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How to manage your library in Apple Books on iPhone and iPad

Apple Books
Apple Books (Image credit: iMore)

You probably use the Books app to read or listen to your favorite books, but did you know that Books is also an organizing tool, too? All of your e-books, 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 bookshelf in order. Here's how to manage your library in Apple Books on iPhone and iPad

How to add a new collection in Books on iPhone and iPad

The Books app on your best iPhone includes some default collections. You can add to 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. Launch the Books app from your home screen.
  2. Tap the Library tab.
  3. Tap Collections.

Add New Collection In Books iOS 15: Launch Books app, tap library tab, and then tap collections. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Scroll to the bottom of the list of collections and tap New Collection.
  2. Type a name for the collection.
  3. Tap Done.

Add Collection In Books On iOS 15: Tap New Collection, type a name for your collection, and then tap done.

Add Collection In Books On iOS 15: Tap New Collection, type a name for your collection, and then tap done. (Image credit: iMore)

How to add books to a collection in Books on iPhone and iPad

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

  1. Launch the Books app from your home screen.
  2. Tap the Library tab.
  3. Tap Edit.

Add Books To Collection In Books In iOS 15: Launck Books, tap Library, and then tap edit. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the book(s) you want to add to a collection.
  2. Tap Add to....
  3. Tap the collection to add the books to.

Adding Books To Collections In iOS 15: Tap the books you want, tap add to, and then ta the collection you want.

Adding Books To Collections In iOS 15: Tap the books you want, tap add to, and then ta the collection you want. (Image credit: iMore)

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

How to reorder collections in Books on iPhone and iPad

If you have a long list of collections and you'd like to put a particular one near the top of the list, you can reorder your collection at any time.

  1. Launch the Books app from your home screen.
  2. Tap Library.
  3. Tap Collections.

Reorder Collections In Books In iOS 15: Launch the Books app, tap Library, and then tap collections. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Edit.
  2. Tap and hold the reorder button of the collection you want to move. It looks like two lines.
  3. Drag the collection to its new spot.

Reorder Collections In Books In iOS 15: Tap edit, and then tap and hold the reorder button, and then drag the collection to its new spot in the list. (Image credit: iMore)

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

How to delete collections in Books on iPhone and iPad

Don't need a collection anymore? No worries; you can delete them at any time.

  1. Launch the Books app from your home screen.
  2. Tap Library.
  3. Tap Collections.

Reorder Collections In Books In iOS 15: Launch the Books app, tap Library, and then tap collections. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Edit.
  2. Tap the delete button next to the collection you want to remove. It's the red button.
  3. Tap **delete*** to confirm.

Delete Collections In Books In iOS 15: Tap edit, tap the delete button, and then tap delete. (Image credit: iMore)

How to sort books in Books on iPhone and iPad

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

  1. Launch the Books app from your home screen.
  2. Tap Library.
  3. Tap Sort.
  4. Tap a sort preference.

Sorting Books In Books In iOS 15: Launch Books, tap library, tap sort, and then tap your sort preference. (Image credit: iMore)

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.

How to delete books in Books on iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch the Books app from your home screen.
  2. Tap the Library tab.
  3. Tap Edit.
  4. Tap the book(s) you want to delete.

Delete Books in Books in iOS 15: Launch Books, tap library, tap edit, and then tap the books you want to delete.

Delete Books in Books in iOS 15: Launch Books, tap library, tap edit, and then tap the books you want to delete. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the Delete button.
  2. Tap Remove Download to delete it from the device.

Delete Books in Books in iOS 15: Tap the delete button and then tap remove download.

Delete Books in Books in iOS 15: Launch Books, tap library, tap edit, and then tap the books you want to delete. (Image credit: iMore)

How to hide a book in Books on iPhone and iPad

If you don't want to see the cover image for a book that has been removed from your device, you can hide it.

  1. Launch the Books app from your home screen.
  2. Tap Edit.
  3. Tap the book(s) you want to hide.

Hiding book in Books in iOS 15: Launch Books, tap edit, and then tap the books you want to hide.

