How to share books in Apple Books on iPhone and iPad

Share Apple Books Hero
Share Apple Books Hero (Image credit: Adam Oram / iMore)

Have you ever read a book that made such an impression that you needed to share it with someone else? It's a feeling a lot of book fiends have felt, but in the digital age, it's not as simple as handing over a paperback to a pal.

Fear not, though, as Apple Books makes it super easy to share a link to the last great page-turner you read, gift the book to someone else, or even let a member of your family read it for free.

How to share a book in Apple Books with iCloud Family Sharing

If you're using iCloud Family Sharing, any family member can download any book that any other family member has purchased in Apple Books at no extra charge. It's the digital equivalent of handing a book you've purchased to someone else in your household. This also works for audiobooks. Here's how to do it.

  1. In the Reading Now tab, 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.
  2. Under Family Purchases, tap the family member who originally purchased the book you want to read.
  3. Tap Books.

How to share a book in Apple Books with iCloud Family Sharing: In the Reading Now tab, tap you account icon, tap a family member, then tap Books (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap All Books, or use one of the genre buttons to browse through the books.
  2. Tap the download button to download the book to your library.

How to share a book in Apple Books with iCloud Family Sharing: Tap All Books or a genre, tap the download icon next to the book you want to add to your library (Image credit: iMore)

That book will now download and become available to read in your library. You can also follow the same for audiobooks, simply tapping Audiobooks instead of Books at step three.

How to share a link to a book in Apple Books

Copyright laws are fairly easy to enforce with a book in digital form. If the bookseller builds copy protection into the book, you won't be able to share it in its entirety. You can, however, share a link to the book on the Book Store by following the below steps.

  1. Tap the more (•••) button beneath the cover image of the book you want to share.
  2. Tap Share Book.
  3. In the share sheet, tap the method or recipient.

How to share a link to a book in Apple Books: Tap the more button, tap Share Book, tap the recipient or sharing method (Image credit: iMore)

Depending on the method you choose, you'll then see a pop-up that allows you to fill out your own message — in Mail or Messages, for example — along with a link to the book or you'll get the AirDrop interface if you're simply sending the link to someone nearby.

This process works for books in your library as well as those listed in the Book Store that you don't own.

How to gift a book to someone else in Apple Books

If you want to be extra nice, you could purchase a book on Apple Books as a gift for someone, rather than simply sending them the link. This is useful if you really want someone who is not in your Family Sharing group to check out your favorite book.

  1. In the Book Store tab, tap on the book you want to give as a gift.
  2. Tap the gift icon.
  3. Add the recipient's email address, add a message, and optionally change the date of when to send the gift by tapping Today.
  4. Tap Next.

How to gift a book to someone else in Apple Books: In the book Store tab, tap a book, tap the gift icon, fill out the recipient's email address, a message, and optionally change the date, tap Next (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Swip to select a Theme for your gift and tap Next.
  2. Review your purchase and tap Buy.
  3. Tap Buy Now to confirm.

How to gift a book to someone else in Apple Books: Swipe to choose a Theme, tap Next, tap Buy, then tap Buy Now to confirm (Image credit: iMore)

Your gift will then land in the recipient's inbox on the designated date for them to redeem and enjoy on their device.

How to share a PDF in Apple Books

As you may well be aware, Apple's Books app also handles PDF files. Since PDF files usually don't have copy-protection attached to them, sharing them from the Books app is easy. Here's how.

  1. Tap the more (•••) button beneath the PDF you want to share.
  2. Tap Share PDF.
  3. In the share sheet, tap the method or recipient.

How to share a PDF in Apple Books: Tap the more button, tap Share PDF, tap the recipient or sharing method (Image credit: iMore)

As is the case with sending a link to a book, you may get the option to fill out your own message along with the PDF attachment or simply send the document directly if you choose an option such as AirDrop.

Share your favorite books

Now that you know how, be sure to share your favorite titles with friends and family and help them turn their device into the best iPhone or best iPad for reading. If they are in your iCloud Family Sharing set-up, they'll even be able to read the books you have purchased at no extra cost!

Updated April 2022: Updated for iOS 15.

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.