Apple Books

Last updated

Apple Books
The iPad displaying an e-book in Apple Books.
Developer(s) Apple Inc.
Initial releaseApril 2, 2010;9 years ago (2010-04-02)
Stable release(s)
iOS4.2.3 / June 3, 2019;8 months ago (2019-06-03) [1]
Written in Objective-C
Operating system
Size 31 MB
Available in33 languages [2]
List of languages
English, Arabic, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian Bokmål, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese
Type Digital distribution
License Proprietary

Apple Books, formerly iBooks, is an e-book reading and store application by Apple Inc. for its iOS and macOS operating systems and devices. It was announced, under the name iBooks, in conjunction with the iPad on January 27, 2010, [3] and was released for the iPhone and iPod Touch in mid-2010, as part of the iOS 4 update. [4] Initially, iBooks was not pre-loaded onto iOS devices, but users could install it free of charge from the iTunes App Store. With the release of iOS 8, it became an integrated app. On June 10, 2013, at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Craig Federighi announced that iBooks would also be provided with OS X Mavericks in fall 2013. [5] [6]


It primarily receives EPUB content from the iBooks Store, but users can also add their own EPUB and Portable Document Format (PDF) files via data synchronization with iTunes. Additionally, the files can be downloaded to iBooks through Safari or Apple Mail. It is also capable of displaying e-books that incorporate multimedia. [3] [7] According to product information as of March 2010, iBooks will be able to "read the contents of any page [to the user]" using VoiceOver. [8] [9]

On January 19, 2012, at an education-focused special event in New York City, Apple announced the free release of iBooks 2, which can operate in landscape mode and allows for interactive reading. In addition, a new application, iBooks Author, was announced for the Mac App Store, allowing anyone to create interactive textbooks for reading in iBooks; and the iBooks Store was expanded with a textbook category. [10] [11] The iBooks Author Conference, the annual gathering of digital content creators around Apple's iBooks Author, has convened since 2015. [12] [13]

iBooks was renamed "Apple Books" alongside the release of iOS 12 and macOS Mojave in September 2018. [14] It features a new variation of the San Francisco typeface known as "SF Serif." [15]


iBooks was announced alongside the iPad at a press conference in January 2010. The store itself, however, was released in America three days before the iPad with the introduction of iTunes 9.1. This was supposedly to prevent too much traffic on Apple's servers, as they have been overloaded with previous releases of the iPhone. On the day of its launch, on March 31, 2010, the iBooks Store collection comprised some 60,000 titles. [16]

On April 8, 2010, Apple announced that iBooks would be updated to support the iPhone and iPod Touch with iOS 4. As a result, iBooks was not supported on first-generation iPhones and iPod Touches. [4]

On June 8, 2010 at the WWDC Keynote it was announced that iBooks would be updated that month to read PDF files as well as have the ability to annotate both PDFs and eBooks.

As of July 1, Apple expanded iBooks availability to Canada.

Upon its release for older devices running iOS 4, such as the iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch, iBooks received criticism for its slow performance. [17] [18] However, a July 19 update from Apple offered several improvements. [19]

On September 27, 2011, Apple expanded the premium store to the Republic of Ireland.

On January 19, 2012, Apple announced the release of the iBooks 2 app, allowing users to purchase and download textbooks to the iPad. [20] The new app will support digital textbooks that can display interactive diagrams, audio and video on the iPad. [21] Apple also released a free tool called iBooks Author. The software allows users to create these interactive textbooks themselves.

On October 23, 2012, Apple announced iBooks 3.

On June 10, 2013, Apple announced iBooks for OS X Mavericks. Books are now available for purchase in the following countries; Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela.

On November 15, 2013, Apple pushed version 3.2 of iBooks for iOS with a redesigned interface to match the "flat" style of iOS 7, which dropped support for iOS 6 and earlier versions.

On the annual WWDC in 2014, Apple unveiled that iBooks will be a pre-installed app in the next version of the operating system, iOS 8, along with the Podcasts app.

On September 17, 2014, Apple bundled version 4.0 of iBooks for iOS with iOS 8.0. This includes slight changes with the bookstore button (into a persistent navigation bar at the bottom), grouping of books by series in the bookshelf, Auto-night mode theme, as well as small changes to the underlying rendering engine.

On October 20, 2014, Apple bundled version 4.1 of iBooks for iOS with iOS 8.1.

