Mavericks and iOS 7 with Apple’s iBooks app, and there is also some good general/conceptual information about ebook formats and where to download ebooks from. But, buyer beware, we haven’t revised the book since late 2013 and much as has changed, so you may encounter broken links, and advice that works only half way.
Whether you’re catching up on your favorite authors, poring over textbooks, or perusing work-related documents, self-described readaholic and Mac expert Sharon Zardetto teaches you the ABCs of iBooks. Sharon helps you optimize your onscreen reading environment, use the navigational controls (which differ depending on which type of ebook you’re reading!), manage bookmarks, highlight important passages, make notes, and more. You’ll also learn about auto-downloading and re-downloading purchases from Apple’s iBooks Store, and where to find ebooks outside the iBooks Store.
As you turn the virtual pages of Take Control of iBooks you’ll read about:
Ebook file formats: Here at Take Control, we often hear from people who aren’t sure about the differences among the major ebook file formats—PDF, EPUB, Mobipocket, and Multi-Touch. If you’re struggling with these basics (the difference between a hardback and a paperback is easier to understand), Sharon sets you straight, and helps you understand how the format of an ebook affects its behavior and features in iBooks.
Mavericks mysteries: Discover what iBooks on your Mavericks Mac does with any ebooks that were previously in iTunes, where your library is located, and how to add EPUB, PDF, and Multi-Touch ebooks to iBooks.
Synchronizing details: Find directions for syncing your Books library among your Apple devices. In addition to keeping copies of your ebooks on all your devices, you can sync your custom collection names and your position within any given book, as well as your bookmarks, highlights, and notes.
Book acquisition: Whether you buy from Apple’s iBooks Store, buy from a third party that sells ebooks in EPUB or PDF format (such as Take Control!), or make your own titles (such as with Apple’s free iBooks Author—see Take Control of iBooks Author for help), you’ll find out how to populate iBooks with your ebooks.
Collection management: If you don’t have time to shelve your ebooks, don’t worry, because Sharon teaches techniques for taking advantage of iBooks’ built-in organization and search function. But, the persnickety arrangers among us will learn how to further organize an iBooks library.
Control your reading environment: Just as you may read best in the real world with the right lighting (and a bowl of grapes on hand, with a cat at your feet), you can also optimize your onscreen setup. You’ll find tips for adjusting the font and type size, changing the page color, reading full-screen on the Mac, and even how to best turn the page.
Enjoy the e in ebook: All those tiny electrons running around in your device can do more than display text on a screen. Sharon describes how to highlight passages, make in-book notes, insert virtual bookmarks, look up a selection in the dictionary (or on the Web—great for looking up a historical character or event that’s mentioned in passing!) and more.
A special chapter, Explore Multi-Touch Books, guest-written by ebook expert Michael E. Cohen, helps you fully understand what’s so special about Apple’s Multi-Touch format and makes sure you can enjoy the special features, such as Study Cards, available in those ebooks.
What’s New in the 1.2 Update
This 1.2 book update was necessitated by Apple’s updating of the iOS version of iBooks to 3.2 just days after we published the book. In addition to changing all the screenshots to match the current reality, I’ve added information about these updated features:
The Collections popover changed drastically; you can review the details of the new one in Meet the Collections Popover.
The faux book edges are gone, leading to a welcome streamlining of the Appearance popover (Set Your Reading Options).
When you remove a book from a collection, the resultant notice is much clearer about what’s going to happen (Remove Books from iPad Collections).
Updating this book to match the iBooks update also gave me a chance to tweak some other things:
The information about printing your highlighted passages and notes from the Mac has been expanded, providing choices for everything from a single note to annotations for a chapter or for a whole book. That’s in Print Highlighted Text & Notes, and it’s made easier by a new sidebar about making Selections in the Notes Panel.
I overlooked the “recent searches” option in iBooks in iOS; that’s been added to Review Recent Searches. And I mistakenly conflated some of the information about heading to the Web (Wikipedia or elsewhere) from the Mac with its iOS version; it’s now cleared up in Head to Wikipedia or the Wider Web.
Read about dealing with printed-book versus ebook page numbering for annotations in Printed vs. iBooks Page Numbers in EPUBs on the iPad.
