How to Use iBooks to Enrich Your Ebook Library

If you have an iOS device, meaning an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, you should check out a free ereader app available for you at iTunes: iBooks. iBooks is Apple’s ereader app that allows you to read iBooks as well as many other books on your iOS device.

In fact, if you want to read an iBook, you need to have both an iOS device and the iBooks app. Unlike Kindle books, which can be read on almost all mobile devices and computers, iBooks can only be read on iOS devices using the iBooks app.

Paid iBooks are available from iTunes in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Ireland. Earlier this month, Nikkei reported that iBooks would be expanding into Japan.

Getting Started with iBooks

To begin, download the free iBooks app from the iTunes App Store. The app will appear on your device. When you open the app, you’ll see an empty wooden bookshelf.

To get some use out of this app, visit the iBooks Store. You can get there by pressing the Store button on the upper right corner of your bookshelf or by going into iTunes on your computer and clicking on Store in the left column, which will open the iTunes store, then clicking on Books in the menu bar at the top of the store screen.

You can change the font, adjust the font size and screen brightness and choose a theme from within the iBooks app.

Apple has thousands of iBooks available in the iBooks store, including many free books. The iBooks app allows for interactive features, which is very useful for textbooks, cookbooks, and instruction manuals.

The collection of free iBooks is extensive. You can get free user guides for all of your iOS devices as well as loads of classic books for free. The collection of free iBooks also includes current novels, biographies, graphic novels, comic books, cookbooks, travel books, romance novels, mysteries and thrillers, and books in many other categories. The free iBooks collection is definitely worth checking out at the iBooks store.

The iBooks store also has a collection of “Great Books for $3.99 or Less,” as well as New York Times Bestsellers, both in fiction and non-fiction. You can search for books by category and pre-order books before they are released.

You can also purchase audiobooks from iBooks, but if you’re an audiobook fan, you will save a lot of money by checking out Audible instead of iTunes.

To help you decide on books, read reviews. Even if you’re certain you want to get a book, make sure to read the iBooks review to see how the book functions as an iBook. You can also download a sample of the book to see if you enjoy reading it.

The Coolest Trick You Can Do with iBooks -Project Gutenberg

One of the advantages of iBooks is the simplicity of getting free books on iBooks. In addition to the free books in the iBooks store, you can get free books from Project Gutenberg. Now, you can read Project Gutenberg books on many devices, such as your computer or Kindle. But getting Project Gutenberg books onto your iPad using iBooks is ridiculously easy and very cool.

Project Gutenberg was started in 1971 “to encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks” and is now the largest source of free ebooks in the world. As of this month, Project Gutenberg has 40,000 items available for free. To download a Project Gutenberg book onto your iOS device, open your Safari app and go to Browse through their extensive collection.

When you find a book you want to download to your iDevice, choose EPUB as the format and download the book. After the book has been downloaded, a screen will appear that looks like this:

Press Open in “iBooks”. The book will appear on your iBooks bookshelf after the download is complete.

Project Gutenberg is for US books, but Sister sites of Project Gutenberg are available around the world.

Bottom Line

If you have an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, download iBooks, visit the iBooks store and check out Project Gutenberg to enrich your collection of ebooks.

Have you ever used iBooks? Have you downloaded any iBooks onto your iOS device? Do you have any iBook recommendations? Have you ever read a book from Project Gutenberg? Let us know in the Comments section below!


After you’ve finished perusing your favorite iBooks and Project Gutenberg books, check out a mystery novel in the iBooks store called “Lizarraga” by Wonder of Tech reader and fellow blogger, Jens-Petter Berget. This book, released last week, is his first novel and is available free in the iBooks Store.

Note that the book is written in his native Norwegian language so if you are one of the very few people in the world who isn’t fluent in Norwegian, actually reading Lizarraga may be a bit of a challenge for you. But, hey, the book is free so you could download it now just to practice downloading an iBook to your iOS device and worry about learning Norwegian later.

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  1. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    I’m not really into learning Norwegian, I’m still struggling with Chinese… I think eBooks are getting more common, but there is a long way to go before they become accepted and used by everyone. I want text books for students avilable on eReaders that are affordable. With affordable books too. Students are often ripped off when buying text books. The government here is going to invest 800 million in science and tech and 32 billion in a new rail line. It should be the other way around! I photographed a stretch of 18th century canal yesterday that could be brought back into use with some investment. It doesn’t go anywhere, but would be a good place for a narrowboat community.