On January 24, 2018, Apple renamed iBooks to Books in the iOS 11.3 beta. [22]

As well as in macOS 10.13.4 beta iBooks to Books on March 5, 2018. It was renamed back to iBooks in a next intermittent 10.13.4 macOS beta, showing some uncertainty about the marketing decision.


The supported e-book formats by iBooks are EPUB and PDF. [23] As of version 2.0, iBooks also supports a proprietary iBook format (IBA), generated with the iBooks Author tool. This format is based upon the EPUB format, but depends on custom widget code in the iBooks app to function. [24]


As of version 3, iBooks renders text written in 18 different languages. Users of the application are able to change the font and text size displayed. Available English fonts are Baskerville, Cochin, Georgia, Palatino, Times New Roman, Verdana, Athelas, Charter, Iowan Old Style and Seravek. [25] Version 5 removed Cochin and Baskerville. [26] [27]

Users can adjust screen brightness from within the application.

Words can be selected and searched throughout the book. Definitions of words can also be found upon clicking on the word and selecting 'define' which will give the reader a brief description of what the word means and if there isn't a definition available, the reader can opt to either search on Wikipedia or the web for a definition, an option available even if there is a definition for the word. Readers can also highlight passages and when this is done, the part of the Ebook which deals with the chapters and notes will automatically save the words or sentences which were highlighted, as well as revealing any notes made after highlighting a certain passage, another feature.

Originally, there were three viewing background themes to choose from, except when reading PDF documents. The themes were: [28] [29]

With the introduction of iOS 8 in 2014, an additional "Auto-Night Theme" was introduced, which dynamically changes the theme from 'Normal' or 'Sepia' to 'Night' and vice versa based on the ambient light conditions.

With the introduction of iOS 9 in 2015, a fourth background theme was added: Gray: light grey text on a dark gray background.

iBooks also stacks books that belong to a series when the user is on the "All Books" screen. When selected, the books included in the series are shown in the order in which they were released, including books in the series that the user has not purchased. The prices of the unpurchased books are displayed on the upper right corner of the book "ear-marked" in green. Tapping the unpurchased book takes the user directly to the iBook store allowing for quick purchase.

There are three page layouts: Book, Full Screen, and Scroll. In Book or Full Screen layout, pages are turned by tapping or dragging the page, animated to imitate the appearance of a paper book. In Scroll, there is no page turning, and the book appears as continuous text, read vertically like a web browser.

Until May 2011 [30] the iBooks app included a free copy of Winnie-the-Pooh , the 1926 book by A. A. Milne, in order to get the user's library started.

Apple Books Store

The Apple Books Store is an ePub content sales and delivery system that delivers eBooks to any iOS device such as the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. It does not currently support either the downloading or reading of iBooks directly on Windows or Linux distributions, but it does support the downloading and reading of iBooks on OS X Mavericks and later. [31]

Prior to the unveiling of the iPad, publishers Penguin Books, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan Publishers, and Hachette Book Group USA committed to producing content for the iBooks Store. Additional publishers were invited to participate on the day of the product announcement, January 27, 2010. [32] The iBooks Store also provides access to the 30,000+ free books available from Project Gutenberg, [33] and it provides content channeled through Draft2Digital or Smashwords, allowing independent authors and publishers to self-publish. [34]

The day before the iPad event, Terry McGraw, the CEO of McGraw-Hill, appeared to divulge information to Erin Burnett on CNBC about the upcoming iPad release. [35] This was quickly picked up and disseminated by rumor sites and eventually mainstream media outlets as revelation of features of the iPad. McGraw Hill was not included in the iPad presentation at the Apple media event and there was speculation that the exclusion was in response to this release of information. [36] However, McGraw-Hill has stated that the information disclosed by McGraw was not privileged, and that the company had not intended to participate in the event. [37]

In 2011, an Apple spokesperson announced that "We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase." [38] Due to the 30% revenue share that Apple receives from the in-app purchase mechanism, the financial viability of competing bookstore apps run by other book retailers is uncertain, even though in many countries, the iBooks Store still does not provide consumers access to any e-books except for free works, such as ones that are in the public domain. Apple's competitor updated its iOS Kindle app in July 2013 to bypass the 30% revenue share by requiring the user to purchase content using the Kindle Store's website instead of using the Kindle app; users can still get free e-books or samples while using the app. [39]


Some critics have stated that the iBooks interface is a near-exact replica of Classics by Andrew Kaz and Phill Ryu, released over a year prior and even featured in Apple's own TV commercials. Apple has made no acknowledgment of this. [40] [41] [42]