Hiding books in Books in iOS 15: (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the Delete button.
  2. Tap Hide Book.

Hiding book in Books in iOS 15: Tap Delete and then tap hide book.

Hiding books in Books in iOS 15: (Image credit: iMore)

How to unhide books in Books on iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch the Books app from your home screen.
  2. Tap the Reading Now tab.
  3. Tap your account. It's the profile picture in the top-right corner of your screen.

Unhiding Books In Books In iOS 15: Launch the Books app, tap reading now, and then tap the account. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Manage Hidden Purchases.
  2. Type in your iCloud password.
  3. Tap Unhide next to the book you want to unhide.

Unhiding Books In Books In Ios 15 02 Fixed (Image credit: Unhiding Books In Books In iOS 15: Tap manage hidden purchases, enter your iCloud password, and then tap unhide.)

How to re-download deleted books in Books

  1. Launch the Books app from your home screen.
  2. Tap the Reading Now tab.
  3. Tap your account. It's the profile picture in the top-right corner of your screen.

Unhiding Books In Books In iOS 15: Launch the Books app, tap reading now, and then tap the account. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Books or Audiobooks.
  2. Tap Not on this iPhone/iPad.

Redownload Books In Books In iOS 15: Tap Books or Audiobooks and then tap not on this iPhone/iPad (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap All Books.
  2. Tap the download button next to the book you want.

Redownload Books In Books In iOS 15: Tap all books, and then tap the download button next to the book you want. (Image credit: iMore)

There are other e-reading apps out there

While Apple does have its own reader app with Books, there are a ton of other great e-reader apps for iPhone and iPad that you can choose to use instead. Many people find other apps to be a little easier to organize and manage, and we know how important a properly curated collection of all your favorite books and audiobooks can be.

Mike Matthews is a writer at iMore.com. He has used Apple products all the way back to the Apple II+. He appreciates no longer having to launch apps by loading them from a cassette tape recorder.

2 Comments
  • I love the books app but it has become extremely unreliable and Apple seems to refuse to beef it up because it wants to receive more money from 3rd party apps instead. Here is a list of my complaints 1. Why when reading a book are chapters and titles not displayed at the top or bottom of the page? It is so annoying to have to go back to the beginning of a chapter just to see where you were. 2. Mark up is seriously lacking if you are using PDFs. Why when I highlight can the highlight go behind the text? It seems that this is something that Apple can easily fix but of course, if they do then the third party apps would look less appealing. I understand that but the markup is a basic necessity and it should get the love it deserves. 3. There is no real way to organize your bookmarks or annotations. PDF Expert or Documents by Readdle did a great job when it comes to annotation and bookmarking organization within pdfs. These features should have been standard with the books apps when it was launched. 4. Lastly and this is the big one for me it's the fact that Books keeps deleting or offloading books from my library no matter what I do. I have enough cloud storage and I prefer to use pdfs but still in books when I don't read a book for more than 2 days and come back to it I find that it has been offloaded and I have to redownload it again. This is very frustrating when you are in areas where you do not have a great signal and you want to get working right away whether it be just reading or something else. If these items were fixed for me Books would be perfect.
  • I've been a Mac user for 24 years, and I have consistently seen Apple make what should be simple operations ever more difficult or even unavailable. In the old days of iTunes, where I organized my audiobooks and other audio files, editing file "tag" information was intuitive and friendly. Now in the age of Apple Books, I can't seem to find an edit feature (like they had in iTunes) that allows editing of author name, chapter numbers & titles, etc. If this is even possible in Apple Books, can anyone shed some light on this for me? I'm searching for this functionality on my MacBook Pro, not on my iPhone. I have audio books with chapters that are out of order due to errors in the numbering (using "1" instead of "01", etc., so they play out of order. This is a simple feature that should be included and straightforward, but if it's there, I sure can't find it. Apple used to appeal to the masses with functional, user friendly apps, but it seems Apple's vision has shifted and forgotten the age old adage: "The key to quality is simplicity."