iBooks is Apple’s ebook reading program. For years, it’s turned the iPhone or iPad into a sort of pocket-sized Kindle. It lets you carry around dozens or hundreds of books in your pocket, which, in the pre-ebook days, would have drawn some funny looks in public.

Inevitably, it finally came to the Mac.

The beauty of all this is iCloud syncing. If you’re reading a book on your iPhone in line for the Department of Motor Vehicles, you’ll find that your iPad opens up to exactly the same page when you’re on the train home. And when you open your MacBook at home, it’ll be on the same page as where you left the iPad. Your books, documents, notes, highlighting, and other details are synced among your Apple gadgets, too. (You can turn that syncing feature off in iBooks→Preferences→General if it spooks you.)

Most people think of iBooks as a reader for books that Apple sells on its iTunes bookstore—bestsellers and current fiction, for example—and it does that very well. But you can also load it up with your own PDF documents, as well as thousands of free, older, out-of-copyright books.


iBooks is very cool and all. But in the interest of fairness, it’s worth noting that Amazon’s free Kindle app, and Barnes & Noble’s free B&N eReader app, are much the same thing—but offer much bigger book libraries at lower prices than Apple’s.

Downloading Books

To shop the iBooks bookstore, open the iBooks app. Click iBooks Store in the upper-left corner; the iBooks app becomes the literary equivalent of ...

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