Documents created by iBooks Author in the .ibooks format may be sold for a fee only if they are accepted and exclusively distributed by Apple. [43] [44] [45] [46] These restrictions do not apply to documents created in other formats like exported as PDF or text files. As Apple officially mentions the EPUB format, [43] documents renamed to *.epub may not be affected. But this is left unclear and such documents are not fully compatible with the EPUB standard.[ speculation? ]

Trademark dispute

In June 2011, Apple was sued by New York publisher John T. Colby over the use of the term "iBook". [47] Colby claims to be the owner of a trademark on the term "ibooks" as applied to published books, after acquiring the assets of deceased publisher Byron Preiss, who had published a series of sci-fi and fantasy books under the term. Apple had previously used the term "iBook" to refer to a line of laptops that it sold until 2006, but Colby claims exclusive right to the term as applied to published books, including e-books. Apple began using the term "iBooks" in 2010 to refer to e-books sold for the iPad. Byron Preiss published more than 1,000 books under the "ibooks" brand starting in 1999. [48] Apple emerged the victor in the suit. The judge stated: "They have offered no evidence that consumers who use Apple's iBooks software to download ebooks have come to believe that Apple has also entered the publishing business and is the publisher of all of the downloaded books, despite the fact that each book bears the imprint of its actual publisher." [49]

See also

Related Research Articles

iPhoto digital photograph manipulation software

iPhoto is a discontinued digital photograph manipulation software application developed by Apple Inc. It was included with every Macintosh personal computer from 2002 to 2015, when it was replaced with Apple's Photos application. Originally sold as part of the iLife suite of digital media management applications, iPhoto can import, organize, edit, print and share digital photos.

iWork Office suite of applications created by Apple Inc

iWork is an office suite of applications created by Apple Inc. for its macOS and iOS operating systems, and also available cross-platform through the iCloud website.

Pages (word processor) Word processing software

Pages is a word processor developed by Apple Inc. It is part of the iWork productivity suite and runs on the macOS, iPadOS and iOS operating systems. The first version of Pages was announced on January 11, 2005, and was released one month later. Pages is marketed by Apple as an easy-to-use application that allows users to quickly create documents on their devices. A number of Apple-designed templates comprising different themes are included with Pages.

History of iTunes The history of the iTunes application and e-commerce platform

The history of iTunes started in 2001. Initially conceived of as a simple music player, over time iTunes developed into a sophisticated multimedia content manager, hardware synchronization manager and e-commerce platform. iTunes enables users to manage media content, create playlists, synchronize media content with handheld devices including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, re-image and update handheld devices, stream Internet radio and purchase music, films, television shows, and audiobooks via the iTunes Store.

The following is a comparison of e-book formats used to create and publish e-books.

iPod Touch Series of mobile media devices by Apple

The iPod Touch is a brand of iOS-based all-purpose mobile computers designed and marketed by Apple Inc. with a touchscreen-controlled user interface. It connects to the Internet only through Wi-Fi base stations, does not use cellular network data, and is therefore not a smartphone. Similarly to an iPhone, it can be used as a music player, digital camera, web browser, note-logger, and handheld gaming device. As of May 2013, 100 million iPod Touch units had been sold since 2007.

iOS Mobile operating system by Apple

iOS is a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc. exclusively for its hardware. It is the operating system that presently powers many of the company's mobile devices, including the iPhone, and iPod Touch; it also powered the iPad prior to the introduction of iPadOS in 2019. It is the second most popular mobile operating system globally after Android.

OverDrive Media Console

OverDrive Media Console is a proprietary, freeware application developed by OverDrive, Inc. for use with its digital distribution services for libraries, schools, and retailers. The application enables users to access audiobooks, eBooks, periodicals, and videos borrowed from libraries and schools—or purchased from booksellers—on devices running Android, BlackBerry, iOS (iPad/iPhone/iPod), and Windows, including Mac and Windows desktop and laptop computers.

iOS is a mobile operating system, developed by Apple Inc. for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and HomePod. Updates for iOS are released through the iTunes software and, since iOS 5, via over-the-air software updates. With the announcement of iOS 5 on June 6, 2011, a USB connection to iTunes was no longer needed to activate iOS devices; data synchronization can happen automatically and wirelessly through Apple's iCloud service. Major new iOS releases are announced yearly during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), and are usually released in September of the same year, usually coinciding with the release of new iPhone models. On September 24, 2019, Apple rebranded the operating system for the iPad line to iPadOS. iPadOS is similar to iOS but has received a few tablet oriented features. The most recent stable release for iPhone and iPod Touch, iOS 13.3.1, was released on January 28, 2020. The most recent beta release, iOS 13.4 Beta 1, was released on February 5, 2020.

