How to Transfer Books to iPad (From Win/Mac)

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Apple products always taste bittersweet. They offer the best user experience when you operate them in hands, but they also definitely set barriers for those people newly engaged. The biggest problem is how to transfer files into Apple products.

I remembered clearly when I get my first iPod, I excitely plugged it into my computer with the cable and waited for the "Removable Disk" show up just like what I did with the other MP3 players. But thing didn't go on as I imagined, there is no newly found hardware, no removable disk. After hours of searching and trying, finally I figured out the iTunes is necessary for transfering files to Apple mobile products.

iTunes is famous for its music, video and app. April 2010, Apple added iBooks into iTunes. We can say people is not that familiar to iBooks than music, video and app, in some ways. And I do see many people asking this question in forums, social networks, and Q&A sites.

This article is going to help solve this question, to tell you how to transfer books to iPad, iPhone and iPad Mini then read them. In this post, we all take iTunes 11 as example for the operations and screenshots.

Update: Instead of using iTunes to sync your mobile device in macOS Catalina, you'll use Finder.

sync book between ios and catalina

1 Find "Books" in iTunes library

When you run iTunes 11, you will be taken to the "Music" column by default, and you can notice there is a button called "Music" in the upper left-hand corner under the menu bar. Click on the button to bring out a drop-down menu and you can see an option called "Books" like the image below shows.

itunes books library

Some people maybe cannot see this option, then you should go to iBookstore and randomly purchase a free public domain eBook, then you can see the "Books" in iTunes library.

2 Get your books ready

iBooks is the built-in reading app on iOS devices, and it only accepts ePub and PDF books, so if you want to read books on iPad, you must confirm they are in ePub or PDF format and DRM-free.

For all the books purchased outside of iBookstore, they won't be accepted by iPad because all the paid books are protected by DRM, but iPad only support Apple DRM. Unfortunately, Apple DRM only protects the books in iBookstore.

To put it simply, if you have books purchased in Sony or Kobo bookstore, even they are ePub and PDF books, you can't read them on iPad because they are protected by other DRM. If your books are purchased from Kindle store and you wish to open them with iBooks, impossible!

To solve this issue, you will meet Epubor Ultimate, which helps remove DRM from eBooks and convert formats between ePub, Kindle and PDF. Then all your books (no matter where you get them from) will be accepted and readable on iPad.


3 Import the books into iTunes

After getting books ready, now you can import them into the iTunes on your computer.

You have two methods to do this:

1) Click "File" in the menu bar and choose "Add File to Library...", or use the short cut "Ctrl + O", then find the book you want to add and click Ok;

2) Directly drag the ePub and PDF books from local folders to iTunes window.

Then you can see these books displayed in iTunes, if not, there must be something wrong, maybe the format, maybe the DRM.

itunes books library

4 Transfer books to iPad

Now plug your iPad to computer with the USB cable, then you can see your device in the upper right-hand corner of iTunes.

itunes device icon

Click on the device name you will be taken to the device's dashboard, remain every option as default is recommended if you are not familiar with those settings.

Now look at the navigation bar you can see "Summary", "Info", "Apps", etc. Click "Books" and active the option "Sync Books".

itunes sync books

At last click the "Sync" button in the bottom right-hand corner to confirm all the books are indeed transferred to your iPad.


5 Open iBooks to read those books

Now open your iPad and run iBooks, you will see those ePub books. And where is PDF books? They are displayed on another shelf, press "Collections" and choose "PDFs", then you can see your PDF books.

ibooks collections


joined Epubor since 2011, loves everything about eBooks and eReaders. He seeks the methods to read eBooks more freely and wants to share all he has got with you.

10/28/2014 23:16:56
Great site you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics discussed here? I'd really like to be a part of online community where I can get comments from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thank you!
11/17/2014 19:47:09
You mean you want a forum which focuses on eBooks? Try mobileread
06/1/2016 17:36:40
I set up my iPad Pro from my iPad Air.  Everything went smoothly until I tried to open a book from the kindle app.  It says to deregulated, etc.  I have no idea how to do that!
05/12/2017 13:28:22
First time it is working... the second time, it is not. I don't know what happened but it doesn't sync anymore. I hope apple fix their shit. I can't even sync my personal books.
05/12/2017 13:29:07
First time it is working... the second time, it is not. I don't know what happened but it doesn't sync anymore. I hope apple fix their shit. I can't even sync my personal books. Will probably try to find an alternative app to suit. Ibook itunes sucks
01/19/2019 12:12:14
I appreciate how difficult it is to keep these things current... but I'm dealing with "Books" on a current iPad Pro and MacBook Pro running iOS 12.1.1 and macOS 10.14.2 (18C54)... I cannot get iTunes to even see all of the ePub books in my Books app on my MacBook, so I cannot add them to my iPad... going (not so) quietly mad.
04/30/2020 00:37:23

iTunes no longer supports synching books.  After converting my kindle books to ePub format,  I use iFolder (found in the appstore on my iPad 2 iOS 9.2) to wirelessly move my books to my iPad.

After the books are uploaded to my iPad, I then use iFolder to copy to iBooks.

In iFolder, you tap on the book you need to move, click on the icon in the upper  right corner with the arrow pointing up.  You'll be given choices as to where you need the book to go.

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