Reading Books with iBooks

Reading books is good for you.  There are even health studies that suggest that reading books can help you live longer.

And many people are discovering the convenience and power of eBooks.  And the device in your hand, that is your iPhone or iPad, is one of  the preferred platforms for reading eBooks.

If you are thinking about reading eBooks on your iPad or iPhone, the iBooks app comes with your device and may be the first reading app that you want to explore. This recipe provides tips and the basics for using your device as an eBook reader.

Recipe #410

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Reading Books with iBooks

iBooks is the reading app that is  included with the iPad and iPhone and may be the first book app that you explore. It is well-designed and friendly.  It can access thousands of books from the latest best sellers to the classics, many of which can be downloaded for free.

As you begin to explore the iBooks app, consider these recommendations and tips that are explored in this recipe:

  1. Your First Book – The very first book that every user should download is the IPad or iPhone User Guide for IOS.
  2. Reading Books – The iBook app can be easily adjusted to your needs and wishes. Examples are font size, brightness and page or scrolling view.
  3. Buying eBooks – iBooks can be purchased directly on the iPad using the same account as the App Store. The process is easy and straightforward.
  4. Free Books – Many books are free or affordable. See the Free Book guide

Your First Book

When you look in the box your iPad or iPhone came in, you will not find a manual. You will find a small quick start guide that provides only the basic instructions for starting your phone and identification of the phones buttons and ports.

If you wish a full manual for your phone, you should make the iPhone or iPad User Manual the first book that you download to your iBooks app. Later, as your IOS software is updated, you will find that the user manual for your device is also updated. So if you have an iPhone 7 or older and have upgraded your IOS software, you will probably want to download the updated manual.

Here are the instructions for downloading your user manual:

  1. Launch the iBooks app by tapping the iBooks icon on the Home screen.

    iBooks Icon


  2. From the app screen, look for the Search function.
    • On the iPad it is found on the upper right. 
    • On the iPhone find Search on the bottom bar. 
  3. In the Search bar, type “iPad User” or “iPhone User” to search for the manual for your device. The search results will include the various manuals for your device. The different versions represent the different versions of IOS. Notice how the button next to each manual reads GET. GET is your indication that the manual is free. Any book for purchase will have a price.
  4. Tap the GET button on the version that matches your version of IOS. If you do not know see Recipe #013 What Version of IOS am I running?
  5. You will need to either use Touch ID or enter the password for your Apple ID to install the book.
  6. After downloading the book, you will find it by tapping on My Books at the bottom bar of the app.

    My Books

  7. Tap the book name to view the book in the app.

Reading Books in the iBooks app

The iBooks app is a full-featured eBook reader that allows you a full reading experience.  Let’s get started.

Read a book from your library using the following steps:

  1. Launch the iBooks app.
  2. Tap My Books found on the bottom bar of the app.
  3. Tap the book name that you with to read. The book will display.

Winnie the Pooh – Yes, even children’s books can be read from iBooks

Your Reading Experience

The iBook app provides a number of functions to enhance your reading experience. The functions include searching in the book, changing the font, bookmarking a page and more.

Be aware that not all books will support all of the features identified here. That is controlled by the publishers of the books who have to build some of these capabilities into the book.

Here are the essentials for using iBooks to read a book and enhancing your reading experience.


iBooks Reading Controls

1 Turn the Page – Turn the page of a book by either swiping left or right or tapping on the right or left of the page.  You choose the action that works best for you.

2 Access Controls – Access iBook controls by tapping near the center of a book page. Here are a few that you will find useful.

3 Close a book by tapping on the back arrow to return to your My Book library

4 Access the table of contents. From the table of content you can view the published table of contents, or access your bookmarks and notes.

5 Search – Search within a book. Tap the Search icon and enter the search term or page number. For a search term, all of the results will be displayed. Tap an item on the results list to go to that page in the book. Searching within a book is a big advantage of ebook reading.

6 Bookmark – You can bookmark one or more pages in order to return to a page of interest Tap to add a bookmark. Tap again to remove. See your bookmarks and return back to a bookmarked page by going to the Table of Contents, then tap Bookmarks.

7 Change Font and More.

Tap the AA icon to change the way a book looks. You can:

  1. Change the brightness by moving the slider
  2. Change the font size by taping the larger or smaller “A”
  3. Change the font type by tapping Original
  4. Change the color theme from light to dark background.
  5. Turn on Auto-Night which will automatically change colors and brightness when using in a low-light condition, for example, if you were reading a book at night, in bed. A Night theme would be a dark background with lighter text. This is easier on your eyes and puts out less light. Turn this feature on and carry your device into a dark room to see the results of the action.
  6. Scrolling View (green = one) will provide continuous scrolling rather then a paged book display. With continuous scrolling your swipe up to scroll through the document from top to bottom.

Purchasing eBook in iBooks

Here is the essential process to buy or download books in the iBooks app.

Find a book to purchase by browsing or searching. Start with the Features, NYTimes, Top Charts or Top Authors icons at the bottom of the iBooks screen to launch a browsing or search process.



Browsing for Books

If the books is free, the icon next to a books will indicate GET . If the book needs to be purchased, the icon will show a price like $2.99 .

Tap the GET and GET BOOK and 1) enter your password or 2) press TouchID to start the download.

Buy Books with Touch ID

To purchase a book, click the Amount and then tap Buy Book . If you are using Touch ID, you will place your finger on the Home button.

Buy Books with Apple ID

If Touch ID is not active, you will need to supply your password for your Apple ID. The payment will be applied to the credit card associated with your Apple ID- App Store account.



Guide to Free Books

The Senior Tech Club has created a special recipe about how to get free books. For the iBooks are there are two separate recipes for obtaining free or affordable books for reading in iBooks.

Recipe #412 Finding Free or Affordable Books for iBooks


Check for Understanding

Use the following questions to determine if you need to read or study this recipe.  You might already have an understanding of this topic. Following your study, answer the same questions to help you check your understanding of the skills taught in this lesson.

  1. Where is the manual for my iPhone or iPad?
  2. How do I download a book into iBooks?
  3. Are there any free books for the iBooks app?

Additional Information

The Senior Tech Club recommends the following additional resources for members that wish to pursue additional and/or advanced information on this recipe:

Find Free or Affordable Books for iBooks – Recipe #412 

Apple Support – Getting Started with iBooks

iPhone User Guide – iBooks

iPad User Guide – iBooks

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1 Comment


    Always good info to know. I prefer my Kindle for reading however. I now have a Paperwhite. Love the size and weight especially. Goes everywhere I go!

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