Find My iPhone conflation of an application and service provided by Apple Inc

Find My iPhone was an app and service provided by Apple Inc. that allowed remote location tracking of iOS devices, Mac computers, Apple Watch, and AirPods. It was replaced by the app Find My in iOS 13.

iOS 4 fourth major version of iOS

iOS 4 is the fourth major release of the iOS mobile operating system developed by Apple Inc., being the successor to iPhone OS 3. It was announced at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference on June 7, 2010, and was released on June 21, 2010. iOS 4 is the first iOS version issued under the "iOS" rebranding, dropping the "iPhone OS" naming convention of previous versions. It was succeeded by iOS 5 on October 12, 2011.

iCloud cloud storage and cloud computing system

iCloud is a cloud storage and cloud computing service from Apple Inc. launched on October 12, 2011. As of 2018, the service had an estimated 850 million users, up from 782 million users in 2016.

Find My Friends Application and service for iOS

Find My Friends was a mobile phone tracking app and service for iOS devices developed by Apple Inc. It was replaced by the app Find My in 2019.

iBooks Author application

iBooks Author (iBA) is an e-book authoring application by Apple Inc. Books created with iBooks Author export as .ibooks files and can be published to the Apple iBooks Store, or they may be exported as PDF.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Apple Inc.:

iPad Mini line of mini tablet computers by Apple

The iPad Mini is a line of mini tablet computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. It is a sub-series of the iPad line of tablets, with a reduced screen size of 7.9 inches, in contrast to the standard 9.7 inches. The first generation iPad Mini was announced on October 23, 2012, and was released on November 2, 2012, in nearly all of Apple's markets. It features similar internal specifications to the iPad 2, including its display resolution.

iPad (4th generation) series of tablet computers produced by Apple

The fourth-generation iPad is a tablet computer produced and marketed by Apple Inc. Compared to its predecessor, the third-generation iPad, the fourth-generation iPad maintained the Retina Display but featured new and upgraded components such as the Apple A6X chip and the Lightning connector, which was introduced on September 12, 2012. It shipped with iOS 6.0, which provides a platform for audio-visual media, including electronic books, periodicals, films, music, computer games, presentations and web content. Like the iPad 2 and the third-generation iPad, it has been supported by five major iOS releases, in this case iOS 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. iOS 11, which was released on 19 September 2017, does not have support for the fourth-generation iPad because iOS 11 drops support for all 32-bit devices.

iPad Mini 2 series of tablet computers produced by Apple

The iPad Mini 2 is a discontinued iPad system as the second iPad Mini. It was produced by Apple Inc. It has a design almost identical to that of the first generation iPad Mini but features internal revisions such as the addition of the A7 system-on-a-chip and 2,048 × 1,536 resolution Retina Display. The iPad Mini 2 has nearly the same hardware as the iPad Air. Apple released the iPad Mini 2 in Space Gray and Silver colors on November 12, 2013.

iPad Mini (1st generation) series of tablet computers produced by Apple

The first-generation iPad Mini is a mini tablet computer designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. It was announced on October 23, 2012, as the fourth major product in the iPad line and the first of the iPad Mini line, which features a reduced screen size of 7.9 inches (20 cm), in contrast to the standard 9.7 inches (25 cm). It features similar internal specifications to the iPad 2, including its display resolution.

iOS 12 twelfth major release of iOS, the mobile operating system by Apple Inc.

iOS 12 is the twelfth major release of the iOS mobile operating system developed by Apple Inc. Aesthetically similar to its predecessor, iOS 11, it focuses less on new functions than on performance and quality improvements and security updates. Announced at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference on June 4, 2018, iOS 12 was released to the public on September 17, 2018.