    The snow has melted now, but some canals are still frozen. I’ll be using atmostpheric pictures for tomorrow’s blog!
    Mike Maynard recently published this awesome post..Social structure and the pecking orderMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Mike, I don’t blame you on the Norwegian, though I am impressed you’re learning Chinese.

      I’m very upset that the UK is going through with that rail line. The tracks are mapped to go through beautiful woods by my old house. All to save a few minutes from London to Birmingham.

      The free ebooks from Project Gutenberg and iBooks are impressive. Anyone who wants to be able to read books for free and has an iOS device should check them out. Even if you don’t have an iOS device, you can still check out Project Gutenberg.

      I’m looking forward to seeing your pictures tomorrow, Mike!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Which iPad Should You Get?My Profile

  2. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    I had no idea about the Project Gutenberg and Hmm… As iBook is compatible only with Apple products, I might not able to try out :) Well, I’ll have some Ice Cream with Sandwitch or Jelly Beans.

    Well, I can imagine for some extent. My first job was in an eBook publishing company and we used to digitize books in ePUB format too ;) But haven’t heard about Project Gutenberg either, but only about Barnes and Nobles and Kobo so on.

    I hope Apple lovers would be excited to use this one :)

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    • says

      Hi Mayura, Yes, you can access Project Gutenberg from other devices, including computers, it’s just super easy to download them to iBooks.

      You should explore Project Gutenberg, Mayura. You may find free ebooks you really enjoy!

      Thanks so much for all of your comments and support, Mayura!
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  3. says

    We used the Free Books app to download one of the Anne of Green Gables books on my daughter’s iPad. Then they finished reading it together when we were on vacation. My husband’s first intro to the iPad – and he asked me no questions, so it must have been easy.

    I haven’t looked at iBooks yet.

    My niece knows Norwegian, but I don’t know if she knows enough to read a whole book! She lived in Norway for a year, teaching English.
    Leora recently published this awesome post..Local SEO in 2013My Profile

    • says

      Hi Leora, You should definitely check out the iBooks app, Leora. You can find a lot of free books, both on iBooks and Project Gutenberg. There are also a lot of high quality paid books, some with interactive features which are really cool.

      I don’t know too many people who speak Norwegian, but I have read fiction by Jens before which is why I’m thinking this book is worth the download!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Which iPad Should You Get?My Profile

  4. Sapna says

    HI Carolyn

    Great post!
    I’m still learning the nuances of my new ipad. But I have noted Project Gutenberg and ibook and I’m very excited to check those things as well.

    Thanks for sharing this.


  5. says

    Great timing, and thank you so much for mentioning my book. Several people have asked me about iBooks, and I understand why they didn’t figure out how to download my book. At first, I thought iBooks was installed by default, but then I realized that I had installed it from App Store :)

    I have read a few short books on my iPad, and I don’t have any problems reading on it, but I enjoy my Kindle more when it comes to reading. And that’s why I will also publish my book on Amazon.

    Thank you for all your support.
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  6. says

    Hey Carolyn,

    I’m glad you wrote about this because as you know, I didn’t know you needed this app in order to read one on my iPod Touch. You know me, not very up on this type of thing. Your help was so much appreciated.

    I didn’t know about Project Gutenberg so I’m definitely going to check out that site now that I have iBooks on my iPod Touch. Yay!!!


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    • says

      Hi Adrienne, Yes, Apple is criticized if they include “native” apps when they ship their devices. You can’t delete these apps which is annoying if you don’t need them.

      But when you go to download your first iBook and can’t because you don’t have the iBooks app, you wonder why iBooks wasn’t a native app.

      I hope you find some great books at iBooks and Project Gutenberg, Adrienne!
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  7. says

    I read Jens’ book over the weekend; it’s a thriller.

    Ok, I’m downloading the app and I will check out the free stuff; free is cool.

    Have you read Stephen King’s 1//22/63? Pretty cool, but long…
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  8. Dadblunders says


    I love e-books but I have always been one to “stick” with Amazon e-books (call me a stickler but Amazon does rather well in the books department)! I knew that i-tunes had an app for e-books I just didn’t know what it was called.

    I will add even though I do love e-books nothing will ever replace the feel of an actual book in my hand!

    Aaron Brinker

    • says

      Hi Aaron, Yes, I’m a fan of Kindle books too (as you may have guessed from my many articles about Kindle books). In general, Kindle books are formatted for black and white ereaders so they don’t have the interactive features of iBooks. Most of the time that may not matter, but with certain types of books, interactive features can be very helpful.