Posted by Tonya Engst on November 15, 2013
Hear Sharon’s take on iBooks in Sharon’s recent interview with podcaster Chuck Joiner at MacVoices. Sharon and Chuck talk about why PDFs open on the Mac in Preview, the relationship between iTunes and iBooks, iBooks collections, turning “pages,” and volumes more.
Posted by Tonya Engst on October 24, 2013
Here at Take Control HQ, we are often asked about how to locate a downloaded ebook, once it has been downloaded to a Macintosh. If you’re stuck on this problem, here’s what you need to know.
Where’d My Download Go?
Your downloaded ebook file is likely in the Downloads folder, inside your user folder (~Downloads). You can open it from a Finder window’s sidebar or the Dock.
From the sidebar: The sidebar in a Finder window (choose View > Show Sidebar if it’s not showing) includes the Downloads folder by default. If the folder isn’t there, open Finder > Preferences, click the Sidebar icon at the top of the pane, and select the Downloads box. To access the folder contents, click Downloads in the sidebar.
(Don’t know how to open a Finder window? To open a window, click the smiley face Finder icon found by default on the left, or top, of the Dock.)
From the Dock: The Downloads folder starts out near the right (or the bottom) of your Dock. It may appear as a stack of icons, with the most recently downloaded item on top, or it may look like a folder. The appearance is controlled by a setting available in the “Dock icon menu.” Control-click on the Downloads icon for a pop-up menu and choose Folder or Stack from the Display As section. Whatever your Downloads Dock icon looks like, open it by clicking it to open its menu and choosing Open in Finder.
With the folder open, if you can’t easily spot a downloaded file, try sorting the contents to make it easier. Start by choosing View > List, and then sort the contents by clicking on the column headers. Sort by name if you know the name of the file; or if you know it’s, say, a PDF, sort by Kind and look at the PDFs. If you have a Date Added column, you can sort with that to see the most recent downloads at the top or bottom of the list.
(To include a Date Added column, start with the Downloads folder open and choose View > Show View Options. Enable Date Added in the Options palette, and then click its Close button to put it away.)
I Still Can’t Find My Download
Your Web browser may be using a different download location from the usual Downloads folder. Look in your browser’s preferences to figure out what it’s doing. For example, at the moment, in the latest versions of Safari and Firefox, you can set the Download folder in the General preferences pane. In Chrome, the option is also in the General pane, but click “Show advanced settings” in that pane to access the setting.
If you can’t find your download inside the Downloads folder because it’s so crowded, or you think it might be somewhere besides the Downloads folder but have no idea where, use the Mac’s search function. Click the Spotlight button (the magnifying glass icon at or near the right of the menu bar) and type the name of the file; any word in the filename, or even the beginning of the file name or any word in it will find it. If it appears in the results list, Command-click it and its folder will open in the Finder, with the file selected.
June 15, 2016 -- We had planned to update this book by mid-2016, but, sadly, we have decided to delay that update.
Here’s why. Apple’s late-March update to iBooks on both the Mac and iOS introduced some changes to the app that are less than half-baked. Author Sharon Zardetto and her editor Michael Cohen have run into quite a few problems, and several of them are documented in the TidBITS article, iBooks with iCloud Drive Is Unreliable and Confusing; there are others. Consequently, we were faced with creating a new version of the book that would be full of caveats about how iBooks might not work as described for you, because in testing we’ve seen all manner of inconsistent misbehavior. All these caveats would be cumbersome to read (and write), and frustrating because in several cases we can’t give you workarounds. Further, once we finished the book, Apple would probably fix some of them — though perhaps in an unexpected way — and then the book would need to be updated once again, and quickly.
That seemed like madness. Instead, in order to save our sanity (and yours) we have decided to delay completing the update to this book until after the new versions of iOS and macOS are released later this year. By then, we hope, Apple will have cleaned up some of the problems we have encountered.
I'll post here again once we have a firm plan for when and whether we'll be updating the book.
...It's now March of 2017. Our plans to update this title remain on hold. If you'd like to read our latest take on iBooks, see Michael Cohen's TidBITS article, The State of iBooks in Early 2017.