  1. "Apple Books". App Store Preview. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  2. "Apple Books". App Store Preview. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  3. 1 2 Apple Inc. (July 16, 2003). "iPad Announcement Keynote". Archived from the original on January 20, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  4. 1 2 "Get a sneak peek into the future of iPhone OS". Apple. April 8, 2010. Archived from the original on April 8, 2010.
  5. "Maps, iBooks, iCloud Keychain coming to OS X Mavericks". AppleInsider. June 10, 2013.
  6. "OS X Mavericks - Do even more with new apps and new features". Apple Inc. Archived from the original on July 16, 2013. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  7. Apple Inc. (July 16, 2003). "WWDC 2010 Keynote". Archived from the original on September 25, 2011. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  8. "iPad - Buy and read books like never before". Apple. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  9. Previous post Next post (March 12, 2010). "Wired GadgetLab: iPad ebook features". Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  10. Chloe Albanesius (January 19, 2012). "Apple Targets Educators Via iBooks 2, iBooks Author, iTunes U App".
  11. Josh Lowensohn (January 19, 2012). "Apple unveils iBooks 2 for digital textbooks, self-pub app (live blog)". CNET.
  12. "Media from the 2015 iBooks Author Conference" . Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  13. "iBooks Author Conference. What did we learn?" . Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  14. "iBooks gets a redesign and new Apple Books branding in iOS 12". The Verge. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  15. "Apple Books: What's new in iOS 12". iMore. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  16. King, Sammy. "Survey of Kindle, Nook, iPad, Sony and OverDrive eBook Store Collection Size". Retrieved March 13, 2011.
  17. "iBooks on iPhone 3GS - app review".
  18. "Apple iBooks now available for iPhone, iPod touch". June 21, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  19. balandin (July 20, 2010). "Download iBooks 1.1.1 for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch". iPhoneHeat. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  20. "Apple Reinvents Textbooks with iBooks 2 for iPad". Apple Inc. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  21. Brian Chen and Nick Wingfield, The New York Times. "Apple Unveils App and Tools for Digital Textbooks." January 19, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  22. "iOS 11.3: The 7 best new features". CNET. January 24, 2018. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  23. "iBooks: Frequently Asked Questions". Apple. June 8, 2011. Retrieved August 27, 2011.
  24. Arnold Kim (January 19, 2012). "New ibooks not technically in epub format". MacRumors.
  25. Friedlander, Joel (March 1, 2010). "Apple iPad Typography: Fonts We Actually Want".
  26. J.D. Biersdorfer (January 9, 2012). "Q&A: A New Look for iBooks". The New York Times. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  27. Erica Thinesen (December 7, 2011). "Apple Releases Update for iBook App". Net Communities. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  28. Built-In Apps: iBooks. Apple. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  29. Use iBooks Themes to Improve the Reading Experience on iPhone & iPad. OSXDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  30. "Winnie the Pooh goes MIA from NZ iBookstore, demands money from other territories". Archived from the original on May 31, 2011.. iPhonewzealand. May 26, 2011
  32. "iPad iBooks app US-only, McGraw-Hill absent from Apple event". AppleInsider. January 28, 2010. Retrieved February 14, 2010.
  33. "Apple pre-loading iBook Store with 30,000 free eBooks". March 25, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  34. Foresman, Chris (March 31, 2010). "Self-published authors to get in iBookstore via Smashwords". Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  35. "McGraw-Hill's Q4 Earnings". CNBC. September 16, 2001. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  36. Apple Special Event January 2010 Archived August 20, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Apple Inc. January 27, 2010
  37. John Paczkowski (January 28, 2010). "McGraw-Hill: We Didn't Get Booted From the iPad Launch, Because We Weren't Part of It". All Things Digital. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
  38. Yarow, Jay. "Apple Just Declared War On Amazon Kindle." Business Insider, February 1, 2011.
  39. Amazon skirts Apple restrictions with updated Kindle iOS app The Verge, Jul 30, 2013
  40. Chen, Brian. "Apple's Tablet E-Book App Rips off Indie Dev's Creation" "Wired", January 27, 2010
  41. Carnoy, David. "Is Apple's iBooks e-reader app a rip-off?" "CNET", January 28, 2010
  42. Slivka, Eric. New iPhone Ad: 'Read'" "MacRumors", January 25, 2009
  43. 1 2 Apple (March 23, 2012). "Apple iBooks Author FAQ". Apple. Retrieved April 26, 2012.
  44. "If you publish with iBooks Author, does Apple 'own' you?". Los Angeles Times. January 20, 2012.
  45. Gary Marshall (January 20, 2012). "Hands on: iBooks Author review".
  46. "Apple's iBooks Author Software: Just Say No". InformationWeek. Archived from the original on July 11, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  47. Chris Foresman (June 16, 2011). "Apple iBooks trademark under fire from independent book publisher". Ars Technica.
  48. Musil, Steven (June 16, 2011). "Apple sued over its use of 'iBook'". Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  49. "Apple wins trademark lawsuit over use of 'iBooks' term". CNET. CBS Interactive. May 10, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2015.