      I think it’s best not to have huge libraries of ebooks in different formats. You could drive yourself crazy wondering which app has which book. I tend to stick to Kindle books unless the books have interactive features.

      I love real books too. I haven’t stopped reading them since I got my Kindle but I mostly read on my Kindle or listen using Audible.
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..MeetUp – Get Out There!My Profile

  9. sanchit says

    Hello Carolyn Nicander Mohr,
    Good blog again.
    Yes, ebook library on iphone, ipod, etc is very good for learner or reader.
    By this we can read any where and any time, without carrying book, by ebook you can easily read and for some topic you can search on internet directly.
    At last i want to say, your suggestion is good and very helpful for all.

    • says

      Hi Sanchit, Exactly. That’s why so many people have started reading ebooks. You can have them handy with you wherever you go. If you’re traveling, you will have a lighter load. If you’re stuck waiting somewhere, you will have a book handy to pass the time.

      Lots of advantages to ebooks!
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  10. says

    I completely replaced my Kindle app with iBook. I love the way it looks and syncs across my devices. The various font and display options are super important for me, visually. Plus, I can steal my kids’ iTunes to buy books. :)
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  11. Brian D. Meeks ( says

    I love reading on my Kindle apps. I didn’t know about the Guttenberg project, but now that I do, I’m all over it. I love old books and I imagine many of the ones they have are no longer protected by copyright. Great post!

  12. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    I think that iBooks are great, if you have a iPad. I have a few iPhone’s and read more on it than on my pc or laptop. It’s weird I know, but I find that it’s easier to navigate with a swipe than a mouse. But my point is, that reading an actual book would have to be on a bigger screen, such as a iPad. I know I should just click on the link, but I am all clicked out for the day, could you tell me what types of books Project Gut has?
    Justin recently published this awesome post..Link Building Strategy For 2013My Profile

    • says

      Hi Justin, Yes, I am the same as you. I have read entire books on my iPhone but I never have on my computer nor iPad. I didn’t mean to read entire books on my iPhone, but I always have it with me so I end up reading more than I plan to on that small screen.

      Project Gutenberg has mostly classic books. Think Shakespeare, Homer, Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, Poe, Dickens, HG Wells, Dracula, etc.

      You should be able to find something you’ll enjoy!
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      • says

        So funny, I start with a simple Google search and end up reading for hours, from a tiny iPhone screen…lol

        Instead of going to my computer or laptop, I / we choose to use a 4 inch I said, I just think the phone is easier at times…

        But, I do not know about reading a full book.

        Can you believe I just bought a new laptop, and I was at Starbucks the other day thinking about how a laptop that you could detach and use as a tablet would be the best possible invention. Now I see TV ads about the new MSFT products and also online that they are about to come out with tons of these very soon.
        sad ;-(
        Justin recently published this awesome post..Link Building Strategy For 2013My Profile

        • says

          Hi Justin, I think you’re exactly right. That’s why I simply can’t read a book on my iPad or computer: too many other distractions! You can get games for Kindle ereaders, but I keep that device devoted to books exclusively. No distractions that way.

          I don’t set out to read entire books on my iPhone, but I guess it’s less distracting for me than other tech.
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  13. says

    Hi, Carolyn. I’ve been reading Moby Dick from iBooks for awhile (my first time, can you believe it), and now I know why I hadn’t read it before! Takes some concentration!

    I didn’t know about Project Gutenberg; thanks, I just downloaded a few of the classics in EPub format.

    I just read APE, so I’m immersed in the ins and outs of ebook publishing right now; swimming, as a matter of fact — upstream without a paddle.
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    • says

      Hi Jayme, I confess I never made it through Moby Dick in high school. I tried, I really did. That was the only book I used the Cliff Notes for!

      If you enjoy classics, you will certainly enjoy perusing Project Gutenberg. That should keep you busy for quite a while!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Which iPad Should You Get?My Profile

  14. says

    I have been using iBooks for quite sometime and have rediscovered my love for reading. Since I installed iBooks I have purchased and read “The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg”, “The Power of Less by Leo Babauta”, “Influence – Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini” , “Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki”, which I highly recommend. My library also includes a huge collection of free ebooks.

    Thanks for reminding me about Project Gutenberg.
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  15. merlin says

    i have found of reading suspense and romantic stories, This is correct place for all those who likes such type of book. I will also increase my books library by downloading the books from here. is ibooks or ebooks are different?

  16. Ivan Nikolov says

    Anyway I still prefer the real book. Of course iBooks as a devices are great idea but still I love the smell of the paper.
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