Apple Books

You use the Apple Books app to read or listen to items you download from the Book Store. But like Apple's Photos and iTunes apps, Books is an organizing tool, too. All of your ebooks, audiobooks, and PDFs are automatically organized into various standard collections, such as Audiobooks and Finished. But you can create your own collections that make it easier to keep your virtual bookshelves in order.

How to add a new collection

The Apple Books app includes some default collections. You can add to these as many collections as you want and define them however you like. For example, you can create a collection for a particular author, genre, or topic. And you can put the same book into multiple collections. Here's how:

  1. Tap the Library tab.
  2. Tap Collections.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the list of collections and tap New Collection.
  4. Type a name for the collection.
  5. Tap Done.

How to add books to a collection

Empty collections are no fun. Here's how to populate them.

  1. Tap the Library tab.
  2. Tap Edit.
  3. Tap the book(s) the you want to add to a collection.
  4. Tap Add to....
  5. Tap the collection to add the books to.

You can use this same process to add a book that is already in one collection to another collection.

How to reorder or delete collections

Maybe you have a long list of collections and you'd like to put a particular one near the top of the list. Or maybe you want to delete a collection. You can do both in Books.

  1. Tap Library.
  2. Tap Collections.
  3. Tap Edit.
  4. To move a collection, touch and hold the gripper and drag the collection up or down to its new location.
  5. To delete a collection, tap the delete button.
  6. Tap Delete.
  7. In the sheet that appears, tap Delete.
  8. Tap Done.

Another way to delete collections? Swipe left on the list of collections before you tap the Edit button.

How to sort books

Books offers a quick way to sort books in your library and within collections. We'll use the library in this example.

  1. Tap Library.
  2. Tap Sort.
  3. Tap a sort preference.

How to sort books manually

Just like being able to organize books on a bookshelf in your office, you can reorder the way your electronic books appear in the Books app—both in your entire library and within collections. Here's how to reorganize your virtual shelves.

  1. Tap Library.
  2. Touch and hold any book until it lifts off the screen. A darker shadow will appear behind the book.
  3. Drag the book to its new location.

How to delete, hide, and unhide books

Most people don't keep every book they've ever read within arm's reach. You probably feel the same way about books you've read on your iPad or iPhone.

We'll explain the steps for clearing out the clutter of finished books using the Library tab, but you can follow the same process within a collection.

Deleting books

  1. Tap the Library tab.
  2. Tap Edit.
  3. Tap the book(s) you want to delete.
  4. Tap the Delete button.
  5. Tap Remove Download to delete it from the device.

There's another way to remove books:

  1. Tap the More button (a series of three dots) under any book
  2. Tap Remove....
  3. Tap Remove Download.

Hiding and unhiding books

If you don't want to see the cover image for a book that has been removed from your device, you can hide it. One of the nice new iOS 12 features in Books is that it's now easy to hide selected books.

  1. Tap Edit.
  2. Tap the book(s) you want to hide.
  3. Tap the Delete button.
  4. Tap Hide Book.

If you want to unhide a book, do this:

  1. Tap the Reading Now tab.
  2. Tap the account icon. It's either your picture or your initials and it's located in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Manage Hidden Purchases and enter your Apple ID password if prompted.
  4. Scroll to find the book you want and tap Unhide to make it visible in your library.

How to re-download deleted books

You've done a great job keeping your virtual bookshelves neat and tidy. You've meticulously organized your collections and gotten rid of books that you've finished. And now you want to go back and re-read a book that you've deleted from your device.

Fortunately, Apple Books makes it easy to do that, whether or not an image of the book's cover remains visible in the app or not. Let me explain.

Redownload a book that is visible in your library

The Books app can continue to show the cover image of a book that you've deleted from your device.

Even though the book has been removed, the small cloud icon underneath the image of the book's cover means that it's among the list of books that you've downloaded from the Book Store...and it can be redownloaded from the Book Store with one tap.

  1. Tap the Library tab. Alternatively, if the book appears in a collection, you could look for it there.
  2. Tap the book you want to re-download.

Redownload a book that is not visible in your library

You don't have to allow cover images of deleted books to remain visible in your library. You can easily hide books after you've deleted them from your device. But to redownload a hidden book, you'll need to unhide it first.

  1. Tap the Reading Now tab.
  2. Tap the account icon. It's either your picture or your initials and it's located in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Manage Hidden Purchases and enter your Apple ID password if prompted.
  4. Scroll to find the book you want and tap Unhide to make it visible in your library.
  5. Tap Account.
  6. Tap Done.
  7. Tap the Library tab.
  8. Tap the newly unhidden book to download it.

How to sync your Books library on iPhone and iPad

If you read books or listen to audiobooks on multiple devices, then you'll appreciate the syncing features of Apple Books when used in conjunction with your iCloud account. Along with your Reading Now collection, bookmarks you place and notes and highlights you create in books will also sync between devices. In addition, you can sync any PDFs stored in Books via iCloud Drive.

To make all this magic happen, you must first allow Books to use iCloud and iCloud Drive.

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap your name.
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Tap the switch to turn on Books.
  5. Tap the switch to turn on iCloud Drive.

Now, turn on some switches for the Books app.

  1. Scroll to the top of the list and tap Apple ID.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Scroll down the list and tap Books.
  4. Tap the switch to turn on Reading Now.
  5. Tap the switch to turn on iCloud Drive.

Tapping Update Other Devices will show you any other devices that require an OS update to sync changes to your library.

How to sync your Books library on your Mac

In addition to keeping your Books library, bookmarks, notes, highlights, and PDF files in sync on all your iOS devices, you can get the Mac in on the action, too.

As with syncing your Books library between your iOS devices, setting up syncing on your Mac is a two-step process.

Enable Books on your Mac to use iCloud and iCloud Drive

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Click iCloud.
  3. Check the box to enable iCloud Drive.
  4. Click the Options... button for iCloud Drive.
  5. In the Documents tab, check the box to enable Books.
  6. Click Done.

Enable sync settings for the Books app

Open the Books app and do the following:

  1. From the Books menu, choose Preferences.
  2. Click General.
  3. Check the box to Sync bookmarks, highlights, and collections across devices.