How to Buy eBooks at the iBooks Store on iPad and iPhone

buying ebooks at the iBooks Store
image credit: Hero Images/Getty Images

Forget the Kindle; the iPad and iPhone are terrific ebook reading devices. Just like the Kindle, they also have their own built-in bookstore store: iBooks.

Buying ebooks through the iBooks Store is very similar to buying music, movies, and other media from Apple's iTunes Store. One key difference is how you access the store. Rather than using a dedicated app like the iTunes Store or App Store apps on the iPad and iPhone, you access it through the same iBooks app that you use to read the books you buy. This article provides step-step instructions on how to buy ebooks at the iBooks Store (it uses screenshots from the iPad, but the iPhone version is very similar).

What You Need

  • An Apple ID with a valid form of payment of file
  • An iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad
  • The iBooks app installed on your device (it comes pre-installed with the iOS, but you can redownload it if you've deleted it)
  • An Internet connection.
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Accessing the iBooks Store

using iBooks store, step 1

Accessing the iBooks Store is super easy. Follow these steps:

  1. Launch the iBooks app.
  2. In the bottom bar of icons, tap Featured, NYTimes, Top Charts, or Top Authors. Featured is the "front" of the store, so it's a good place to start unless you have a specific reason to go to one of the other options.
  3. When the next screen loads, you're in the Store.
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Browse or Search eBooks at the iBooks Store

using iBooks store, step 2

Once you've entered the iBooks Store, browsing and searching for books is very similar to using the iTunes or App Store. Each different way of finding books is labeled on the image above.

  1. Categories: To browse books based on their category, tap this button and a menu presents all the categories available at iBooks.
  2. Books/Audiobooks: You can buy both traditional books and audiobooks from the iBooks Store. Tap this toggle to move back and forth between the two types of books.
  3. Search: Know exactly what you're looking for? Tap the search bar and type in the name of the author or book you're after (on the iPhone, this button is at the bottom).
  4. Featured Items: Apple curates the front page to the iBooks Store packed with new releases, hits, books relevant to current events, and more. Swipe up and down and left and right to browse them.
  5. My Books: Tap this button to go back to the library of books already available on your iPad or iPhone.
  6. NYTimes: Browse the titles on the New York Times Bestseller lists by tapping this button (access this on the iPhone via the Top Charts button).
  7. Top Charts: Tap this to see the best selling books at iBooks in both the paid and free categories.
  8. Top Authors: This screen lists the most popular authors on iBooks alphabetically. You can also refine the list by paid and free books, all-time bestsellers, and release date (access this on the iPhone via the Top Charts button).

When you find a book you're interested in knowing more about, tap it.

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eBook Detail Screen & Buying the Book

detail screen in iBooks store

When you tap a book, a window pops up that provides more information and options about the book. The different features of the window are detailed in the image above:

  1. Author Detail: Tap the author's name to see all other books by the same author available at iBooks.
  2. Star Rating: The average star rating given to the book by iBooks users, and the number of ratings.
  3. Buy Book: To buy the book, tap the price.
  4. Read Sample: You can sample a book before you buy it by tapping this button.
  5. Book Details: Read a basic description of the book. Any place where you see a more button means you can tap it to expand that section.
  6. Reviews: Tap this tab to read reviews of the book written by iBooks users.
  7. Related Books: To see other books Apple thinks are related to this one, and might be of interest to you, tap this tab.
  8. From Publishers Weekly: If the book has been reviewed in Publishers Weekly, the review is available in this section.
  9. Book Information: Basic information about the book—the publisher, language, category, etc.—is listed here.     

To close the pop-up, simply tap anywhere outside the window.

When you decide you want to purchase a book, tap the price button. The button turns green and the text in it changes to ​Buy Book (if the book is free, you'll see a different button, but it works the same way). Tap it again to buy the book. You'll be asked to enter your Apple ID password to complete the purchase.

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Read the eBook

Reading in iBooks

Once you've entered your iTunes account password, the eBook will download to your iPad. How long this takes will depend on the book (its length, how many images it has, etc.) and the speed of your Internet connection.

When the book is done downloading, it will automatically open so you can read it. If you don't want to read it right away, you can close the book. It appears as a title on the bookshelves in the iBooks app. Tap it to when you're ready to begin reading.

Buying books isn't the only thing you can do with iBooks, of course. To  learn more about the app and the options it offers, check out:

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