iBooks - How to add/sync epub between devices

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by RandomHavoc, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. RandomHavoc macrumors member

    May 26, 2010
    I own 2 different MacBooks (running Mavericks so with iBooks) and 2 iPhones and an iPad. I want to be able to manually add an epub on either of my Macs and have it sync across everything. Is that possible?
    Note: I'm not talking with books bought on iBooks. I'm talking with epub files from elsewhere.
    Note 2: If it's easier to somehow do this with Kindle I'd be open to that, and using Mobi files, but I couldn't even figure out how to add a single book file to the Kindle app for Mac.

  2. infantrytrophy macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2013
    I've found iBooks to be a bit fussy.

    You might try saving and syncing the files in DropBox. DB is pretty good about keeping files in sync. DB won't allow you to view the file, but it's quick and easy to tap DB's built-in link button to send the file to whatever app you want to read the file - iBooks, Nook, Documents (by Readdle), et. I assume this would work with the Kindle app also, since DropBox seems to link with almost all file readers.
  3. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Apple's sole syncing method for this is syncing with iTunes, which is nothing like what you have in mind. Apple has nothing cloud-supported for 3rd-party ePubs at this point. So yeah, DropBox is a good approach in this case. It's very straightforward, since each device only has to import the file once (well, presuming the ePub isn't subject to revision). After that, the file is carried locally on the device.
  4. RandomHavoc thread starter macrumors member

    May 26, 2010
    Hi, Thanks but this isn't quite what I meant. I want to be able to switch reading on my iPad or iPhone and have the book be synced to my last read spot.


    So there's no way to do what I want to then?
  5. onekerato macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2011
    (1) Keep your 3rd party EPUBs centrally in Dropbox, so it can be "accessed" from any Mac or iOS device. (You can also host these on a private web-page on your LAN. I use papaya app from lightheadsw.com for this.)

    (2) Open the EPUB on each Mac and iOS device, from the Dropbox folder. This creates a copy of the EPUB in each of the iBooks apps.

    (3) Last read position, highlights & notes that you make on the EPUB on any Mac or iOS device will be synced across all other devices -- provided you've signed into iBooks store using the same Apple ID on all these devices. And you've checked the sync option.

    Points to note:

    * iBooks doesn't sync data using your iCloud account, it does so using the "store-linked" apple ID. Think of iBooks as an extension of iTunes. It doesn't behave like Pages/Keynote/Numbers etc which use iCloud for documents sync. it behaves like iTunes Match which uses your store account for ratings/songs sync.

    * The EPUB itself is not synced by iBooks - only the highlights/notes are synced. When you insert the same EPUB into iBooks for Mac and iBooks for iOS, it tries to match the EPUB against notes/annotations stored in the cloud, and if there's a match, then notes will show up on that device. Thus, it's important to take the exact same EPUB and open it on iBooks on Mac, iPhone, iPad for notes sync to work. Think of an EPUB as read-only, including the filename, and that you need to manually insert it into every copy of iBooks.
  6. RandomHavoc thread starter macrumors member

    May 26, 2010
    Perfect! Thanks for explaining so clearly for me! :)
  7. GerritV macrumors 65816

    May 11, 2012
    Just landed here through a Google search, because I thought I could sync my iBooks content between iOS devices. Nope.
    OK, then I'll export my stuff to a real app like Readdle's Documents. Nope again.

    I ended up mailing my iBooks content to myself in order to get them into Documents. Felt like Eighties Export technique...

    Definitely done with iBooks :mad:
  8. onekerato macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2011
    Does Readdle's Documents app open EPUBs, allow annotations, and sync back annotations via Dropbox? That would be pretty awesome.
  9. MacTCE macrumors 6502


    Dec 20, 2013
    Upstate NY
    I'd have to check again but if I remember correctly Readdle's Documents won't open EPUBS. I believe GoodReader could open EPUBS, CBR and CBZ files so that might be worth checking out.
  10. GerritV macrumors 65816

    May 11, 2012
    My problem is, I don't have the ePUB files anymore.
    They've been opened in iBooks, with no more way to export.
  11. onekerato macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2011
    Your EPUBs are copied to ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.BKAgentService/Data/Documents/iBooks/Books after import into iBooks for Mac.
  12. GerritV macrumors 65816

    May 11, 2012
    Thanks for this path, well hidden Apple!
    Anyway, and sorry for not mentioning, I have them on my iPad not my Mac.
    The good news, I found the original epub files in my TimeMachine backup.
    And guess what: Readdle's Documents opens them like a breeze :)
  13. Sirolway macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2009
    Yeah iBooks sync seems a bit rough at the moment

    I want to sync all content & organisation / bookmarks etc across all Apple devices. PDFs, kind of understandably, don't sync via the cloud but they also don't seem to sync via iTunes over local WiFi. Perhaps I'm missing something

    I expect this will all get better, but it would be nice if (what I'd consider) the basics worked in an intuitive way in the first place. After all, this is Apple & (my) UX expectations are high (as I think Apple themselves would expect)

    As the cliche goes, "Apple still doesn't quite get the cloud like Google does" (but they get privacy better, I think, which is a huge plus..)

    IMHO anything that requires iTunes for syncing is ridiculous. I should organise music etc on iTunes & my iOS devices should never physically go near it
  14. Amplelink macrumors 6502a

    Oct 8, 2012
    It IS a little ridiculous to go through iTunes, but I can understand why. Syncing would be a hell of a task if you have third party files of potentially huge size. It makes much more sense to do it centrally through iTunes.

    But if you DO sync through iTunes, the syncing of your last read point among devices works like a charm. And unlike Kindle it doesn't just sync to the furthest page read. It syncs literally wherever you left off on the last device.
  15. phphreak macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2009
    As far as I can tell, once you drag the ePub into iBooks, just dragging a copy from iBooks onto the desktop and then onto your devices in iTunes syncs the ePub across all devices.

    There is no need to use iTunes to sync.

    The iBooks app on your iDevices knows it's the same ePub.
  16. mozTom macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2007
    I know it's a bit of a necro...

    This thread comes up pretty high in search results so I wanted to throw out that there's a slightly better solution now. When you have eBooks (ePub in particular is what I'm dealing with) in iBooks on the mac, you can go to iTunes 12, click your iPhone, and in the sidebar select Books. You can then choose to sync all books (easiest), or sync selected books, and your DRM-free ePub books will appear. I assume the place-syncing also happens but I haven't tested it yet.

    This is quite a bit easier than the earlier method of re-adding the books to iTunes, because it just shows what you have in iBooks, and it will auto update if you add more ePubs because I just did it and the new books showed up in iTunes immediately.

    Merry Christmas!

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